Kentucky's Stoops signs half of 22 recruit class from Florida
Thursday, February 07, 2013 10:00 AM
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Mark Stoops' first Kentucky recruiting class shows he still has some pull in Florida.
Convincing two talented in-state players to stay home and help the rebuilding process also demonstrates Stoops' appeal in Kentucky.
Half of Kentucky's 22 signees announced on Wednesday are from Florida. That's a significant haul from the Sunshine State, which the former Florida State defensive coordinator promised to scour in his quest to lift Kentucky back to respectability following a 2-10 season.
Landing locals such as Louisville Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher and Franklin County (Frankfort) wide receiver Ryan Timmons also matters to Big Blue Nation. Hatcher, 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, backed out of his commitment to USC to sign with Kentucky; Timmons, a 5-10 wide receiver, announced he would play for the Wildcats on Tuesday.
Stoops considers the quality of this group as pretty good work, considering he replaced Joker Phillips just over two months ago.
"It was a group effort," Stoops said of whirlwind recruiting effort. "The staff, that's a big part of it. The first year it's important when you hire guys that they have some connections, so that's a big part of it, guys with relationships that they have had either with players or with coaches.
"We feel we have an awful lot to sell. I would like to thank the BBN, tremendous support. I think our recruits felt their presence, they felt the support of the fan base, so there are a lot of things that go into it. But great effort by our staff, great work ethic and they did a fantastic job."
While other Southeastern Conference schools had recruiting classes rated higher than Kentucky's, Rivals.com considers the Wildcats' group their best ever. Players such as Hatcher and Timmons were rated as four-star recruits, and Hatcher's decision to switch from USC to the Wildcats was viewed as a coup considering the program's moribund recent history and overall lower profile compared to other SEC schools.
One of Stoops' goals was changing that impression in recruiting and the effort landed the Wildcats a dozen offensive players in trying to improve one of the SEC's worst units last season. That group includes four linemen with three from Florida, but the biggest of the bunch is 6-8, 305-pound Justin Day from Aiken, S.C.
Kentucky's defensive line was also beefed up with the addition of Jacob Hyde, a 6-2, 330-pounder from Clay County High School in Manchester. That unit included two from Florida - Regie Meant of Cape Coral and Alvonte Bell of Miramar - and junior college transfer Za'Darius Smith (Greenville, Ala.), who enrolled this semester and will practice this spring.
"There are a lot of great players that come out of Florida," Stoops said of recruiting in his former state. "It's probably the way it fell because of our relationships with some of them. So I don't know if it would be the exact percentage in the future but I'm not going to put any limitations on it. There is a lot of talent down there but we're going to work extremely hard to hit everybody we can within a four, five, six hour drive from Lexington."
Stoops' philosophy was borne out in a recruiting yield that expanded beyond Kentucky and Florida.
The Wildcats signed three players from Ohio including safety Marcus McWilson from Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown. Initially committed to Nebraska, McWilson backed out to join Stoops, a fellow Mooney alumnus.
"I asked Marcus the whole time, 'What's it feel like to be the second best player to play at Cardinal Mooney High School?,"' Stoops joked.
Kentucky's signings of Day and Smith demonstrated Stoops' ability to reach into SEC territory, an approach that also attracted kicker Austin MacGinnis (Prattville, Ala.).
But Stoops' landing of Hatcher and Timmons was considered a significant step forward for Kentucky since many standout recruits have gone elsewhere. And it might explain why the coach couldn't contain his glee in starting his head coaching career with two "dynamic" recruits.
"He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball," Stoops said of Timmons. "He's very versatile, has a tremendous family, great person, great student, joy to be around and was very high priority for us."
Of Hatcher, the coach added, "You know the importance of recruiting the best players in the state. With Jason we signed three players from Kentucky and Jason was important in a lot of ways. ... He gives us great credibility in moving forward."
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Antonio Allen, db, 5-10, 205, Ben Davis HS, Indianapolis
Daryl Chestnut, rb, 5-10, 190, Christopher Columbus HS, Miami
Christopher Cormier, dl, 6-2, 315, Arizona Western CC, New Iberia, La.
Patrick Dougherty, dl, 6-5, 260, Aurora (Ohio) HS
Chase Dutra, ath, 6-1, 205, Brownsburg (Ind.) HS
Rashard Fant, db, 5-10, 165, Our Lady of Mercy HS, Atlanta
Danny Friend, te, 6-5, 240, Morris (Ill.) HS
Steven Funderburk, lb, 6-3, 231, Iowa Western CC, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Myles Graham, rb, 6-2, 215, Chaminade Madonna College Prep HS, Miami
Isaac Griffith, wr, 6-0, 180, Homestead HS, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Jordan Heiderman, dl, 6-3, 280, Iowa Western CC, Norfolk, Neb.
