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Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014)

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Posted: 1/30/2014 11:59 PM

Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


After combing through almost three decades of old UK media guides (1988-2014), I've come up with what I believe to be a pretty comprehensive list of the biggest high school commmitments/signees that the Wildcats have had in what you might call the "modern" recruiting news era.

Some of these pre-date that. Technically, the rise of outlets like Alliance Sports, Rivals, Scout, 247 and ESPN didn't begin until 1999. Anything before that is a little sketchy, but you did have some respected magazines and scouting services that are noted below.

My question today was this: Where does Matt Elam rank? Top 5? Pretty close? 

After going through this exercise tonight, my Top 5 would probably look like this:

1. Dennis Johnson
2. Tim Couch
3. Al Baker
4. Micah Johnson
5. Antonio Hall

I judge that based simply on how they were regarded out of high school and who the Cats beat out in the recruiting wars, NOT how they fared at the next level. Also, I did not include prep school or junior college signees.

Anyway, here's the full list:

(Let me know if I omittted someone that should be here. It would be easy to do looking through so many years. I tried to limit it to guys who earned some kind of All-American distinction.) 

***** 

QB Drew Barker – 4-star by Scout; Elite 11 QB; No. 10 QB nationally by Scout; U.S. Army All-American out of Kentucky’s Conner HS in 2014. (UK beat out South Carolina, Miami, Louisville, Ole Miss, Tennessee, among others.)


DT Matt Elam – 4-star by Scout; No. 11 DT nationally by Scout; U.S. Army All-American out of Kentucky’s John Hardin HS in 2014. (UK beat out Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, among others.)

 

QB Morgan Newton – 4-star by Scout; No. 6 QB in nation by Scout; All-America by Parade, SuperPrep, The Sporting News, MaxPreps, ESPN out of Carmel HS in Indiana for 2009. (UK beat out Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, others.)

 

QB Ryan Mossakowski – 4-star by Scout; No. 25 QB in nation by Scout; All-America by SuperPrep and PrepStar out of Centennial HS in Frisco, Texas. (UK beat out Alabama, Texas A&M, others.)

 

LB Micah Johnson – 5-star by Scout, No. 2 LB in nation. U.S. Army All-American in 2006. (Had offers from every major program in country.)

 

DE Josh Minton – SuperPrep, PrepStars All-American; Southwestern HS in Kentucky in 2006.  (UK beat out LSU, Auburn, Florida, Virginia Tech, etc.)

 

QB Andre Woodson – 4-star, Elite 11 QB, Rivals/PrepStar All-American; No. 7 QB in nation in 2003.

 

LB Chad Anderson – SuperPrep All-American out of Canton McKinley in Ohio in 2001.

 

OL Antonio Hall – Prep Football Report, USA Today, Parade All-American; No. 1 defensive tackle by Rivals.com; No. 3 offensive line prospect by SuperPrep, No. 19 overall out of Canton McKinley in Ohio in 2000

 

DT Jeremy Caudill – Parade Magazine All-American out of Prestonsburg HS in 2000

 

WR Derek Abney - Gatorade All-American and PrepStar Magazine All-American out of Everest HS in Wisconsin in 1999.

 

QB Jared Lorenzen – SuperPrep, PrepStar, Student Sports Magazine All-American in 1999 out of Fort Thomas Highlands. Orlando Sentinel’s No. 1 QB in South.

 

WR Brad Pyatt – Super Prep,  Prep Star, Student Sports Magazine, Alliance Sports All-American ; Hon. Mention All-American USA Today in 1999. SuperPrep Top 10 prospect in Midwest.

 

TE Derek Smith – PrepStar, Sporting News, Street & Smith’s, SuperPrep, Student Sports All-American in 1999 out of Fort Thomas Highlands.

 

K Dustin Wynn – PrepStar All-American, ESPN National All-Star Team, Hon. Mention All-American by USA Today out of Middlesboro HS

 

OG Keith Chatelain - PrepStar Magazine All-Americanfrom Rummel HS in Louisiana.

