Varsity Preps

Yahtzee! Kentucky’s 2014 Recruiting Class Part III

Before the Kentucky Football Program was taken over by Head Coach Mark Stoops, UK fans did not have much to cheer for. Recruiting was abysmal, wins were hard to come by, and the overall talent level of the Football team was laughable. UK quickly became the laughing stock of the SEC when Joker Phillips took over, mostly due to the 2-10 record in Phillips’ 2nd and final season as Head Coach. AD Mitch Barnhart had to make a change, and it had to be one that would save the Football Program overall. Barnhart made the move to bring the DC of the Florida State Seminoles, Mark Stoops, to the bluegrass. With only months to finalize a 2013 Recruiting Class, Stoops did the impossible, signing a class just outside the Top 25. With names such as 4 Star WR Ryan Timmons, 4 Star DE Jason Hatcher, and 4 Star HB Jojo Kemp, Stoops and his staff changed the mindset of UK fans of what was to come, and gave them a bit of hope for the future. Little did they know, things were just getting started for Stoops and company.

The 2013 season is just about 25 days away from kickoff for the Kentucky Wildcats, as they will face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in Nashville, Tennessee on August 31st. Although there is a lot of hype surrounding UK Football this season, the hype is mostly surrounding the 2014-2015 season, and the future seasons past that. Stoops has already been hitting the ground running on the 2014 Recruiting Class, carrying the #5 Ranked Class already, when National Signing Day is still 7 months away. This class is remarkable, with headlining names such as 4 Star QB Drew Barker, 4 Star DE Denzel Ware, 4 Star RB Stanley “Boom” Williams, and 4 Star Safety Darius West. Those 4 names are just scratching the surface on how talented this class is already shaping out to be, and giving Kentucky fans a better prediction of what is to come with UK Football. I have gone in depth about every recruit currently committed to Kentucky, and those that could also be committing in the future. Here is what I have come up with, one by one, for every recruit suiting up in the Blue and White in the future.

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12. Ryan Flannigan

3 Star JUCO LB Ryan Flannigan pledged his commitment to the Kentucky Wildcats over schools such as Texas Tech and Cincinnati. Flannigan is considered the #5 JUCO Outside Linebacker in the Country. Flannigan attended Blinn Community College in Texas, where he was teammates with fellow UK Cornerback commitment Shyquawn Pullium. Flannigan was considered one of the top OLB in the country coming out of High School, where he made 120 tackles as a junior and 101 as a senior. Originally signing with Texas Tech out of High School, RB Coach Chad Scott made Flannigan a priority to attend UK, after moving over to coach at UK with OC Neal Brown, when he was unable to make the grade to qualify and had to play JUCO. Playing in the SEC was one of the biggest factors in Flannigan’s decision to attend UK, along with his relationship with Coach Scott.

Considering Kentucky’s weak depth at the Linebacker position, Flannigan’s commitment was huge, as Kentucky didn’t sign a Linebacker at all last year. With Flannigan’s great speed, along with the ability to close in on defenders to make difficult open field tackles, look for Kentucky to be able to rest easy for the future. Nico Firios, Dorian Hendrix, and Ryan Flannigan should give the Wildcats Linebacker depth for years to come.

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13. Stanley “Boom” Williams

Here comes the BOOM! 4 Star Running Back Stanley “Boom” Williams committed to the Wildcats over some of the biggest names in College Football, including Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Florida State, Clemson, South Carolina, and Tennessee, among others. Boom is considered the #1 All-Purpose Back in the Country, and he definitely had the stats to support it last season. Williams managed to gain 2000 all purpose yards, along with 1948 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. Williams brings to the table something that Kentucky hasn’t had since the Rafael Little years: explosiveness, agility, and pure speed, along with great hands for receiving.

Williams is best known for his unbelievable 40 Yard Dash time of 4.39 Seconds, the fastest of all Kentucky commitments. Boom has the ability to change direction on a dime, along with unbelievable field vision, which allows him to create open space for huge gains on every possession.

Not only is Boom an unbelievable prospect, but he is also paying his dues in the recruiting department. He and 4 Star Safety Nick Glass, who recently backed off of his commitment to attend the University of Georgia, are great friends, and there are rumors out that Williams is helping the Wildcats gain steam on a commitment from Glass. Glass is being recruited as possibly moving up to a Linebacker position, due to his great strength, speed, and size, which would fit in great with the Wildcat defense. When Glass is ready to finalize his decision, expect for Kentucky to be a very possible destination for the talented prospect. While you’re at it, Kentucky fans should thank Williams for the help. 