Evan Jansen, te, 6-4, 245, Moeller HS, Mason, Ohio
David Kenney, dl, 6-2, 250, Pike HS, Indianapolis
Darius Latham, dl, 6-5, 291, North Central HS, Indianapolis
Clyde Newton, ath, 6-1, 215, Charlotte HS, Punta Gorda, Fla.
Marcus Oliver, lb, 6-1, 220, Hamilton (Ohio) HS
Noel Padmore, db, 5-11, 175, Flowery Branch (Ga.) HS
T.J. Simmons, lb, 6-0, 230, Lakeland (Fla.) HS
Kris Smith, lb, 6-2, 215, Flowery Branch (Ga.) HS
Laray Smith, ath, 6-0, 185, Xaverian HS, Staten Island, N.Y.
Maurice Swain, dl, 6-5, 305, Troup HS, LaGrange, Ga.
Anthony Young, wr, 6-1, 175, St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio
Matt Burke, te, 6-6, 220, Cardinal Newman HS, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Keith Byars III, rb, 5-10, 200, Milford Academy, Boca Raton, Fla.
Leroy Clark, db, 5-10, 175, Archbishop Carroll HS, Miami
Johnny Daniels, dt, 6-5, 255, Foreman HS, Chicago
Dalyn Dawkins, rb, 5-9, 175, Trinity HS, Louisville
Danny Etling, qb, 6-3, 218, Terre Haute (Ind.) South Vigo HS
Danny Ezechukwu, lb, 6-3, 240, Arabia Mountain HS, Lithonia, Ga.
Keyante Green, rb, 5-9, 205, Eagle's Landing Christian, McDonough, Ga.
Ra'Zahn Howard, dt, 6-4, 315, Atlanta Sports Academy, Dawsonville, Ga.
Da'Wan Hunte, cb, 5-10, 180, Miami Central HS, Miami
Tyvel Jemison, cb, 5-11, 175, Bishop Luers HS, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Austin Logan, s, 6-0, 190, Florida HS, Tallahassee, Fla.
Antoine Miles, de, 6-3, 250, McKinley HS, Canton, Ohio
Dan Monteroso, wr, 6-3, 185, Saint Clairsville (Ohio) HS
Myles Norwood, wr, 6-0, 185, Grace Prep, Arlington, Texas
Evan Panfil, de, 6-5, 240, Lincoln Way Central HS, New Lennox, Ill.
Dezwan Polk-Campbell, lb, 6-4, 215, Whetstone HS, Columbus, Ohio
Jake Replogle, de, 6-4, 240, Centerville (Ohio) HS
John Strauser, de, 6-4, 235, High School of Saint Thomas More, Champaign, Ill.
Johnny Thompson, lb, 6-3, 200, Apalachee HS, Winder , Ga.
Jason Tretter, ol, 6-6, 300, Revere HS, Richfield, Ohio
David Yancey, rb, 5-10, 205, Lake Central HS, Saint John, Ind.
Deangelo Yancey, wr, 6-2, 200, Mays HS, Atlanta
Jeff Badet, wr, 6-0, 170, Freedom HS, Orlando, Fla.
Alvonte Bell, de, 6-5, 255, Everglades HS, Miramar, Fla.
Javess Blue, wr, 6-0, 190, Lake Wales/Butler CC, Babson Park, Fla.
Steven Borden, te, 6-3, 250, Waxahachie (Texas) HS/Kilgore College
Justin Day, ot, 6-8, 305, South Aiken (S.C.) HS
Jason Hatcher, de, 6-3, 250, Trinity HS, Louisville, Ky.
Nick Haynes, ol, 6-3, 305, Niceville (Fla.) HS
Jacob Hyde, dl, 6-2, 330, Clay County HS, Manchester, Ky.
Jaleel Hytchye, cb, 5-10, 175, La Salle HS, Cincinnati
Jojo Kemp, rb, 5-10, 190, Deland (Fla.) HS
Austin MacGinnis, k, 5-10, 175, Prattville (Ala.) HS
Blake McClain, db, 5-11, 190, Winter Park (Fla.) HS
Marcus McWilson, s, 6-0, 210, Cardinal Mooney HS, Youngstown, Ohio
Kyle Meadows, 6-5, 270, Lakota West HS, West Chester, Ohio
Regie Meant, dl, 6-4, 275, Baker HS, Cape Coral, Fla.