 

TE Bobby Blizzard – Hon. Mention USA Today All-American in 1998 from Hampton HS in Virginia

 

QB Tim Couch – 1995 Parade National Player of the Year; USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year out of Leslie County

 

DE Dennis Johnson – Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year; Atlanta TD Club National Player of the Year; USA Today, Parade and The Sporting News National Defensive Player of the Year out of Harrodsburg HS in 1996

 

RB Moe Williams – Bluechip Magazine All-American, Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report All-American in 1992 from Columbus (Ga.) Spencer HS

 

LB Emerson Wells – AJC Top 50 out of Paducah Tilghman in 1991. SuperPrep All-American

 

RB Al Baker - Atlanta J-C "Top Player in South" in 1985. No. 2 among all college prospects by AJC coming out of Trigg County. 5,350 yards in HS

 

OT Mike Pfeifer – Parade, USA Today First-Team All-American in 1984 out of Louisville Trinity

-----
Jeff Drummond
Publisher, AllWildcats.com
FOX Sports Next

JDrumUK@gmail.com
Twitter: JDrumUK



Last edited 1/31/2014 12:00 AM by JDrum

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Posted: 1/31/2014 12:07 AM

RE: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


Great work Jeff, remember Dennis Johnson very well as there was a lot of talk about his dad getting a job at UK at the time. Spent some time down at UK with my kid brother who was being recruited in the same class as Hall.
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Posted: 1/31/2014 12:32 AM

RE: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


Thanks, Dave. Saw where you called earlier. Was going to call back, but worried that it might be too late. Hit me up if you need to.
-----
Jeff Drummond
Publisher, AllWildcats.com
FOX Sports Next

JDrumUK@gmail.com
Twitter: JDrumUK



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Posted: 2/1/2014 2:59 PM

RE: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


Good stuff, Jeff. Not sure where he was rated out of Memphis Melrose, but I recall that Dewayne Robertson was ranked pretty highly and rightfully so.
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Posted: 2/10/2014 8:13 AM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


I was in High School when Al Baker was being recruited.  The guy was a freak of nature.  I would have loved to see what a healthy Baker could have done.

ETA: after looking around on the interwebs...I found these:

http://www.biggerfasterstronge...Jun_AlBaker.pdf

http://news.google.com/newspap...pg=4526,3907269

That which exists without my knowledge, exists without my consent.

Last edited 2/10/2014 8:19 AM by madmaxvol

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Posted: 2/10/2014 9:54 AM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


Al Baker surely was freakish but also such a nice kid. Injuries and a lot of competition curtailed his time at UK. His senior year he was great and I wish he could have had one more year. He took a screen pass against a very good Gator D for six, about 85 yards and they did not have a chance at catching that beast, he absolutely smoked them. Spurrier threw his visor into the ground hard on that one. Classic.
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Posted: 2/10/2014 10:47 AM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


How about some of the LB's and DE's on, Bill Curry's, "Black Watch" crew? Surely someone there was highly rated.
How about Mark Higgs, the fire plug.

Wasn't Mike Hartline highly rated as well? I know that he was first teal all-state in Ohio.
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Posted: 2/10/2014 2:21 PM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


If it wasn't for the injuries, he wouldn't have had any competition. 
evansdad2 wrote: Al Baker surely was freakish but also such a nice kid. Injuries and a lot of competition curtailed his time at UK. His senior year he was great and I wish he could have had one more year. He took a screen pass against a very good Gator D for six, about 85 yards and they did not have a chance at catching that beast, he absolutely smoked them. Spurrier threw his visor into the ground hard on that one. Classic.

That which exists without my knowledge, exists without my consent.

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Posted: 2/10/2014 3:24 PM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


I think he split time with Alfred Rawls as a junior when healthy. I always got the impression that Coach Nord I believe sort of favored Alfred who was productive. Al flourished under Coach Curry.
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Posted: 2/13/2014 3:37 AM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


Going way back , Fran Curci signed the no.1 rated offensive tackle , Doug Williams , who transferred to Texas A&M .
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Posted: 2/25/2014 11:16 AM

Re: Highest-rated players to sign with UK (1984-2014) 


I didn't see Patrick Towles on your list. The media guide says he was a Parade AA, Ky Mr. Football, Paul Hornung winner, Gatorade POY for Ky, and was rated one of the top 10 pro style QBs by Rivals and 247. I am pretty sure he was rated a 4 star by a couple of services as well.
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