Last week sure was a busy one for the Kentucky Football coaching staff, as upwards of 45 identifiable offers were extended across the eastern half of the United State to various high schoolers, ranging from juniors to freshmen. This is the time of the year when coaching staffs across the country are evaluating the next batch of recruits and offers are being handed out like candy. The most recent recruiting classes are all but finalized for most programs and it’s time to start looking ahead.
Kentucky hasn’t missed out on any of the action, gifting another few dozen more scholarships this past week. As we did last week, let’s break them down with some notes on the need-to-know names. Star rankings are courtesy of the On3 Consensus.
Class of 2023
Samson Okunlola, OT: 6-5, 295 pounds – Brockton, MA (high-level 4-star)
- Easily the biggest name to earn an offer from Kentucky this past week is Samson Okunlola, who is considered the No. 54 player in his class, per the On3 Consensus. He’s the top player from the state of Massachusetts, where the UK staff has been before but not all that often; Okunlola is one of two Massachusetts players to pick up Kentucky offers this past week, which came on Jan. 25 from wide receivers coach Scott Woodward. UK also spent plenty of time in nearby New Jersey, a state that the staff is really trying to break into, which we’ll talk about a bit more down below. But back to Okunlola, he’s already loaded up on offers from the likes of Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M, Southern California, and plenty others.
Rico Walker, EDGE: 6-3, 235 pounds – Hickory, NC (mid-level 4-star)
- Considered a top five player from the state of North Carolina, Rico Walker recieved his UK offer from running backs coach John Settle on Jan. 25. Walker already holds offer from the likes of Clemson, Miami (FL), Michigan State, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and plenty others. In-state programs North Carolina and NC State are also after him heavily.
Tyler Williams, WR: 6-3, 180 pounds – Lakeland, FL (mid-level 4-star)
- Picking up his Kentucky offer from defensive backs coach Chris Collins on Jan. 25, Tyler Williams is a highly sought-after pass catcher. His offer sheet includes the likes of Oregon, Florida, Cincinnati, Penn State, Michigan, and several other Power 5 programs. His recruitment didn’t truly begin to pick up until this past summer though, so Kentucky should have an opportunity to make its pitch.
Stephiylan Green, DL: 6-4, 265 pounds – Rome, GA (low-level 4-star)
- One of two Rome High School (GA) juniors to pick up an offer from UK defensive line coach Anwar Stewart on Jan. 25 was Stephiylan Green, a top-ranked defensive lineman garnering plenty of interest. He’s already been offered by schools such as Georgia, Miami (FL), Texas, Tennessee, and a few other Power 5 spots. Additionally, Green is coming off recent visits to Georgia and Tennessee.
Stanton Ramil, OT: 6-7, 290 pounds – Alabaster, AL (high-level 3-star)
- An offensive lineman prospect that will likely be of high interest to Kentucky moving forward is Stanton Ramil, who received his UK offer on Jan. 26 from offensive line coach Eric Wolford. Ramil holds offers from the likes of Nebraska, West Virginia, Michigan State, and Pittsburgh along with a few other mid-level Divison I programs. Most notably, the ‘Cats were his first SEC offer.
Will Randle, TE: 6-4, 220 pounds – New Orleans, LA (high-level 3-star)
- Teammates with five-star QB prospect Arch Manning at Isidore Newman (LA), Will Randle picked up his Kentucky offer on Jan. 25 after head coach Mark Stoops made an in-school visit. Randle isn’t considered an elite-level tight end by recruiting services, but his offer sheet tells a different story; he holds scholarships from big name-schools such as Alabama, Texas, and LSU. Randle and Manning are believed to be close friends.
Bryce Thornton, CB: 5-10, 185 pounds – Alpharetta, GA (mid-level 3-star)
- On Jan. 28, Coach Stewart went down to the familiar territory of Alpharetta, GA, where he offered three Milton HS prospects. We’ll start with Bryce Thornton, who has hauled in offers from the likes of Texas, Oregon, Louisville, East Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Miami (FL) all since 2022 began. Thornton previously picked up offers from Michigan State, Coastal Carolina, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and a few others. His father, Bruce Thornton, was a running back at Georgia in the early 1990s and an eventual 4th round NFL Draft pick. His older brother is a 4-star Ohio State class of 2022 point guard commit, who also goes by the name Bruce Thornton.
