LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mark Stoops has had higher-rated signing classes than the UK football program has ever seen. But he considers this 4th class his best.
"I believe so," said Stoops. "I feel that way. I don't know where the numbers stack up. I don't really care. From my point of view, absolutely top to bottom, I feel like it's the most solid group. I feel like there's elite talent in this group and I feel like there's great glue, there's great players, great program guys. There's guys that you can develop, guys you that can play right away, there's impact guys, there's guys that can change the scoreboard, guys that can get difficult yards in the run game, the big uglies you want. I think there's a nice combination of guys in this group, I definitely do."
It's a class of 25 that includes five Junior-College transfers and five players from the state of Kentucky. Stoops considered keeping the locals in the Commonwealth to be key.
"Definitely the most important thing is to get the local guys," said Stoops. "We are blessed to have some great talent in state this year. We are blessed to have some guys very close to home here. I thought those guys were critical. Everybody talks about the three guys that were in the U.S. All-American game. Those guys represented us the right way. They're great players. Again, they're great leaders, with Kash (Daniel) and Drake (Jackson) being nominated captains says a lot."
Of course, Landon (Young) arguably was one of the best players there, certainly one of the top offensive linemen. It was great with those guys in how they represented us at the All-American game. A guy that goes unnoticed in that group is Davonte (Robinson). Being right down the road here. He was arguably as important of a guy in this class as anybody we got. Him and Jordan Griffin, I think it's so important to get those corners, those talented guys. Everybody comes after them and battles for those corners till the very last second."
Here's a look at the entire class:
2016 KENTUCKY FOOTBALL SIGNEES
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl.-Exp. Hometown (High School/Previous College)
Jordan Bonner LB 6-5 220 So.-JC Lyndhurst, Ohio (Brush/
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College)
Jaylin Bannerman LB 6-5 220 Fr.-HS Pickerington, Ohio (Pickerington Central)
T.J. Carter DE 6-4 245 Fr.-HS Mableton, Ga. (Whitefield Academy)
Ja’Quize Cross DL 6-3 315 Fr.-HS New Market, Ala. (Buckhorn)
Kash Daniel* LB 6-1 235 Fr.-HS Paintsville, Ky. (Paintsville)
Luke Fortner OT 6-6 305 Fr.-HS Sylvania, Ohio (Sylvania Northview)
Tobias Gilliam DB 5-11 190 Fr.-HS Dayton, Ohio (Wayne)
Jordan Griffin DB 6-0 175 Fr.-HS Jonesboro, Ga. (Jonesboro)
Gunnar Hoak* QB 6-4 190 Fr.-HS Dublin, Ohio (Dublin Coffman)
Dakota Holtzclaw* WR 6-7 215 Fr.-HS Columbus, Ohio (Worthington Kilbourne)
Zy’Aire Hughes Athlete 6-1 190 Fr.-HS Paducah, Ky. (McCracken County)
Drake Jackson* C 6-2 302 Fr.-HS Versailles, Ky. (Woodford County)
Stephen Johnson II* QB 6-3 190 Jr.-JC Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
(Los Osos/Grambling/College of the Desert)
Tate Leavitt* OT 6-6 310 Jr.-JC Thornville, Ohio (Sheridan/Hutchinson CC)
Kordell Looney DT 6-3 285 Fr.-HS Springfield, Ohio (Springfield)
Grant McKinniss P 6-1 210 Fr.-HS Findlay, Ohio (Findlay)
Naquez Pringle* DL 6-2 330 Jr.-JC Georgetown, S.C. (Carvers Bay/Itawamba CC)
Justin Rigg TE 6-6 245 Fr.-HS Springboro, Ohio (Springboro)
Davonte Robinson CB 6-2 180 Fr.-HS Lexington, Ky. (Henry Clay)
Asim "A.J." Rose RB 6-1 200 Fr.-HS Cleveland, Ohio (Garfield Heights)
Kayaune Ross WR 6-6 225 So.-JC West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West/
Benny Snell RB 5-11 220 Fr.-HS Westerville, Ohio (Westerville Central)
Roland Walder LB 6-3 215 Fr.-HS Dayton, Ohio (Trotwood-Madison)
Jamar Watson LB 6-3 225 Fr.-HS Forestville, Md. (Bishop McNamara)
Landon Young OL 6-7 305 Fr.-HS Lexington, Ky. (Lafayette)
* indicates player who enrolled in January and will participate in spring practice
Note: Class is eligibility for the 2016 season
Ja’Quize Cross........................... ja-QUEZ
Tobias Gilliam............................. GILL-ee-um
Kayaune Ross............................ KAY-waun
Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.