Expect Kentucky to be one of many suitors for LSU transfer Eli Ricks
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Expect Kentucky to be one of many suitors for LSU transfer Eli Ricks

Article written by:Adam LuckettAdam Luckett


Kevin Mawae narrates LSU hype video ahead of Auburn Tigers matchup
(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Eli Ricks was a five-star cornerback out of Metro Los Angeles in the class of 2020. After two seasons at DBU, the blue-chipper is on the move.

Kentucky has a history of success with LSU transfers and needs help at cornerback. KSR’s Matt Jones reports that contact has been made between the two parties. Let the transfer portal games begin.

Ricks will be one of the top free agents in the offseason and Kentucky figures to have a strong case to be made. KSR is here to give an early background report on Ricks and how this recruitment could develop.

Elite potential

After playing for powerhouse Mater Dei High in Southern California, Ricks transferred to IMG Academy (Fla.) for his senior season in 2019. After recording three interceptions, Ricks was named a top-five player at his position and a top-25 player in the class.

Not surprisingly, Ricks decided to continue his playing career at LSU, and he performed immediately at the college level. The 6-2 cornerback recorded four interceptions and five pass-breakups with a pair of defensive touchdowns as a true freshman. The blue-chipper was named a third-team All-American.

As a sophomore, Ricks took a step back as he missed five games with a shoulder injury and only has one interception. However, enough evidence is on tape.

Ricks is a big-time player who will be a one-and-done candidate at wherever he lands next.

Fierce competition

Eli Ricks is a very good football player. The cornerback was a five-star recruit for a reason, and those same schools pursuing him in high school will likely also be interested in his services in the transfer market.

Ohio State was a big-time factor in his recruitment. The Buckeyes should be in the mix. Alabama needs some help at cornerback. Georgia had great success with Clemson transfer Derion Kendrick this season, and running back Kendall Milton is doing some recruiting for the Bulldogs. LSU will not be out of the race when their new coach is hired.

Meanwhile, Kelvin Joseph appears to be willing to help Kentucky. However, this recruitment will be stiff. The Wildcats figure to have a chance, but the coaching staff will need to beat out some blue blood competition.

Not the same track record

Kentucky landed LSU transfers Kelvin Joseph and Dare Rosenthal, but there will be some differences with Eli Ricks. Both Joseph and Rosenthal were from Louisiana and had some recruiting ties to Kentucky. Ricks is from Los Angeles, and that’s not a place the Wildcats had spent a lot of time.

However, Liam Coen’s time spent with the Los Angeles Rams may have been enough to establish some high school relationships. At IMG, Ricks was a teammate of Kentucky wide receiver Dekel Crowdus in 2019. The two were roommates and that relationship could be enough to pique Ricks’ interest.

The recruitment of Ricks could differ from the last two LSU transfers, but enough previous relationships could be alive to make Kentucky a contender.

First of many targets

Both Cedrick Dort Jr. and Quandre Mosely are expected to move on from the program after this season. Boundary cornerback Carrington Valentine will return for his junior campaign, but after that, the Wildcats have some major questions to answer at cornerback.

So far, Kentucky has three cornerbacks committed with high schoolers Alex Afari and Andre Stewart in the fold with junior college prospect DeCarlos Nicholson. Each could be asked to play as early as next season.

Despite the commitments, Kentucky still needs help at cornerback. Expect Kentucky to target many cornerbacks who enter the portal.

Eli Ricks will be the first, but he won’t be the last.

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