UK prepping for big recruiting summer

The Kentucky football program is swinging for the fences on the recruiting trail, and those efforts have paid early dividends for the Wildcats’ Class of 2025.

The latest pledge from four-star running back Marquise Davis this week gives UK head coach Mark Stoops six commitments for 2025, with a list that also includes four-star wide receiver Quintin Simmons Jr., four-star running back Isaiah West, three-star quarterback Stone Saunders, three-star offensive tackle Tucker Kattus and three-star quarterback Brennen Ward.

Early grades from 247Sports rate UK’s 2025 group as the 35th-best class in the country, but the Cats are far from done. UK is expected to continue finding talent through the NCAA transfer portal, but the Cats have also worked to lay a foundation with its incoming high schoolers.

Davis, a 6-foot, 210-pound bruiser from Cleveland, is considered the nation’s 11th-best running back and the seventh-best prospect out of Ohio, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He becomes the fourth commitment of the 2025 class from Ohio, a state where Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow have thrived in recent years.

As a junior for Cleveland Heights last season, Davis rushed for 2,228 yards and 35 touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded 63 tackles, three interceptions and a sack as a linebacker/safety.

“Two-way player in high school who has been very productive,” 247Sports national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said of Davis. “Plays with physicality on both sides of the ball and runs with tenacity. Does not go down on first contact. Has a bit of twitch and wiggle to find his way through the wash but is more of a north-south runner than someone who will make lots of defenders miss.

“Has had a high yards-per-carry average and can get to the outside but has no verifiable speed times. Looks like a guy who is currently fast enough but isn’t a pure speed burner. Catches the ball well out of the backfield when asked to do that. Has gotten in the weight room and gotten stronger leading into his senior year and should be a feature back type in college who can handle being leaned on for a lot of carries and tough yardage.”

Davis picked Kentucky over offers from Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, Southern California and others. He’s still expected to take official visits to Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee and UK next month.

“He loves the game, is not afraid to compete and plays the game fearlessly, which is a big part of what makes him who he is,” Cleveland Heights head football coach Mac Stephens told 247Sports. “What I love about Marquise most is he is humble, one of the hardest workers on the team, and sets the tone in the weight room because he carries himself in a way that’s not arrogant at all.”

Kentucky is slated to bring in at least 19 recruits for official visits in June, including several four-star prospects, including edge rusher Javeon Campbell from Western Hills, cornerback Cortez Thomas from Mississippi, safety Keon Young from Florida, edge rusher Cedric Works from Ohio and cornerback Dalen Penson from Georgia.