Ben Roberts

Sep 022014
 
Madison Southern running back Damien Harris is considered the No. 1 running back in the country. Photo: Matt Goins/For the Herald-Leader

Madison Southern running back Damien Harris is considered the No. 1 running back in the country.
Photo: Matt Goins/For the Herald-Leader

Madison Southern star Damien Harris is the highest-rated Kentucky high school player in the era of recruiting rankings and UK’s top target in the class of 2015.

He also happens to play a position that is among the Cats’ deepest moving forward.

UK is expected to return five experienced running backs in 2015, when Harris will be a college freshman. If he picks Kentucky, he’ll have to work to earn a prominent role early in his career. But that will be the case at any of his five finalists.

Not counting players who are currently seniors, the five schools remaining on Harris’ list boast a total of 13 running backs who were ranked in the Rivals 100 coming out of high school, and 20 who were ranked in the Rivals 250.

Alabama and Ohio State each have six Rivals 250 running backs who would be eligible to return to college in 2015. UK and Florida have three apiece, while Texas A&M has two such players.

Here’s a closer look at each program’s projected running back situation for next season, with each player’s current year in college and rankings from Rivals.com:

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Sep 012014
 
Bragg

Bragg

As expected, Kentucky made the latest cut for five-star basketball recruit Carlton Bragg, who trimmed his list to five schools Monday.

Kansas, Illinois, Arizona and UCLA are the other programs that still have a shot at the 6-foot-9 forward from Cleveland.

There were no real surprises on Bragg’s new list. He had previously said that UK, Kansas and Illinois were all locks to make the final five. He also went ahead and scheduled visits to Kansas’ midnight madness and Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness weeks ago. Those trips will be on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, respectively.

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Sep 012014
 

Florida cornerback Josh Dunn received a scholarship offer from Kentucky on Monday, the first day of the fall evaluation period.

Dunn — a class of 2016 prospect — is high school teammates with UK signee Marcus Walker and has already talked about wanting to play for the same college team as the future Wildcat.

ESPN ranks Dunn as the No. 46 overall prospect and No. 3 cornerback in the class of 2016. Kentucky is the first school from one of the “power five” conferences to offer him a scholarship.

Dunn had the only score in his team’s rain-shortened victory Friday night, a 9-yard interception return for a touchdown.

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Sep 012014
 
Tatum

Tatum

Jayson Tatum — regarded by some recruiting analysts as the No. 1 basketball prospect in the class of 2016 — announced his top 10 schools Monday.

The 6-foot-7 wing player is now considering Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Saint Louis, UConn and Wake Forest. Tatum was the first player from his class to receive a scholarship offer from UK, and he visited Lexington last October for Big Blue Madness.

Scout.com and 247Sports rank Tatum as the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2016, which should be among the most talented groups of prospects in the past few years.

Tatum is close to fellow St. Louis native and former Florida star Brad Beal, but the Gators did not make his top 10. UCLA and Michigan State were among the other national powers that offered but did not make the cut.

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Aug 312014
 
Ingram

Ingram

Brandon Ingram — one of the breakout basketball recruits of the summer — narrowed his list to UK and five other schools Sunday.

The 6-foot-8 small forward from Kinston, N.C., is also consider Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and N.C. State. He will visit Kansas and UK for each program’s midnight madness on consecutive weekends in October. Ingram has already visited the other four schools on his list.

247 Sports ranks Ingram as the No. 11 overall prospect in the class of 2015, and he is ranked no lower than No. 25 overall by any of the major recruiting services. UK offered him a scholarship last month after a stellar showing on the summer circuit. He played for an Adidas-team backed by former UNC star Jerry Stackhouse.

Florida and Louisville were among the other major programs that extended scholarship offers.

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Aug 312014
 
Blakeney

Blakeney

Five-star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney arrived in Louisville on Sunday for his first official visit.

Blakeney — a 6-foot-3 prospect from Orlando, Fla. — also has a scholarship from Kentucky and has mentioned the possibility of visiting Lexington for Big Blue Madness in October. His next official visit will be next month to Louisiana State.

Other schools on his list include Florida State, Southern Cal, Oregon and Missouri.

