LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops announced one addition Wednesday to the 21 players who had already signed with Kentucky in December.
M.J. Devonshire is a 5-foot-11-inch cornerback from Aliquippa, Penn. He's rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals and chose UK over Pittsburgh, Penn State and Ohio State. Devonshire also played offense and returned kicks, scoring 24 touchdowns, including nine of 50 yards or more.
The 21 early signees for the Cats included four from the Louisville area: Tae Tae Crumes, a wide receiver from Butler High School, Ballard linebacker Jared Casey, Doss linebacker Shawn'Kel Knight-Goff and linebacker J.J. Weaver from Moore.
"As our expectations increase, so does the level of the talent of the guys that we're going after," Stoops said. "And that doesn't necessarily always mean that it's by how many stars they have. It's by the quality of what we think they could do and how they could help us. Obviously, we want to continue to elevate the talent and get the right guys here in place, and we feel like we can be more selective now and get the right guys that fit what we're trying to do."
The Wildcats have maintained or improved their record in each of the previous six seasons under Stoops, culminating in last year's 10-3 record and Citrus Bowl win over Penn State. Stoops knows that will be hard to top, but that's the goal.
"It's always difficult to maintain any amount of success that you've had," Stoops said. "If you look at it, there's a reason. And one of the things I am proud about of our players and our coaches is that we've never taken a step back, and nobody else can say that at the Division I level. There's no team that hasn't gone back in the last six years except us.
"So that's not easy to do. We all know how difficult it'll be to take it to another level, but that's our plan. That's what we're trying to do, to take it to another level. Nobody goes backward. You look at this league, you look at the coaching, you look at the recruiting, and you just take a look around, and it can overwhelm you if you let it. And that's why we don't. That's why we worry about ourselves and what we're doing in there and how we're working in our building and attacking each and every day like I mentioned the first day I was on campus, and that's what we're going to continue to do."
Stoops said hearing several Kentucky names pretty high in this year's NFL Draft should have a positive impact on future recruiting classes.
"I don't think it hurts," he said. "I definitely don't think it hurts, that's for sure. I would imagine since the NFL cut from the number of rounds, I would assume this would be a record for us as far as number of guys taken in one draft. So that certainly doesn't hurt."
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