Picking Up Good Players Late
Over the last few years, the December early signing period is where most recruits commit. Kentucky was no exception as they picked up 18 pledges. However with student-athletes using the transfer portal more than a Doctor Strange movie the February period still remains important. Coaches still find many players at positions of need. Let’s take a look at who Mark Stoops and the Wildcats brought in with our 2023 Kentucky spring recruiting update.
Big Time Flip
The Cats got February off to a great start by getting a commitment from Kendrick Gilbert out of Indianapolis. The four-star player visited Kentucky back in June but committed to Purdue two months later. However, when Jeff Brohm left for Louisville he elected not to sign his letter of intent in December. He recently visited campus and flipped to Kentucky.
Committed #Bbn 💙🤍 pic.twitter.com/KCySx4wjcF
— Kendrick Gilbert (@Kcgilbert23) February 2, 2023
During his senior year at Cathedral High School the 6-5, 250-pound defensive lineman made 31 tackles and had three sacks. He ranks as the third-best player in the state of Indiana and the 46th-best defensive lineman in the 2023 class.
Gilbert is the fourth highest-rated player for Kentucky in this class behind only Shamar Porter, Avery Stuart, and Grant Godfrey. He’s the third defensive lineman to sign joining Tavion Gibson and Tommy Ziesmer.
Continuing on with our 2023 Kentucky Spring Recruiting Update we head to the other side of the ball for another big-time commit.
Running Back Of The Future?
Shortly after the end of the early signing period Jamarion Wilcox announced he was coming to Kentucky. The 5-10, 195-pound running back chose the Cats over some heavy hitters. His final list included Auburn, Clemson, and Ohio State.
Leh Do This Thanggg Babyyyy !!! 😈😈😈😈 #BBN @UKCoachStoops @Bigstew9 @CoachJ_Boulware @UKFootball @SUMOROBINSON @SPaulding_FB pic.twitter.com/FJZEr9WpPK
— //\1//\ (@JamarionWilcox1) January 14, 2023
Wilcox ranks as the 40th-best running back in the nation and 57th best player in the state of Georgia. Playing at South Paulding High School in Douglasville he rushed for 2,059 yards and 29 touchdowns on 229 carries. If you are scoring at home that’s a nine-yard average per rush. In addition, he caught 18 passes for 287 yards and another score. Wilcox helped lead his club to an 8-4 record in Georgia’s Class 6A. As a junior, he ran for 1,534 yards and 23 touchdowns.
He was expected to sign with Kentucky during the early signing period. However, that didn’t happen and Stoops even commented they had another big-time playmaker they were after. Auburn coach Hugh Freeze made a late push for Wilcox but he eventually committed to the Cats. It’s a big win for new running backs coach Jay Boulware.
We finish up our 2023 Kentucky Spring Recruiting Update with a couple of specialists.
Anyone who watched the Wildcats in 2022 knows there were issues with the kicking game. While Matt Ruffolo is gone kickoff specialist Chance Poore is taking advantage of the extra “COVID Year” and is back for another season. That doesn’t mean UK did scour the country looking for kickers.
Jackson Moore, a kicker out of North Carolina, announced his commitment to Kentucky via Twitter. The 5-10, 150-pound Moore ranks as a five-star kicker by the national rankings.
UK also got a pledge from Lexington Catholic kicker/punter Max DeGraff.
Staying Home!🔵⚪️#committed #BBN @UKFootball @CoachPerry_UK @Coach_Matsakis @UKCoachStoops Thank you to my family, friends, and coaches who have helped me along the way. @JJHousleyUK @Coach_B10 @CoachJay_15 @LexCathFootball pic.twitter.com/gVeGt2g8M5
— Max DeGraff (@MaxDeGraff23) December 9, 2022
DeGraff is a 4.5-star kicker and 4-star punter according to Kohl’s Kicking. Those two join redshirt freshman Jackson Smith of Boyle County on the roster. The kicking battle is definitely one to watch in the spring.
As it stands right now Kentucky’s class ranks 31st in the country by 247 Sports and 12th in the SEC.
Thanks for checking out our 2023 Kentucky Spring Recruiting Update here at Last Word On College Football. Spring football will be here before you know it and soon we’ll start our position previews.