Recruiting battle between Kentucky, Louisville continues for in-state OL Isaac Sowells

On3 imageby:Zack Geoghegan11/28/23


Louisville (KY) Male offensive lineman Isaac Sowells Jr. is being heavily recruited by both of the state’s premier athletic colleges. The Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals have been in regular contact with the 6-foot-2, 290-pound three-star prospect from the class of 2025 since the spring. Louisville was his first Power 5 scholarship offer while Kentucky was his second.

Sowells has visited both schools multiple times since then. In fact, he was at L&N Stadium on Saturday to watch Kentucky beat Louisville 38-31 in the Governor’s Cup, the fifth straight win of this series for the ‘Cats.

Although he was technically there to check out Louisville (his second gameday visit of the season with the Cards), he didn’t quite feel comfortable picking a team to cheer for. Instead, he sat back and enjoyed one of the more thrilling football games of the whole weekend.

“It was a great game,” Sowells told KSR on Monday. “I was there on a Louisville visit but I’m being recruited by both schools so it’s kinda hard to pick a side. I don’t want to say nothing that’s like — I can say Kentucky had a great game but I was there on a Louisville visit so it’s kinda split both ways, but it was a really great game.”

Sowells’ recruitment remains wide-open, although he added that UL is in his ear the most as of right now, primarily offensive line coach Richard Owens. UK’s associate head coach Vince Marrow has been Sowells’ lead recruiter.

“I’d say Louisville a little bit more since they’re of course my hometown, Lexington is a little bit farther down,” Sowells said. “I’m closer to them so it’s a little bit more communication but I’d say they’re both doing good recruiting me.”

Kentucky and Louisville aren’t the only two schools reaching out either. The high school junior has several Power 5 offers under his belt. Sowells says that NC State, West Virginia, and South Carolina are other programs he hears from consistently. All three have offered him, as have the likes of Wake Forest, Virginia, and Duke. He was even in Columbia earlier this month for a gameday visit to South Carolina, coincidentally to watch the Gamecocks beat Kentucky 17-14 on Nov. 18.

As we reported in September after Sowells visited Kentucky for the first time in the 2023 season, he intends to early enroll at whichever school he chooses. Now that his junior year of football is in the books (Male lost to Frederick Douglass in the Class 6A third round), his focus will turn to official visits, which he expects to begin taking in the spring and into the summer of next year.

Sowells mostly suited up as a right tackle for Male in 2023 out of necessity, but he’s being recruited as a center and plans to play more of that role again as a senior. He is considered the No. 671 overall prospect and No. 61 interior offensive lineman in the ’25 class by the On3 Industry Ranking.

The ‘Stoops-to-Texas A&M’ rumors

Like most recruits (and anyone who follows college football, really), Sowells was well aware of the rumblings that linked Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops to the Texas A&M head coaching job, which gained real traction hours after UK beat Louisville on Saturday. Sowells was relieved when news eventually broke that Stoops would remain in Lexington.

“I did, I saw it. Not from a recruit standpoint, but if you’re just a random Twitter person, the Aggie fans and stuff were I guess very hostile,” He said. “I truly don’t know what the situation was but I did see it circulate that Stoops could be leaving Kentucky. And I was sitting there like ‘Oh shoot, is Stoops really gonna be leaving Kentucky?’ It had me worried for a little bit.”

There’s no telling what would or wouldn’t have happened had Stoops ultimately gone to Texas A&M, but Sowells still has other reasons to like Kentucky.

“The fans. The fans are really great. I love the fans,” Sowells added. “I’ve got to talk to some of the players before. Barion Brown, Dane Key. I haven’t gotten to meet any of the offensive linemen yet but the atmosphere just seems great.”

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