Breeon Ishmail, WR: 6-5, 200 pounds – Hamilton, OH (mid-level 3-star)
- Kentucky is no stranger to recruiting the Hamilton, OH area and went there once again on Jan. 27 to offer Breeon Ishmail. The 6-foot-5 pass-catcher now holds offers from the lkes of Akron, Purdue, Louisville, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia. At 6-foot-5, he’ll be one to keep an eye on moving forward.
Robert Billings, S: 6-1, 185 pounds – Alpharetta, GA (mid-level 3-star)
- The second of three Milton players offered by Coach Stewart on Jan. 28 was Robert Billings, who holds a crowded offer sheet that includes schools such as Georgia, Cincinnati, Oregon, Florida State, Ole Miss, and plenty others. Another subplot to Stewart going down to Milton is the drifting relationship between the staff and five-star DL Lebbeus Overton, who is a class of 2023 recruit at Milton. One would have to think that Stewart met with Overton while on the trip.
William Watson III, QB: 6-1, 175 pounds – Springfield, MA (mid-level 3-star)
- The lone quarterback on this list is William Watson III, who earned his UK offer on Jan. 21 from Coach Woodward and offensive coordinator Liam Coen. Watson also holds scholarships from the likes of Nebraska and UConn (which came after Kentucky) along with Michigan, Pittsburgh, Oregon, and Tennessee (which came before Kentucky). Considering Watson is from the state of Massachusetts, Coen will surely have his fingers all over this recruitment.
Martel Hight Jr., WR: 5-11, 160 pounds – Rome, GA (unranked)
- The second Rome HS prospect offered by Coach Stewart is Martel Hight Jr., who is the less-heralded of the two teammates. That being said, he’s likely a more relastic recruit for the ‘Cats. Including UK, Hight now holds four Divison I offers: Florida, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest. The Gators got in on the action first, but with his recruitment still in the early stages, the ‘Cats will have the opportunity to get seriously involved.
Joshua Fussell, CB: 6-0, 180 pounds – West Chester, OH (unranked)
- Lakota West High School is no stranger to the University of Kentucky and associate head coach Vince Marrow appears focused on continuing that trend. Marrow went out and offered a handful of Lakota West kids this past week, highlighted by Joshua Fussell on Jan. 26. Fussell is unranked as of right now, but holds offers from the likes of Georgia Tech, Nevada, Miami (OH), and a couple of others while taking fall visits to Cincinnati and Ohio State.
Connor Knight, DL: 6-3, 275 pounds – Pinson, AL (unranked)
- Much like the Lakota West program, the city of Pinson, AL was raided by the UK staff this past week. Connor Knight was the biggest name of the four local Pinson recruits who picked up an offer from Kentucky, which came from Coach Wolford on Jan. 27. Knight, who plays for Pinson Valley HS, also holds offers from the likes of Miami (FL) and Oregon State, but no other Power 5 offers outside of those two and UK.
Andrew Rumph, DL: 6-5, 250 pounds – Palmetto, FL (unranked)
- Andrew Rumph caught the eye of Kentucky’s new linebackers coach Mike Stoops, who offered the high school junior on Jan. 27. Rumph also holds scholarships from FAU, Indiana, Miami (FL), and USF. The local schools are all after him early on, but the new Stoops brother will have an opportunity to make an impression as a fresh recruiter.
Nathan Leacock, WR: 6-4, 185 pounds – Raleigh, NC (unranked)
Cameron Griffin, DT: 6-4, 290 pounds – Pinson, AL (unranked)
Logan Howland, ATH: 6-7, 250 pounds – Princeton, NJ (unranked)
Jalon Kilgore, CB: 5-11, 175 pounds – Eatonton, GA (unranked)
Class of 2024
Luke Hamilton, OT: 6-5, 290 pounds – Avon, OH (unranked)
- The recruitment of Luke Hamilton has seen a quick jolt in attention since 2022 began. His offer from Kentucky’s defensive backs coach Frank Buffano came on Jan. 24, his third from a DI school. He previously earned offers from Penn State and Toledo while recently picking up offers from Iowa State and Bowling Green State. Hamilton will be a name to keep an eye on moving forward.