Ramsey Meyers, ol, 6-4, 290, Ridgeview HS, Orange Park, Fla.
Alex Montgomery, wr, 6-2, 210, Cypress Bay HS, Weston, Fla.
Reese Phillips, qb, 6-2, 225, Signal Mountain (Tenn.) HS
Za'Darius Smith, de, 6-6, 250, Greenville (Ala.) HS/Mississippi CC
Khalid Thomas, rb, 5-10, 170, Godby HS, Tallahassee, Fla.
Ryan Timmons, ath, 5-10, 185, Franklin County HS, Frankfort, Ky.
Nate Willis, db, 6-0, 180, Pahokee (Fla.) HS/Arizona Western College
Willie Bailey, cb, 6-2, 172, Hallandale (Fla.) HS/Univ. of Florida
Richard Benjamin, cb, 6-1, 195, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Technical HS
Kyle Bolin, qb, 6-3, 185, Lexington (Ky.) Catholic HS
Chandler Bridgers, ol, 6-4, 270, Flowery Branch (Ga.) HS
Lyn Clark, lb, 6-2, 225 O. Perry Walker HS, New Orleans
Donel Elam, s, 6-1, 200, Fleming Island HS, Orange Park, Fla.
Cameron Fraser, ol, 6-4, 290, Central HS, Phenix City, Ala.
Keith Kelsey, lb, 6-1, 217, Gainesville (Fla.) HS
Skylar Lacy, ol, 6-6, 290, Southport HS, Indianapolis
Finesse Middleton, de, 5-11, 255, Gadsden City (Ala.) HS
Brett Nelson, qb, 6-4, 220, Southwestern CC, Chula Vista, Calif.
James Quick, wr, 6-1, 180, Trinity HS, Louisville
De'Asian Richardson, de, 6-3, 285, First Coast HS, Jacksonville, Fla.
Terrance Ross, s, 6-2, 188, Wekiva HS, Apopka, Fla.
Kyle Shortridge, dt, 6-2, 273, Seminole Ridge HS, Loxahatchee, Fla.
Keith Towbridge, te, 6-3, 230, Central Catholic HS, Toledo, Ohio
Chucky Williams, cb, 6-2, 180, Champagnat Catholic School, Hialeah, Fla.
Hunter Bivin, ol, 6-6, 290, Apollo HS, Owensboro, Ky.
Greg Bryant, rb, 5-11, 200, American Heritage HS, Delray Beach, Fla.
Devin Butler, db, 6-1, 180, Gonzaga Prep HS, Washington, D.C.
Michael Deeb, lb, 6-2, 235, American Heritage HS, Plantation, Fla.
Steve Elmer, ol, 6-5, 300, Midland (Mich.) HS
William Fuller, wr, 6-1, 180, Roman Catholic HS, Philadelphia
Tarean Folston, rb, 5-10, 190, Cocoa (Fla.) HS
Mike Heuerman, te, 6-4, 225, Barron Collier HS, Naples, Fla.
Torii Hunter Jr., wr, 6-0, 180, Prosper (Texas) HS
Rashad Kinlaw, db, 5-11, 185, Absegami HS, Galloway, N.J.
Cole Luke, db, 6-0, 180, Hamilton HS, Chandler, Ariz.
Jacob Matuska, dl, 6-4, 255, Bishop Hartley HS, Columbus, Ohio
Mike McGlinchey, ol, 6-7, 280, William Penn Charter HS, Philadelphia
Colin McGovern, ol, 6-5, 280, Lincoln-Way West HS, New Lenox, Ill.
John Montelus, ol, 6-5, 305, Everett (Mass.) HS
James Onwualu, wr, 6-1, 210, Cretin-Derham Hall HS, St. Paul, Minn.
Doug Randolph, db, 6-3, 230, Woodberry Forest HS, Richmond, Va.
Max Redfield, db, 6-2, 195, Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS
Corey Robinson, wr, 6-5, 190, San Antonio (Texas) Christian HS
Isaac Rochell, dl, 6-5, 265, Eagle's Landing Christian HS, McDonough, Ga.
Jaylon Smith, db, 6-3, 220, Bishop Luers HS, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Durham Smythe, te, 6-5, 230, Belton (Texas) HS
Malik Zaire, qb, 6-1, 190, Archbishop Alter HS, Kettering, Ohio
Chris Blair, db, 5-11, 196, East Forsyth HS, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Calvin Blank, te, 6-4, 234, Terre Haute (Ind.) North HS
Aaron Clay, wr, 5-11, 201, Eastern Alamance, Mebane, N.C.
