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Camp Buzz: 2026 QBs come into focus

Adam Luckettby:Adam Luckett06/12/24


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June is a busy recruiting time for the entire college football landscape as coaches and recruiting personnel get ready for official visits and attempt to end recruitments with commitments. We saw Kentucky do that last weekend with Darrin Strey, and they will attempt to do the same this weekend when Bryan Auguste, Demarcus Gardner, Brody Lennon, Andrew Purcell, and Montavin Quisenberry all show up in Lexington for their official visits. But this is also an important time to build relationships with underclassmen.

Most notably, this is a critical window for QB recruiting. Now is the time to get 2026 targets on campus and begin making a push for commitments between now and the springtime. At this time last year, Kentucky was in the process of wrapping up Stone Saunders. New offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan is not working on creating relationships with junior quarterbacks.

Kentucky had a couple on campus on Wednesday for the program’s final one-day camp of the summer.

Cincinnati Moeller QB shines

Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller has been a pipeline school for the Kentucky football program. Brenden Bates, Carrington Valentine, and Josh Kattus all shined for the Crusaders before making the trek down I-75 South to play college football in the SEC. There is another Moeller prospect to watch in the class of 2026.

One day after camping at Cincinnati, junior quarterback Matt Ponatoski camped at Kentucky and was very impressive flashing ball placement, accuracy, touch, and velocity on a plethora of throws at Kroger Field. The unranked recruit had Bush Hamdan’s full attention for most of the camp.

Ponatoski set a Moeller record for single-season passing yards (3,334) as a sophomore and received an offer from Cincinnati following his camp workout with the Bearcats. An offer from Kentucky could be arriving soon. The former Missouri baseball commit has hit 90-plus MPH on his fastball and that velocity showed up on the football field.

This is a name to monitor as Kentucky evaluates the 2026 QB market.

Femi Babalola camps

Two years ago, Brentwood (Tenn.) Ravenwood quarterback Chris Parson camped at Kentucky before his junior season. The next quarterback for the Raptors did the same thing.

Class of 2026 prospect Femi Babalola went through a full throwing workout with Kentucky after camping at Clemson and North Carolina earlier this month. The unranked recruit is a good-looking prospect at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds flashing a big arm in camp setting. Babalola had some struggles with short-to-intermediate accuracy but is a QB worth monitoring as Kentucky builds its 2026 recruiting board.

Preston Bowman performs and receives offer

Pickerington (Ohio) North wide receiver Preston Bowman is currently an unranked 2025 prospect, but that will be changing soon. The wideout was visited by Michigan wide receivers coach Ron Bellamy in May and received an offer from the Wolverines. The three-time defending Big Ten champions are now working on getting an official visit scheduled with Bowman after the prospect camped in Ann Arbor on Monday.

Kentucky entered the chat on Wednesday.

Kentucky re-offered the Ohio receiver at camp. Look for the Wildcats to attempt to get Bowman on campus for an official visit. Could another head-to-head recruiting battle with Michigan be brewing?

In-state linebacker receives Kentucky offer

Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier linebacker Karsten Busch is a fast-rising 2026 prospect. The 6-foot-3 junior competes in the long jump and triple jump for the track team on Poplar Level Road and also has the attention of the Power Five coaching staffs in the Bluegrass.

Busch received an offer from Louisville following a camp visit. The same thing happened in Lexington on Wednesday.

Busch is a young prospect with sized and strong athletic testing numbers. The 2026 recruit appears to have a high ceiling. Kentucky is getting involved after seeing the prospect in camp.

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