Varsity Preps

Darius West and Mike Edwards Commit to Kentucky

The University of Kentucky received two of their biggest commitments today, as 4 Star Safety Darius West and 4 Star Safety Mike Edwards both pledged their commitments to UK. If you are not aware, UK has been on a recruiting tear as of late, and now has received a total of 14 commitments, good enough for #5 overall in the Team Recruiting Rankings, including 6 4 Star Prospects in Denzel Ware, Drew Barker, Darius West, Mike Edwards, Thaddeus Snodgrass, and Mikel Horton. This atmosphere of recruiting is a feat Kentucky has never reached in the University’s existence, but is now a reality due to Mark Stoops. What Stoops has done in the first 7 months of his tenure has not been matched by anyone in recent years, and he has yet to coach a game of football for UK. If his on field success is anywhere near the level of recruiting success, the University of Kentucky could be headed for some major bowl games in the near future.

Kentucky 2014 Football Commits


First we will start on Mike Edwards, the first commitment of the day. Mike is considered a 4 Star Safety with extreme instincts, great explosiveness, and the hands necessary to be a great Defensive Back. Although not considered one of the Top 250 players in the Class of 2014, Mike is likely headed that way after a stellar Senior Season. Mike and I have been talking since back in February when his UK interest really picked up. Even back then, he told me that if he had to pick the staff that he was most impressed with, he would “probably have to say Kentucky.” Back then, he had huge interest in attending the Spring Game, and eventually got to experience 50,000 people packed into Commonwealth Stadium for the event. He stated that Cornerbacks Coach Derrick Ansley was the coach he talked to the most, and said that Ansley told him on numerous occasions that the SEC was the best conference and that UK needs him. He then told me that playing time was a big part of his decision, and considering UK is extremely thin on DB depth, he obviously thought it was a great fit. Mike said that Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Nebraska, West Virginia, Illinois, and Wisconsin were all schools he kept in contact with throughout the recruiting process.


Mike said that his relationships with other recruits were also big contributors in his decision. He told me that 2013 UK Signee Jaleel Hytchye is “like family” and recruited him to UK for quite some time. He said he has great relationships with other recruits like Dorian Hendrix, Mikel Horton, and, well, of course, Darius West, which made it easier to make a commitment to UK.

Mike made his commitment now, but before, it wasn’t so easy. He and Mikel Horton were both planning on committing to the University of Kentucky back on April 20th. A week before this time, they both silently verballed to UK, and told me their official decisions. I had to keep quiet about it because they didn’t want the public knowing yet, but all was well and good for a commitment from both that coming Saturday. Mike even went as far as to tell me that he “Told all of the other recruits” (his decision to Kentucky) and that “We are going to be big time!”  Mike was ready to jump on a commitment, and even told the staff his commitment to Kentucky. A day after this conversation, Mike let it known that he could not make his announcement to UK. I talked to him right after this news let out, and come to find out, his coaches and parents did not approve. Most believed that it was Edward’s Head Coach not wanting Mike at UK, but this was far from the truth. Mike said “He doesn’t think I should commit so early. He doesn’t have a say in it, and that’s why I hate when he does this stuff. I know I’m going to UK, but I just don’t know if it will be the same time anymore. My parents are agreeing with him, so they will not go for it either.” I asked him what that whole scenario meant for the UK staff and them knowing when Mike was going to be official. He said “I gave them a silent verbal. I’m going to call Stoops and Ansley when I get out of driving school. I’m going to solidify that verbal and announce it later. I keep my word and that’s where I really want to go. That’s where my heart is.” He went on to say once he can get his parents to approve is when he can decide to go public with his announcement. He told me “once they visit, and once they say it’s cool I will.”

Before Mike could get down to UK with his parents, Coach Vince Marrow popped in to visit Mike, his parents, and his head coach, which likely could have been the deal breaker in swaying the people around him to UK so soon. Edwards told me that the visit went great, and that he loved Coach Marrow, especially after how he handled the situation with such an early commitment. After the talk, Mike’s mom said she wanted him to go to UK, but Mike wasn’t in the room to hear what they talked about. In what will likely go down as one of the most memorable coach quotes in UK Football recruiting history, Marrow walked out of the room, looked at Mike and said “We all good” in sort of a “drop the mic” fashion. As he left, Mike solidified his commitment to Kentucky, where Marrow responded “It’s going to happen.”

Mike was ready to commit, but he still had to get his parents on campus before he could make anything official. On April 22nd, Coach Ansley called Mike and Mike’s mother, and even went as far as to go to Mike’s coach’s house and talked to them about Edwards going to Kentucky, which Mike says “meant a lot” to him. Ansley assured his priority to get Mike in blue and white by saying that he was his #1 option.

Edwards told me that there was a rough period where several schools came to see him assuming he was UK bound, just to give him reasons why he shouldn’t go there. Mike said “They’re saying that they have never won a National Championship and that the coaches might leave when I’m there. They kept saying that UK can’t compete in the SEC East and other stuff like that. I just know that everybody doesn’t know the whole side of UK. Hell, I didn’t, and once I knew about them, I fell in love and is definitely the best school for me. UK has crazy fans, and I love that. I would honestly be dumb not to go to UK. I’m just ready for my announcement.”

Mike got to go on his big visit on May 20, where he said he “looked at the whole academic part, training, stadium, I mean everything!” He says he talked to Coach Stoops, Eliot, and Marrow while he was there. He says “At the end of the visit, they showed me a video they made that compared me to Ed Reed! It was GREAT!! My parents loved the visit. My mom keeps talking about it. UK is her favorite school!”

Mike was ready to announce, but he just wanted to give other schools a fair shot in his recruitment before making it official to UK. He said that he and Darius decided a week or so ago that they were going to be a package deal and go to the same school. Mike says that he was planning on making his announcement a “surprise”, and as you can see, he made that surprise a reality by committing to the University of Kentucky today on an unofficial visit for UK’s Football Camp, making it the 13th overall commit for the Wildcats, pushing them to #7 in the Overall Team Recruiting Rankings. Not long after, UK made a jump to #5 in the Team Rankings due to the commitment of none other than Darius West.

Darius West is considered a 4 Star Safety out of Lima, Ohio, where he is listed as the #211 Player in the Country, and the #15 Safety in the Country. Like Mike, Darius has extreme explosiveness, and instincts most other Defensive Backs do not have. West committed to Kentucky hoping to revive the Wildcats, and give them one of the top Secondaries in the SEC.

Darius originally had an announcement set for May 30th at his High School, but as the date neared, West wavered and decided to delay his announcement, like Edwards. According to close sources, Darius was ready to commit to the University of Kentucky, but delayed because of new interest in schools like Ole Miss, Miami, and Notre Dame. Although he decided to weigh out all of his options, UK remained high on his list, and stayed that way all the way up to his surprise announcement to attend Kentucky today after visiting with Coach Mark Stoops and Coach Vince Marrow, giving UK the #5 Recruiting Class in the Country.

Today has been one of the biggest days in UK Football Recruiting history, and as time goes on, days like these are going to happen more and more frequently. Big name prospects will join the “Big Blue Nation Train” and before long, UK will be pulling in 5 Star prospects like the rest of the SEC Powerhouses. Without Coach Mark Stoops, none of this is possible. Kentucky football fans have a reason to be excited for the first time ever, and you have to respect that.

As always, tune into Varsity Preps for all of the latest recruiting news around the nation. Stay tuned!



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