Kentucky recruiting targets for the class of 2018

Kentucky is coming off its first winning season since 2009 and another stellar recruiting class, and the UK coaches will be looking to transfer that success to landing another top-notch group in the 2018 recruiting cycle.

Highly touted quarterback Jarren Williams was the first commitment for the Wildcats’ class of 2018, and he’ll be looking to help Mark Stoops and the rest of the UK coaches on the recruiting trail. Below is a list of the Cats’ top targets in this cycle, with basic bio information, star rankings and links to each player’s Rivals.com and 247Sports recruiting profiles.

Players in bold have already committed to Kentucky, and the chart includes notes on each position group. (This page will be updated regularly).

Quarterbacks
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Jarren Williams 6-3 205 Lawrenceville, Ga. *** *** *** *** Click here Click here

Notes: UK landed a commitment from Jarren Williams early in the process and is not expected to add any more quarterbacks to its 2018 recruiting class. The Cats are projected to return scholarship QBs Drew Barker, Gunnar Hoak, Danny Clark and Walker Wood following the 2017 season.

Running backs
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Malcolm Davidson 5-10 185 Kissimmee, Fla. Click here Click here
Ryan Montgomery 5-11 185 Franklin, Ohio *** *** Click here Click here
Kristian Pechac 6-0 205 Bloomington, Ind. *** **** *** Click here Click here
Tavion Thomas 6-2 225 Dayton, Ohio *** *** **** Click here Click here
Lavonte Valentine 6-2 190 Melbourne, Fla. Click here Click here

Notes: UK will take at least one (and probably two) running backs in the 2018 recruiting cycle. The Cats go into the 2017 season with four scholarship players at the position — junior Sihiem King, sophomore Benny Snell and freshmen AJ Rose and Bryant Koback — and all of those players should be back in Lexington for the 2018 season.

Wide receivers
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Marvin Alexander 6-3 175 Hollywood, Fla. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Kevin Austin 6-3 185 Coconut Creek, Fla. *** **** **** **** Click here Click here
Alonzo Clark 6-4 175 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Johnny Fritz 6-3 180 Saint Cloud, Fla. Click here Click here
Cadarius Gaskin 6-4 200 Delray Beach, Fla. *** Click here Click here
Meechi Harris 6-2 190 Xenia, Ohio *** *** *** Click here Click here
Jeshaun Jones 6-1 170 Fort Myers, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Rondale Moore 5-8 165 Louisville, Ky. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Bryce Oliver 6-3 205 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Kory Taylor 6-5 195 Hilliard, Ohio *** *** *** Click here Click here
Ivan Thomas 6-3 200 Miami, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Zahir Turner 6-0 160 Miami, Fla. Click here Click here
Dominick Watt 6-2 195 Hollywood, Fla. **** *** *** **** Click here Click here

Notes: UK signed five wide receivers in the class of 2017, and Wildcats co-offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw told the Herald-Leader on national signing day that the program would have to sign another big group in the 2018 cycle. UK will lose seniors Dorian Baker, Blake Bone, Garrett Johnson and Charles Walker after the 2017 season. That means the only scholarship upperclassmen at the position going into 2018 will be Kayaune Ross, Jabari Greenwood and Tavin Richardson. Hinshaw also told the Herald-Leader that UK “may have to get some juco players” at wide receiver during the 2018 cycle to add more veterans to the Wildcats’ corps.

Tight ends
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Brenden Bates 6-5 220 Cincinnati, Ohio **** *** **** Click here Click here
Matt Bjorson 6-3 225 Hinsdale, Ill. *** *** Click here Click here
Matt Harmon 6-5 200 Ypsilanti, Mich. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Dante Lang 6-5 225 Boca Raton, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Anthony Lewis Jr. 6-4 210 Mobile, Ala. *** *** Click here Click here
Leonard Taylor 6-5 240 Springfield, Ohio **** *** **** **** Click here Click here
Josh Whyle 6-6 215 Cincinnati, Ohio *** *** Click here Click here

Notes: Kentucky will take at least one (and very likely two) tight ends in the 2018 cycle. Greg Hart has just one more season of eligibility and will be gone by the time the 2018 signees get to town. UK starter CJ Conrad will be a senior in 2018, and Justin Rigg, who redshirted last season, is the only other scholarship tight end on the roster. Dakota Holtzclaw, another 2016 redshirt, is a possibility to move to tight end down the road.