Steve Drida, k-p, 6-0, 187, Waukesha (Wis). West HS
Blake Dueitt, dl, 6-1, 251, W.A. Hough HS, Cornelius, N.C.
Daniel Garces, dl, 6-1, 223, Providence HS, Matthews, N.C.
Nicholas Isaacs, lb, 6-1, 235, Withrow HS, Cincinnati
Jarrid Lloyd, ol, 6-5, 255, Benet Academy, Naperville, Ill.
Pat Maloney, ol, 6-2, 274, Maine South HS, Niles, Ill.
Stephan Martin, lb, 5-11, 226, Lakeland HS, Lake Alfred, Fla.
Jack Milas, qb, 6-1, 199, Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.
David Moore, db, 5-9, 167, Butler HS, Matthews, N.C.
Vinnie Palazeti, ol, 6-4, 284, Powers Catholic HS, Owosso, Mich.
Damerrian Petty, dl, 6-1, 288, Burns HS, Shelby, N.C.
P.J. Scott, ol, 6-2, 293, Morris (Okla.) HS
Ralph Smith, db, 5-8, 164, Avon (Ind.) HS
Stu Stanley, lb, 6-0, 207, Cathedral HS, Indianapolis
Haris Vrabac, ol, 6-7, 337, Warrant Mott HS, Warren, Mich.
Sean Wiggins, lb, 6-2, 226, Butler HS, Mint Hill, N.C.
Teddy Williamson, rb, 5-9, 171, Fort Zumwalt West HS, O'Fallon, Mo.
Anthony Winbush, dl, 6-1, 207, Warren Central HS, Indianapolis
Maurice Bennett, dl, 6-3, 300, East Mississippi CC, Madison, Miss.
Raphael Cox, dl, 6-3, 270, Trinity Valley CC, Cedar Hill, Texas
Drew Davis, lb, 6-1, 215, Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala.
John Delaney, ol, 6-6, 310, Ventura (Calif.) CC, Fort Worth, Texas
Devante Duclos, lb, 6-0, 216, Miami (Fla.) Central HS
Joe Fennell, ol, 6-5, 320, South Fort Myers (Fla.) HS
Juwan Gardner, db, 6-1, 200, DuPont Manual HS, Louisville, Ky.
DeMarcus Glover, dl, 6-4, 240, Pine Forest HS, Pensacola, Fla.
Rashad Greene, db, 6-1, 175, Southwestern College, Daytona Beach, Fla.
D'Von Isaac, dl, 6-4, 275, Alpharetta (Ga.) HS
Aaron Jackson, wr, 6-3, 185, Frankfort (Ky.) HS
Shaquille Johnson, te, 6-4, 215, Columbia HS, Lake City, Fla.
Kyle Jones, ol, 6-4, 300, Mulberry (Fla.) HS
Cam Lewis, wr, 6-3, 205, Ballard HS, Louisville, Ky.
Justin Martinez, ol, 6-3, 275, St. Lucie West Centennial HS, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Nicholas Norris, wr, 5-10, 170, Booker T. Washington HS, Miami
Joe Occhipinti, k, 6-3, 190, Hillsboro HS, Nashville, Tenn.
Dalton Patterson, db, 6-3, 195, Arkansas Baptist College, New Orleans
Connor Popeck, ol, 6-4, 280, Itawamba (Miss.) CC, Olive Branch, Miss.
Todd Porter, qb, 6-3, 195, O'Fallon (Ill.) HS
Brandon Ray, ol, 6-3, 285, Bob Jones HS, Madison, Ala.
Tanner Reeves, dl, 6-4, 230, George Jenkins HS, Lakeland, Fla.
Kalvin Robinson, dl, 6-5, 225, Vestavia Hills HS, Birmingham, Ala.
Donald Rocker, ol, 6-4, 296, Sandalwood HS, Jacksonville, Fla.
De'Andre Simmons, db, 5-11, 180, Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) HS
Jimmie Simms, ol, 6-5, 290, McDonogh 35 HS, New Orleans
Isaac Tanner, lb, 6-0, 223, Freedom HS, Tampa, Fla.
Taywan Taylor, wr, 6-1, 185, Pleasure Ridge Park HS, Louisville, Ky.
Kylen Towner, wr, 5-9, 165, St. Paul's Episcopal School, Mobile, Ala.
Lonnie Turner, wr, 5-10, 180, Los Angeles Harbor, Inglewood, Calif.
Marcus Ward, db, 6-3, 204, Vestavia Hills HS, Birmingham, Ala.
Derrell Young, olb, 6-1, 205, Boyd H. Anderson HS, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.