The Blue-White Spring Game over the weekend proved that Kentucky is still in need of numbers at wide receiver.
A slew of injuries and departures meant that only five scholarship receivers were able to go for the Cats on Saturday. UK will add three more players at that position in the fall, but the offensive coaching staff has said that it’s still a year away from having the right number of pass catchers.
It’ll be a point of emphasis in the recruiting class of 2015, and Washington, D.C.’s Jabari Greenwood might be the No. 1 wide receiver on UK’s wish list.
Greenwood – a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder – is considered a four-star prospect and has already made two visits to Lexington.
Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 35 wide receiver in the class of 2015.
“There’s a lot to like about Jabari,” Rivals analyst Adam Friedman told the Herald-Leader. “He’s a really, really big target downfield. He’s a guy who can really go out and get it for the quarterback. He’s got good hands, and when he is able to break the press coverage at the line of scrimmage and he gets out into the open field, it is very, very difficult for a cornerback to stop him.
“He’s a guy who’s going to require a lot of safety help at the next level.”
Friedman said Greenwood has a frame that will allow him to put on more weight and long arms that lead to “some pretty acrobatic catches” when he’s up against tough defenses.
He’s not the fastest receiver in the country, but he’s certainly not a slowpoke.
“He’s a long strider, so he’s deceptively fast,” Friedman said. “He covers a lot of ground and — with that huge wingspan – his catch radius is huge. So it really makes up for whatever he might lack in the speed category, which I would definitely expect to improve when he gets to the next level.”
UK’s coaches – and at least one incoming recruit – are hoping his next stop is Lexington.
D.C. area recruit Kobie Walker signed with the Wildcats in February and is good friends with Greenwood. Friedman described Walker, who attended UK’s spring game Saturday, as “a very outgoing guy” who has been doing a lot of recruiting on the Cats’ behalf. “Kobie is clearly going to work on a lot of prospects in the area.”
Greenwood recently named a top five that included UK, Maryland, Michigan State, N.C. State and Rutgers.
He plans to take several visits over the next few weeks, but Friedman likes where Kentucky currently stands in the recruitment.
“You’ve got to think Maryland and Kentucky are two of the top contenders for him,” he said, “depending on some of these other visits and how much longer he wants to take his recruitment.”
One positive for the Wildcats is that Greenwood’s primary recruiter – Tommy Mainord — would also be his position coach if he picks UK.
Mainord has already pulled in one high-profile 2015 commitment from D.C. – four-star lineman Levon Livingston – and he’s been going hard after Greenwood and others from the area.
Friedman said having Mainord as the point man on Greenwood will be big in the recruitment.
“You can’t overstate how important the relationship between the player and his position coach is,” he said. “They have to be able to get along and the player really has to feel a connection and learn a lot from the wide receivers coach. And Jabari clearly feels that way with Coach Mainord.”
Note: This is the second installment of a new feature that will look at one UK football recruit every week. Check the Next Cats blog next Monday for a story on another one of the Cats’ top targets for the class of 2015.