With a backfield of Jojo Kemp, Stanley Williams, Mikel Horton, and Braylon Heard, the Wildcats are setting themselves up with unbelievable young talent for great success in the future.

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14. Dorian Hendrix

3 Star Middle Linebacker Dorian Hendrix was one of the first commitments for Mark Stoops in the 2014 class, and it sure was important. Dorian is great friends with recruits such as Thaddeus Snodgrass, Mikel Horton, Darius West, and Mike Edwards, and he was extremely important in their decisions to attend UK with him. Dorian’s recruiting ability only scratches the surface on how important he is to UK’s recruiting class, as his talent level is off the charts.

After recently running a 4.4 second 40 yard dash, it is obvious Dorian’s speed as a Linebacker is one of his key attributes. On top of his speed, Dorian has a great frame for an SEC Linebacker, sizing in at 6-1, 220 pounds. With size and speed, like Nico Firios, Hendrix is easily able to split defenses to make game changing tackles in the open field and the back field. As previously stated, opposing offenses will have trouble in the future trying to move the football as Dorian Hendrix, Nico Firios, and Ryan Flannigan are huge “momentum-breakers” on defense. The Wildcats are getting much needed help at the Linebacker position with the addition of Dorian Hendrix.

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15. Jarrett LaRubbio

3 Star Offensive Lineman Jarrett LaRubbio committed to the Wildcats over huge offers from schools like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Louisville, and West Virginia, among others. LaRubbio was the first OL commitment for the UK 2014 class, and it sure was a great one. LaRubbio is considered the 16th best Offensive Lineman in the country by Rivals, and is known as one of the most physical, overpowering of them all. LaRubbio definitely fits the stereotypical “SEC Eye-Test”, standing in at 6-5, 280 lbs, making it easy to manhandle the Defensive Line to create gaps for Running Backs to get through with ease for big gains. Vince Marrow was Jarrett’s main recruiter, and obviously proved to be one of the best, yet again. LaRubbio gives the Wildcats great depth and talent at a position that lacks both.

LaRubbio has a skill set that should allow him to play early, and if he does, look for Running Backs such as Jojo Kemp, Boom Williams, and Mikel Horton to get the necessary holes they need to put points on the board.

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16. Adrian Middleton

3 Star Defensive Tackle Adrian Middleton committed to the University of Kentucky over Louisville, Western Kentucky, and Indiana. When you think of a stereotypical SEC Defensive Lineman, Adrian is the perfect mold. Standing 6-4, 275 pounds, Middleton is able to bull-rush offensive lines with ease, making him unstoppable to block. Middleton is quick on his feet, agile, and has brute strength, giving him an arsenal of defensive talent that is hard to find.

Recently, Middleton’s relentless play was noticed, by 247 Sports mostly, as he was bumped up to an 89 overall rating, almost making him a 4 Star recruit. With a stellar Senior season, Adrian could easily join the large group of 4 star commitments UK has managed to obtain. If UK can manage to pull in in-state 5 Star Defensive Tackle Matt Elam, this could quite possibly be the best Defensive Line in University of Kentucky history.

Watch his Hudl Tape here!

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17. Shyquawn Pullium

JUCO 3 Star Cornerback Shyquawn Pullium pledged his commitment to the University of Kentucky over schools like Arizona State and Cincinnati. Much like 2013 JUCO CB Signee Nate Willis, Pullium will be brought in to fill an immediate need of limited talent and depth in the secondary for Kentucky.

At 6-1, 180, Pullium has great size, along with great length necessary to make huge plays. Pullium’s aggressiveness separates he and other Cornerback prospects, as he is the true definition of a “ball hawk.” Pullium’s footwork allows for his superb coverage, also, making it extremely difficult for receivers to get past him, let alone make big plays on him. Pullium has the ability to attack the back field on blitzes to make huge plays on the Quarterback, also. Pullium’s potential is extremely high, and if he can achieve anything near his high potential at UK, look for the him to extremely improve UK’s weak secondary. While the Wildcats have a long way to go before they have a competitive SEC secondary, the commitments of Mike Edwards, Darius West, Jared Tucker, and Shyquawn Pullium drastically help the cause. 

Watch his Hudl Tape here!

Stay tuned for the fourth and final edition of the Kentucky 2014 Recruiting Class feature coming in the near future. As always, find the greatest news on recruiting ONLY here at Varsity Preps!

 

 

 

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