Rivals.com ranks Blakeney as the No. 13 overall player in the class of 2015, and every major recruiting service has him in the top 25.

Louisville already has one of the highest-rated recruiting classes so far for 2015, with commitments from top-50 players Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel and Ray Spalding.

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Aug 302014
 
Mikel Horton ran for an 18-yard touchdown late in the first half of UK's season opener Saturday. Photo: Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay

Mikel Horton ran for an 18-yard touchdown late in the first half of UK’s season opener Saturday.
Photo: Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay for the Herald-Leader

Twelve players who were part of UK’s much-celebrated signing class of 2014 made their debuts in the Wildcats’ season-opening 59-14 victory over UT-Martin on Saturday.

Junior-college transfers A.J. Stamps and Ryan Flannigan, and true freshmen Kendall Randolph, Mikel Horton and Blake Bone were among the standouts in a group that should provide plenty of highlights over the next few years.

Here’s a look at what each newcomer did Saturday:

Mikel Horton: The big freshman running back lost one yard on his first carry as a Wildcat, but he showed why he was so highly ranked as a recruit later on. On the Cats’ final drive of the first half, Horton rumbled 18 yards for his first college touchdown. He was hit near the line of scrimmage, bounced off the defender, turned to the right side and beat another defender to the end zone. He scored on a 14-yard touchdown around the left side in the fourth quarter. Horton also played on special teams.
Final stats: 7 carries for 45 yards and 2 TDs
Horton on his running style: “I hope the BBN doesn’t just think I’m a power back or a short-yardage back. I’m an all-around back. I can do everything that the little guys can. I can catch out of the backfield, make people miss, use my speed. I was hoping for a breakaway … I’m talking about like a 75-yard breakaway so I could show my speed. But I hope the BBN knows now that I can make people miss.”

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Aug 302014
 
Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown

One of UK basketball’s biggest recruiting targets will be in town on the program’s biggest recruiting night.

Five-star small forward Jaylen Brown is coming to Lexington on an official visit for Big Blue Madness, according to a ZagsBlog report on Saturday morning. Brown — a 6-foot-7 prospect from Georgia — had been saying for weeks that a trip to Madness was possible.

The Big Blue Madness confirmed guest list now includes Brown, UK commitment Charles Matthews, top class of 2015 targets Carlton Bragg, Stephen Zimmerman and Brandon Ingram, and top class of 2016 targets Derryck Thornton and Tyus Battle. That list is expected to grow between now and the Oct. 17 event. Malik Newman and Ivan Rabb are among may other star players who have mentioned the possibility of a Madness visit.

Brown is ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2015 by Scout.com, and the No. 2 prospect by Rivals.com and 247Sports. He is also considering Kansas, UCLA, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

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Aug 302014
 
Damien Harris

Damien Harris

Madison Southern running back Damien Harris was among the top recruits in attendance for UK’s season opener Saturday.

Harris — the No. 1 running back in the country — has narrowed his list to UK, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M. He will announce his college decision Dec. 13.

Madison Southern is off to a 2-0 start, and Harris has run 20 times for 380 yards and four touchdowns so far this season. He comes to Lexington on Saturday less than 24 hours after going for 237 yards and two TDs in a victory at Whitley County.

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Aug 282014
 
Diamond Stone | Photo: Reebok

Diamond Stone | Photo: Reebok

Five-star center Diamond Stone announced his top five schools Thursday, and Kentucky did not make the cut.

The 6-foot-10 prospect from Milwaukee has narrowed his choices to Maryland, Duke, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and UConn. Stone had a scholarship offer from UK but is apparently no longer considering the Wildcats.

He will announce his college decision Nov. 12 on ESPN.

UK has extended offers to 13 other uncommitted prospects in the class of 2015, including several post players. The Wildcats’ only commitment so far for that class is Chicago guard Charles Matthews.

Stone and top UK target Malik Newman have spoken publicly about attending the same school, though that talk has died down in recent weeks. If it happens, UConn seems like the only realistic landing spot for the duo. The Huskies are thought to be one of Newman’s favorites, along with Kentucky, Kansas and Mississippi State.

Newman will not make his decision until the spring.

Scout.com ranks Stone as the No. 4 overall player in the class of 2015.

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