Photo Credit Dr. Michael Huang
Kentucky fans are used to seeing the basketball program bring in top recruiting classes. This year, they have something new to celebrate. UK football is bringing in a historically great recruiting class.
The Wildcats have the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation and the No. 4 class in the SEC, per 247. The class is headlined by one five-star recruit and eight four-stars, also per 247. Below is a quick look at those nine high-level recruits.
(Photo: Twitter [@Talk_With_Hawk])
Kiyaunta Goodwin (OT)
- Analysis: A 5-star recruit by nearly every service, Goodwin is the gem of Kentucky’s recruiting class. Goodwin has the potential to make an impact as a true freshman and be a star in the Big Blue Wall to remember for years. Goodwin’s unique combination of size and strength makes him the perfect prospect for UK’s O-line coaches and training staff. Kentucky is looking to take the next step nationally and Goodwin is the type of piece they’ll need to do that.
- Measurements: 6-foot-8, 340 pounds
Barion Brown (WR)
- Analysis: A consensus top 300 player in the class, Brown has the pedigree to be something special for the Cats. Brown’s athleticism allowed him to take snaps at WR, RB, QB, DB and returner this year. While BBN shouldn’t expect to see him outside of the WR position, that kind of versatility speaks to the special prospect Brown is.
- Measurements: 6-foot-1, 173 pounds
(Photo: Twitter [@DaneKey12])
Dane Key (WR)
- Analysis: An early enrollee, Key is taking the necessary steps to be Kentucky’s next star receiver. But, even with an extra semester in a college weight room, expecting Key to make waves as a freshman is a big ask. The Lexington native has the potential to be a star at Kentucky, but with guys like Dekel Crowdus, Tae Tae Crumes, Chris Lewis and Chauncey Magwood ready to take the next step, there is no need to rush Key’s development.
- Measurements: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds
(Photo: Twitter [@GrantBingham2])
Grant Bingham (IOL)
- Analysis: Standing 6-foot-6, Bingham has the frame to be a star on the Big Blue Wall. As an early enrollee, he is already on campus practicing with the team. Whether or not the extra semester of practice will be enough for the Paintsville, Ky native to see the field in the fall is yet to be seen. But one thing that is clear is that Bingham has a promising future with the Wildcats.
- Measurements: 6-foot-6, 302 pounds
(Photo: Twitter [@deonewalker51])
Deone Walker (DL)
- Analysis: Walker played on both the offensive and defensive line for his high school. Walker has the most experience on the defensive side of the ball, so that is where he will most likely end up playing in college. Walker’s size pops out at first glance, but it is his agility that sets him apart. At his current size, Walker has the right body for the nose tackle position, but given his mobility, the coaching staff may want to see him lose weight and try out as an edge rusher. Whichever route Walker goes, he has the potential to be a difference maker.
- Measurements: 6-foot-6, 350 pounds
Tyrese Fearbry (DE)
- Analysis: Fearbry is a multisport athlete that spent his winters and springs playing basketball and running track. Fearbry has an explosion off the line of scrimmage that could lead him to becoming UK’s next sack-master. Several years removed from Josh Allen, Kentucky would love to see another edge-rusher that gives opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Fearbry may be just the man to provide that.
- Measurements: 6-foot-5, 225 pounds
Keaten Wade (LB)
- Analysis: A mixture of quick hands and feet makes Wade a pass rush threat. At the high school level, Wade was regularly able to rush past blockers and disrupt the quarterback. Even when unable to complete the sack, Wade is able to reach into the pocket to disrupt the play, regularly setting up a teammate for the sack. Kentucky’s LB room is stacked, so the odds are Wade will not see the field this year. But in two or three years, Wade has the potential to be one of the Wildcats’ best pash rushers.
- Measurements: 6-foot-4, 223 pounds
(Photo: UK Athletics)
Alex Afari (ATH)
- Analysis: Afari comes with a big question mark: what position will he play? Stoops has said he sees Afari as a five-position player. Afari is an athletic DB that will most likely end up as either a CB, LB or S. He has the most experience at corner, but he has the makings of a quality safety, so don’t be surprised if Afari ends up in that position. Whichever position Afari ends up playing, his size and tackling abilities will be very welcome in a Kentucky secondary that has struggled.
- Measurements: 6-foot-2, 195 pounds
Destin Wade (ATH)
- Analysis: Brother of fellow recruit, Keaten Wade, Destin Wade played QB in high school. Under Eddie Gran, his scrambling ability would make him a solid fit for the offense. But with Kentucky moving to more of a pro-style offense, Wade may be better suited as a running back. Wade’s highlights are full of 50+ yard breakaway scrambles, often ending in touchdowns. His ability to find gaps in the defense for long runs may lead to success in college.
- Measurements: 6-foot-3, 205 pounds