Highest Ranked Class In School History
Mark Stoops and the Wildcats are coming off their second ten-win season in four years. As a result of the program doing better the type of player coming to Lexington is improving as well. In fact, the 2022 class ranks as the best ever. Let’s take a look at the incoming Cats and how they fit in with the 2022 Kentucky recruiting class recap.
Where They Stand
According to the 247 Sports rankings, Kentucky’s 2022 class currently sits 13th in the nation. That’s down one spot from where they were in December. In addition, they are fifth in the SEC, which is also down one spot from where they were two months ago. Basically, LSU moved from sixth to fourth dropping the Cats down a notch. A season ago Kentucky finished 35th in the national rankings and 25th two years ago.
Basing it on the SEC ratings UK was 12th a season ago. As we mentioned earlier success on the field translates to success on the recruiting trail. As we continue with our 2022 Kentucky recruiting class recap let’s look at two late additions to the class.
Adding Players Late
Like most schools, the Wildcats did most of the heavy lifting during the early signing period back in December. However, they did add a couple of players last week, one through the transfer portal and one recruit.
Javon Baker, a four-star player from Alabama, entered the portal on January 14th and picked Kentucky a week later. During his sophomore season, Baker appeared in 13 games hauling in seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. His score came in a 63-14 blowout over Southern Mississippi. For his career, Baker played in 20 games with nine receptions for 101 yards.
A native of Georgia he ranked as the 200th best player in the country by 247 Sports in the 2020 class. In addition, he was the 20th best player in the Peachtree State and 34th best wide receiver in the country. Playing behind all the five-star recruits at Alabama Baker felt he never got to show what he can do and thinks a change of scenery is best for everyone involved.
Second Player From The First State
Kentucky picked up another player from the state of Delaware when defensive lineman Noah Matthews chose the Wildcats. A three-star player from Woodbridge High School the six-foot-five, 250 pounder also had high interest from Illinois. A season ago he was the Class 2A Delaware defensive lineman of the year. In addition, he was a second-team player on offense as a tight end. He helped lead his squad to the state championship game.
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) February 2, 2022
He joins another three-star defensive lineman Tomiwa Durojaiye in the 2022 class. As far back as the records go they are the first players ever from Delaware to enroll at Kentucky.
Getting Started Early
In what’s becoming the norm six players enrolled early in order to get familiar with the program. Heading that list is top incoming player Kiyaunta Goodwin. We here at Last Word have been following the six-foot-eight 340-pound lineman ever since he chose Kentucky last April. The Charlestown, Indiana native ranks as the 38th best player in the nation, down slightly from a high of 20. Many speculate he dropped simply because he chose UK instead of Alabama, Ohio State, or another “football power.” Of course, that’s all conjecture but it makes for great fodder on message boards.
Along with Goodwin two in-state players, wide receiver Dane Key and offensive lineman Grant Bingham are getting a head start. With Wan’Dale Robinson declaring for the NFL, Josh Ali graduating and Isaiah Epps transferring to Tulsa Key has a good chance of getting immediate playing time.
The other position where UK loses some top guys is the offensive line. Darian Kinnard is a late first-round or early second-round pick. The other starting tackle Dare Rosenthal also pledged for the NFL. A third cat, center Luke Fortner, is also heading to the NFL. While the Cats have several returning players who played a lot, much like Key there’s a chance for Bingham to make a name for himself. Of course, Kentucky needs a new offensive line coach after Eric Wolford ditched them in order to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. It looks like Stoops has a replacement in Zack Yesner who’s currently the assistant offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers.
The other three guys enrolling early are on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerbacks Andre Stewart and Elijah Reed along with Durojaiye are all already on campus looking to make a splash with their position coaches.
Still, Adding Talent?
In addition to the incoming high school recruits for the 2022 class, they added five guys through the transfer portal. However, the coaching staff likely isn’t done adding players. Look for them to go out and add help on the offensive and defensive lines once spring practice finishes and more players hit the portal.
Thanks for checking out the 2022 Kentucky recruiting class recap here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll have more updates and information for you as we get closer to spring practice.