Offensive linemen
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Malik Besseck 6-5 280 Plymouth, Minn. *** *** Click here Click here
Jerome Carvin 6-5 310 Cordova, Tenn. *** *** Click here Click here
Darian Kinnard 6-6 315 Cleveland, Ohio *** Click here Click here
Cleveland Reed 6-4 295 Lakeland, Fla. **** **** **** **** Click here Click here
Sebastian Sainterling 6-3 370 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. *** *** **** *** Click here Click here
Tyrone Sampson 6-3 305 Detroit, Mich. **** **** **** Click here Click here
Blaine Scott 6-4 300 Portsmouth, Ohio *** **** *** Click here Click here
Quintin Wilson 6-3 290 Cincinnati, Ohio *** Click here Click here

Notes: UK took all offensive tackles in the 2017 recruiting cycle, so look for the Cats to add a couple of interior linemen in this 2018 class. Kentucky has done a great job of staggering their O-line numbers by class. Going into the 2018 season, UK’s position group is projected to look like this: Seniors (George Asafo-Adjei, Tate Leavitt, Bunchy Stallings), juniors (Logan Stenberg, Mason Wolfe, Landon Young), sophomores (Luke Fortner, Drake Jackson) and redshirt freshmen (Sebastien Dolcine, Austin Dotson, Naasir Watkins).

Defensive linemen
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Davoan Hawkins 6-4 250 Hollywood, Fla. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Alex Reigelsperger 6-5 235 Huber Heights, Ohio *** *** **** *** Click here Click here
Spencer Anderson 6-5 270 Forestville, Md. *** Click here Click here
Tyler Baylor 6-5 220 Olney, Md. **** *** **** Click here Click here
Tyler Bentley 6-3 285 West Chester, Ohio *** *** Click here Click here
Kevan Bowen 6-4 305 Olney, Md. Click here Click here
Dennis Briggs 6-4 250 Kissimmee, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Parker Devine 6-4 225 Jacksonville, Fla. Click here Click here
D’Andre Litaker 6-3 290 Murfreesboro, Tenn. **** **** **** **** Click here Click here
Jordan Redmond 6-2 290 Kissimmee, Fla. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Austin Smith 6-4 280 McDonough, Ga. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Malik Vann 6-3 245 Fairfield, Ohio **** **** **** **** Click here Click here

Notes: Kentucky signed a talented group of defensive linemen in the 2017 class, and the Cats will be filling more spots in that unit during the 2018 cycle. Matt Elam and Naquez Pringle will be seniors this fall, so look for UK to land at least a couple of interior D-linemen for 2018.

Linebackers
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Ayodele Adeoye 6-2 225 St. Louis, Mo. **** *** **** Click here Click here
Brian Asamoah 6-1 2015 Columbus, Ohio *** *** *** Click here Click here
Jeslord Boateng 6-2 200 Dublin, Ohio *** *** *** Click here Click here
Justice Dingle 6-2 225 Bowling Green, Ky. **** *** Click here Click here
Cameron Hoelscher 6-2 210 Springfield, Ohio *** *** Click here Click here
Antwuan Johnson 6-1 230 Dayton, Ohio *** *** **** **** Click here Click here
Cameron McGrone 6-1 215 Indianapolis, Ind. **** **** **** Click here Click here
Chris Oats 6-4 215 Cincinnati, Ohio *** **** *** **** Click here Click here
Xavier Peters 6-4 220 West Chester, Ohio *** **** Click here Click here

Notes: UK’s projected roster for 2018 will have three senior linebackers — Josh Allen, Jordan Bonner and Jordan Jones — and a whole lot of underclassmen. Look for the Cats to take several linebackers in this 2018 class.

Defensive backs
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Jairus Brents 5-10 180 Louisville, Ky. **** **** **** **** Click here Click here
V’lique Carter 5-11 165 West Palm Beach, Fla. Click here Click here
D.J. Crossen 6-2 190 Greensboro, N.C. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Sammy Faustin 6-2 170 Naples, Fla. Click here Click here
Stanley Garner 6-3 180 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Cameron Jonas 6-2 190 Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Jordan Miner 6-1 185 Wesley Chapel, Fla. **** **** **** Click here Click here
Bryson Richardson 6-0 185 Buford, Ga. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Jeremiah Wood 6-1 195 Pickerington, Ohio *** *** *** Click here Click here
Maxwell Worship 6-2 185 Fort Lauderdale, Fla. *** Click here Click here

Notes: Derrick Baity, Chris Westry, Mike Edwards, Darius West and Lonnie Johnson are all on pace to be seniors in 2018, but UK has a lot of talent behind those players. The secondary is one of UK’s strongest units moving forward, but teams can always use more bodies in the defensive backfield. Kentucky likely will target the safety position, specifically, in the class of 2018.

Athletes
Player Ht Wt Hometown Rivals Scout ESPN 247 Rivals page 247 page
Andrew Cunningham 6-0 210 Tampa, Fla. *** *** *** *** Click here Click here
Jaylan Franklin 6-4 195 Gibraltar, Mich. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Shocky Jacques-Louis 6-0 170 Fort Myers, Fla. *** *** Click here Click here
Richard Jibunor 6-4 200 Athens, Ga. *** *** *** Click here Click here
Keidron Smith 6-2 180 West Palm Beach, Fla. *** *** *** Click here Click here
L’Christian Smith 6-5 215 Huber Heights, Ohio **** **** **** **** Click here Click here
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