The football coaching vacancies at Texas at Penn State could lead to some good recruiting fortunes for UK in the coming weeks.
Several media outlets — including Sports Illustrated — reported late Friday night that U of L Coach Charlie Strong has agreed to become the next coach of the Longhorns. Two high-profile commitments — four-star prospects Kendall Randolph and T.J. Harrell — have both seemingly narrowed their lists to UK and Louisville, and Strong’s departure might give the Cats a better opportunity to add those players to their 2014 class.
Randolph is scheduled to take an official visit to U of L on Jan. 17 and then take his final trip to UK on Jan. 24. The 5-foot-11 defensive back from Tallahassee is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and ESPN. Rivals ranks him as the No. 26 cornerback in the senior class.
Louisville had been the clear leader for Randolph, but he told Rivals on Thursday that “it might” affect his decision if Strong were to leave for another job.
“When you switch coaches like that, nine times out of 10 the coaching staff is going to switch, so they would be bringing in a new staff that I’m not familiar with,” he said. “But we’ll see how it goes.”
Randolph mentioned his relationships with both coaching staffs as the reason UK and U of L are his two finalists.
Harrell is set to visit Kentucky on Jan. 17 and Louisville on Jan. 24. Rivals.com considers the 6-foot-1 athlete from Tampa, Fla., to be the No. 246 overall prospect in the Class of 2014.
Current Miami commitment Travonte Valentine is another four-star prospect who could be affected by the coaching carousel. Valentine said earlier this week that — while still committed to the Hurricanes — he is also considering UK and Louisiana State and will take official visits to both schools later this month before making a final decision, most likely during national signing day on Feb. 5.
Valentine cited the possibility that Miami Coach Al Golden could leave for Penn State — his alma mater — as the reason for his interest in the two SEC schools.
“With all the talk about Al Golden going to Penn State, that kind of hurt the situation,” Valentine told NOLA.com.
Golden has since emerged as one of the top three candidates for the Penn State opening, with a couple of websites reporting Friday that he had been offered the job.
Valentine — a 6-foot-3, 340-pounder from Hialeah, Fla. — is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, which ranks him as the No. 14 defensive tackle in the senior class.
He will visit Kentucky on Jan. 24.