Stoops, Cats Sign Solid 2023 Class
Christmas may not be until Sunday, but Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and the UK football staff got several new presents – in the form of signees – on Wednesday.
The good news actually started on Tuesday when the Cats went into the transfer portal and got the number one quarterback on the board, former N.C. State signal caller Devin Leary. In addition to Leary, the Cats signed five other players out of the portal, including former Vanderbilt running back Ray Davis, former Ohio State defensive back Jantzen Dunn, former Alabama offensive lineman Tanner Bowles, former Northern Illinois offensive lineman Marques Cox and former Cincinnati defensive back J.Q. Hardaway.
Stoops likes his transfer portal class, especially the additions of Leary and Davis.
“Obviously with being able to announce some of it last night, you see the additions of some of the transfers that added to this really strong class,” Stoops said. “With Devin, it brings in a proven guy with a lot of snaps under his belt with the playmakers that we have in place. It’s a really big get for us. Obviously hit some areas of need with offensive line in the transfer portal that was really important for us. The running back gives us another guy that kind of fits our mold of running backs in Ray.”
Then on Wednesday, Stoops and his staff added 16 high school signees to the mix, combining a nice mix of interior lineman and skill players in the 2023 class. The group is led by Montgomery, Alabama, cornerback Avery Stuart, four-star standout for Alabama Christian Academy.
Stoops was pleased with how the class came together, especially in the final weeks.
“If you look at us through this year, some people may have been a little concerned. I really wasn’t,” Stoops said. “We were working hard to try to finish as strong as we could. We don’t always look at that, but if you look at average star ranking, we’re really pretty high, pretty strong, top 20 nationally.”
In total, the Cats signed six four-star recruits, according to Rivals.com. In addition to Stuart, the Cats added tight end Khamari Anderson (Detroit, Mich.), linebacker Grant Godfrey (Suwanee, Ga.), wide receiver Anthony Brown (Springfield, Ohio), offensive lineman Koby Keenum (Florence, Ala.) and wide receiver Shamar Porter (Nashville, Tenn.).
Since his arrival in Lexington, Stoops has made recruiting the state of Kentucky a huge priority, and this year was no different. Leading the class of Kentuckians is the Paul Hornung Award winner, Ty Bryant from Lexington’s Frederick Douglass High School. The Cats also added wide receiver Jakob Dixon from Pleasure Ridge Park, Malachi Wood from Madison Central and Tommy Ziesmer from Boyle County.
For Stoops and the UK staff, Christmas came early with a solid recruiting haul that was completed with Wednesday’s signees.