BOZICH | Who replaced Hatcher as Kentucky's top Class of 2013 recruit?
Former Trinity star Jason Hatcher was billed as the top catch in Kentucky's 2013 football recruiting class. That's no longer the case as the UK season reaches the final regular season game.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I've said it before, but I’ll say it again because it should be said as many times as possible:
The best time to evaluate a college football recruiting class is not on national signing day. It’s on Senior Day -- or the last game of the regular season.
Kentucky staged its Senior Day last Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. The Wildcats will try to disrupt the fun at Louisville's Senior Day Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
For a class that Mark Stoops collected quickly in his first recruiting effort after arriving from Florida State, this Class of 2013 has been solid for the Wildcats as a mixture of high school and junior college players.
Of the 24, only six left the program before completing all of their eligibility. As many as eight of these guys are projected to start against the Cardinals in addition to kicker Austin MacGinnis.
The players are listed in the order they were ranked in the 247Sports Class of 2013 recruiting rankings. I have re-ranked them according to their production and how long they stayed with the program.
Here is the rundown.
1. Jason Hatcher, defensive end, ranked 181st nationally, 4 stars -- The former Trinity star was considered the big catch after he de-committed from USC. Hatcher played three uneven seasons in Lexington. In 2016, he ranked 10th in tackles for a 7-4 West Georgia team, the FCS program that welcomed him after he was dismissed from Kentucky. Revised ranking: 20th.
2. Marcus McWilson, defensive back, No. 279, 4 stars -- Has contributed 53 tackles and an interception while starting two of 11 games. Has four picks and 15 starts in his career. Revised ranking: 6th.
3. Za'Darius Smith, defensive end, No. 17 (JuCo), 4 stars -- Backup linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, who is credited with 17 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. Made things happen at UK. The only sure pro on the list. Revised ranking: 1st.
4. Alvonte Bell, defensive line, No. 379, 3 stars -- Reserve defensive lineman has 20 tackles in 10 games. Revised ranking: 14th.
5. Ryan Timmons, receiver, No. 517, 3 stars -- Solid but not spectacular four-year player who ranks third on the team with 16 receptions. Credited with 20 starts in 47 games. Revised ranking: 8th.
6. Javess Blue, receiver, No. 48 (JuCo) -- Caught 72 passes for nine touchdowns during the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the Wildcats. Revised ranking: 11th.
7. Nate Willis, defensive back, No. 54 (JuCo) -- Played in 20 games during the 2013-14 seasons, contributing one interception and 58 tackles. Revised ranking: 12th.
8. Kyle Meadows, offensive tackle, No. 567, 3 stars -- Started the last 20 games at right tackle as one of the leaders of a unit that enabled UK to build a dependable ground game. Revised ranking: 3rd.
9. Jojo Kemp, halfback, No. 611, 3 stars -- Solid four-year contributor who has scored six touchdowns in only 57 carries in back-up role to Boom Williams and Benny Snell. Revised ranking: 7th.
10. Khalid Thomas, athlete, No. 612, 3 stars -- Led FCS program Alabama State in rushing with 951 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. Revised ranking: 22nd.
11 Jacob Hyde, defensive tackle, No. 710, 3 stars -- Backup defensive lineman credited with one tackle in 10 games. Revised ranking: 16th.
12. Jaleel Hytchye, defensive back, No. 743, 3 stars -- Transferred to Georgia State after the 2014 season but is not longer listed on the Georgia State roster. Revised ranking: 23rd.
13. Jeff Badet, receiver, No. 895, 3 stars -- Leads the Wildcats in receiving yards with 587 and also averages more than 22 yards per kickoff return. Revised ranking: 2nd.
14. Ramsey Meyers, offensive line, unranked, 3 stars -- After starting 28 games, Meyers remains a backup at right guard on a solid offensive line. Revised ranking: 15th
15. Alex Montgomery, receiver, unranked, 3 stars -- Has not played this season while recovering from multiple significant knee injuries. Mark Stoops has invited him to remain with the program as a student assistant. Revised ranking: 18th.
16. Austin MacGinnis, kicker, unranked, 3 stars -- Leads the Wildcats in scoring with 77 points while converting 13 of 16 field goals, including the game-winner against Mississippi State. Revised ranking: 4th.
17. Blake McClain, defensive back, unranked, 3 stars -- Ranks fourth on the team in tackles with 56 while also intercepting a pair of passes. Revised ranking: 5th
18. Regie Meant, defensive line, unranked, 3 stars -- Expected starter on the defensive line left the team for personal reasons before the season. Revised ranking: 13th.
19. Nick Haynes, offensive line, unranked, 3 stars -- Moved into the starting spot at left offensive guard for the season opener and has remained there all season. Revised ranking: 9th.
20. Reese Phillips, quarterback, unranked, 3 stars -- Transferred to the University of Montana but is sitting out this season. Revised ranking: 21st.
21. Justin Day, offensive line, unranked, 3 stars -- Former offensive lineman finishing his second season at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. Revised ranking: 24th.
22. Steven Borden, tight end, No. 326 (JuCo), 2 stars -- Caught seven passes during the 2013 and 2014 as a tight end. Revised ranking: 17th.
23. Melvin Lewis, defensive line, unranked, no stars -- Waived by the New York Giants last July after two solid seasons with the Wildcats that ended prematurely when he suffered a broken leg. Revised ranking: 10th.
24. Tanner Fink, tight end, unranked, no stars -- Former walk-on from North Oldham earned a scholarship this season as a reserve fullback/tight end. Revised ranking: 19th.
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