[caption id="attachment_276370" align="alignnone" width="1794"] (UK Athletics)
August is here and that means it's time to talk about actual football. No more guesses, predictions, or other offseason fodder. We are now just weeks from toe meeting leather at Kroger Field on Labor Day weekend. The best time of the year is quickly approaching.
However, recruiting never sleeps.
On Sunday, Kentucky saw its 2022 class slip down to 11 verbal commitments when high three-star cornerback Jeremiah Caldwell
decided to back off his commitment and re-open his recruitment. Things are brewing for everyone in college football and there are a ton of major storylines developing. To help keep everyone up to speed, KSR has come up with a recruiting cheat sheet for reader consumption.
Here is the college football recruiting buzz that Big Blue Nation needs to know heading into the 2021 season.
Kentucky's star caliber
The Wildcats have hit a bit of a wall on the recruiting trail. Kentucky just lost Caldwell while four-star offensive tackle Ryan Baer seems to be trending towards Pittsburgh with an announcement coming on Thursday. Still, this is a class that is in great shape.
Kentucky currently has 11 pledges in the class of 2022, but only two players -- tight end Josh Kattus and placekicker Jackson Smith -- would not be considered a high three-star or above. Kiyaunta Goodwin just debuted at No. 16 overall in the first rankings released by On3
making the offensive tackle a five-star prospect. Meanwhile, both WR/DB Treveyon Longmire and edge Keaten Wade are both top-300 prospects according to On3. Destin Wade and Grant Bingham are considered blue-chippers in the 247 Sports Composite
while Alex Afari, Andre Stewart, Nikolas Hall, and Jordan Anthony are all high three-star prospects.
This high-value collection of talent has Kentucky on pace for class that could compete for top-20 status in average star rating. There is some ground to make up, but the coaching staff is currently swimming in the right waters and adding quality players.
Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri are making noise
Speaking of quality, Eliah Drinkwitz is making some major waves while building his second full recruiting class at Missouri. Deshawn Woods was a top-150 recruiting win out of Omaha, Neb., while Sam Horn gave the Tigers a blue-chip QB recruiting win in Metro Atlanta.
The Tigers currently have 12 verbal commitments with a blue-chip ratio approaching 50 percent. Meanwhile, Mizzou flipped high three-star cornerback Marcus Scott II from LSU while being able to make some major noise in-state. Drinkwitz has this class on a top-15 pace and should safely finish in the top-25.
Recruiting like this in the SEC was something that neither Gary Pinkel nor Barry Odom could accomplish. Drinkwitz has raised the recruiting ceiling in Columbia and this will be something to monitor moving forward.
Clark Lea is raising the ceiling
The Commodores currently have 19 verbal commitments in the class of 2022 as the new coaching staff on the West End is looking to get the majority of recruiting work done before a rough year zero begins at Vanderbilt. Nearly all of the pledges for the Commodores would be considered mid to low three-star prospects but that is just fine.
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(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)[/caption]
This will always be a developmental program that will have to recruit differently than the rest of the SEC. The new staff has shown some recruiting chops flipping four-star edge Darren Agu from Notre Dame and successfully recruiting high three-star linebacker Langston Patterson from their own backyard. This is a class that will likely finish in the high 40s or low 50s nationally in average star rating but that is a step forward for Vanderbilt football.
Historical recruiting success at Indiana
The Hoosiers are fresh off their best season in program history. Tom Allen led his team to a 6-1 record in Big Ten play with a top-15 finish in the AP poll. This is a team that returns a lot in 2021 and Indiana will find itself in the preseason top 25 later this month.
This momentum is paying off
on the recruiting trail. Hiring Kansas City Chiefs assistant DeLand McCullough to coach running backs in Bloomington has proven to be a coup as IU has made major moves in recruiting. McCullough and the coaching staff were able to flip his son, Dasan, from Ohio State and the hybrid defensive prospect highlights this class.
Indiana currently has 14 verbal commitments with a handful of blue-chip prospects and a few high three stars. Allen is on his way to building a top-25 class in the Big Ten for a program that consistently recruits in the 50s yearly. This is a big deal for Indiana football.
Greg Schiano is good at his job
When Owensboro (Ky.) High quarterback Gavin Wimsatt pledged to Rutgers, a lot of people were surprised. The Scarlet Knights have been a Big Ten East doormat since joining the league. However, Greg Schiano made his return to Jersey last year and is making big moves.
Rutgers has 15 verbal commitments in the class of 2020 and is recruiting the state of New Jersey very well. The Scarlet Knights have a legit shot at collecting a top-25 class and this type of recruiting will give them a chance to consistently win in a tough division.
Meanwhile, Tennessee is on pace to finish outside the top-25 in the class of 2022. Yeah, Jeremy Pruitt over Schiano was a mistake.
-- Auburn has just eight verbal commits so far with zero top-100 prospects. This has not been a good start for Bryan Harsin on the Plains.
-- Both Florida and Michigan have national championship expectations, but neither is close to recruiting at that level. The Gators and Wolverines are both trending to finish outside the top-10 in recruiting. This is not a good development for either Jim Harbaugh or Dan Mullen.
-- Miami just has eight commitments to this point with only one player from South Florida. Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes need to gain some positive momentum quickly.
-- Louisville has pulled off a couple of big recruiting wins headlined by Louisiana wide receiver Zavion Thomas who is currently a top-200 prospect. However, the Cardinals are on the verge of adding zero in-star high school prospects for the second class in a row. This feels like a major recruiting no-no.