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Why Martels Carter is massive recruiting target for Kentucky

Adam Luckettby:Adam Luckett05/24/24


Clemson, Oregon, & Kentucky Battle for the #1 Player in Kentucky | Martels Carter Talks Recruitment

Paducah (Ky.) Tilghman safety Martels Carter will commit on Saturday ending what has been a hectic spring recruitment. In the end, Auburn and Kentucky emerged as the two major players. All indications are that the Wildcats are slight favorites heading into the announcement.

Martels Carter could become the second top-200 prospect to claim a spot in Kentucky’s 2025 recruiting class joining Cleveland (Ohio) Heights tailback Marquise Davis. The Wildcats have only inked more than two top-200 recruits once (2022) during the Mark Stoops era.

The in-state prospect is a significant recruit for Kentucky in the 2025 cycle. Why? Let’s dive into why right now.

The hit rate is strong on top-250 prospects

Kentucky has inked 13 top-250 defensive recruits in the Mark Stoops era. Cam Dooley, Terhyon Nichols, Brian Robinson, and Jerod Smith II are each entering their first season on campus. Everyone else has found a starting role, and a few players have become household names.

Josh Paschal earned All-SEC honors before becoming a second-round draft pick. Trevin Wallace developed into a third-round draft pick. Tyrell Ajian and Alex Afari Jr. were both multi-year starters. Marquan McCall and Justin Rogers each played big roles at zero technique. Keaten Wade was a starter as a true sophomore before leaving the program via the transfer portal. Jason Hatcher played 300-plus snaps in his last two seasons at Kentucky. Tyreese Fearbry is a prime candidate for a breakthrough season as a redshirt sophomore in 2024.

Martels Carter would give Kentucky another safe bet to turn into a starter and give the defense a fifth top-250 prospect on the roster in two recruiting classes.

Protecting home turf

In the 2018 high school recruiting class, Kentucky signed zero in-state prospects. In 2019, we saw top-five players Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska), Stephen Herron (Stanford), Jacob Lacey (Notre Dame), Milton Wright (Purdue), and Bryan Hudson (Virginia Tech). However, the Cats have turned up the heat since that class.

Over the last five recruiting cycles, Kentucky has signed 25 in-state prospects, and that number jumps to 26 if you include Kiyaunta Goodwin who played high school football in Southern Indiana. In the 2024 cycle, the Wildcats inked the top five highest-ranked players in the Bluegrass. Jager Burton, Dane Key, and Jerod Smith II were top-ranked players in the state to sign with Kentucky.

Martels Carter could become the next.

Kentucky is scheduled to get Javeon Campbell and Isaac “Spike” Sowells Jr. on campus for the June 7-9 official visits weekend with summer decisions expected in each recruitment. A commitment from Carter could begin an in-state commitment spree.

With Vince Marrow leading the charge, Kentucky has been doing a great job keeping the top players in Kentucky at home to play college football. Carter would give the Wildcats another top-flight in-state talent continuing a strong recruiting run in the Bluegrass.

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