Ben Roebuck, OT: 6-7, 320 pounds – Lakewood, OH (unranked)
- Another mammoth offensive lineman is Ben Roebuck, who clocks in at an intimidating 6-foot-7, 320 pounds. He’s already a high-profile recruit as a sophomore, too. Roebuck took visits to Cincinnati and Ohio State this past fall and holds offers from the likes of Penn State, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia, and a few others. Kentucky and Coach Buffano extended him an offer on Jan. 24.
Kavion Henderson, EDGE: 6-3, 235 pounds – Leeds, AL (unranked)
- Receiving an offer from UK on Jan. 25 courtesy of Coach Collins, Kavion Henderson also holds scholarships from schools such as Indiana, Arizona State, Arkansas, Oregon, Mississippi State, and Coastal Carolina, which all came since 2022 began. Back in 2021, Henderson picked up offers from the likes of Tennessee, Michigan State, Michigan, Georgia, and Louisville while also hearing from Alabama.
Mario Craver, ATH: 5-11, 160 pounds – Pinson, AL (unranked)
- One of two sophomore Clay-Chalkville HS recruits we’ll talk about is Mario Craver, who earned his UK offer on Jan. 26. He has since picked up offers from Texas A&M and UCF while previously receiving scholarships from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisville, and Mississippi State. Craver is another prospect who has seen his stock explode since the start of 2022.
Jaylen Mbakwe, ATH: 5-11, 170 pounds – Pinson, AL (unranked)
- Joining Craver as the second Clay-Chalkville player to receive a Kentucky offer is Jaylen Mbakwe, which came at the same time as Craver’s scholarship. The two budding stars share a lot of the same school interest, including Alabama, Auburn, MSU, Arkansas, and Louisville. Additional programs such as Georgia, Florida State, and Ole Miss have also jumped on board for Mbakwe.
Debron Gatling, WR: 5-11, 180 pounds – Alpharetta, GA (unranked)
Daniel Calhoun, OT: 6-5, 330 pounds – Roswell, GA (unranked)
TJ Engleman, ATH: 5-8, 170 pounds – Cincinnati, OH (unranked)
Zachary Aamland, OT: 6-6, 285 pounds – Princeton, NJ (unranked)
Jordan Thomas, DL: 6-6, 270 pounds – Ramsey, NJ (unranked)
Guerby Lambert, OT: 6-7, 280 pounds – West Roxbury, MA (unranked)
Quinton Price, CB: 6-3, 175 pounds – Cincinnati, OH (unranked)
Taebron Bennie-Powell, ATH: 6-1 – West Chester, OH (unranked)
Darius Wiley, DE: 6-6, 225 pounds – Radcliff, KY (unranked)
Class of 2025
Anthony Sacca, S: 6-2, 195 pounds – Philadelphia, PA
- Earning his Kentucky offer from Coach Woodward on Jan. 27, Anthony Sacca has heard from several schools to start 2022. Nebraska, Maryland, Miami (FL), UConn, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh have all offered since Jan. 21. Ohio State offered back in December, too, as did Penn State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
Kamar Archie, LB: 6-1, 195 pounds – Trenton, NJ
- Kamar Archie is a highly impressie freshman who hauled in his UK offer from Coach Woodward on Jan. 26. You might notice that Archie is a New Jersey product, attending the Hun School up in Princeton. He’s one of four New Jersey products that Woodward went out and offered this past week. Archie already holds offers from the likes of Nebraska, Duke, Syracuse, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Penn State, and a few others.
Luka Gilbert, TE: 6-7, 250 pounds – West Chester, OH
- Another Lakota West product, Luka Gilbert might be the most enticing of them all as a 6-foot-7, 250-pound tight end. Marrow, of course, was the one who offered, which was Gilbert’s first Division I scholarship for football. Not much is known about him yet, but we do know he doubles as a basketball player and that Marrow likes what he sees.
Jakaleb Faulk, EDGE: 6-2, 200 pounds – Highland Home, AL