UK coach Mark Stoops reviews 2018 spring game
Jon Hale/Courier Journal
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky football staff has found a quarterback for its 2019 recruiting class.
Three-star Florida prep quarterback Nik Scalzo committed to UK Monday over reported offers from Illinois, Tulane, Akron, Buffalo, Cornell, Kent State and others. He announced the commitment via his personal Twitter account.
UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow said this spring the staff planned to slow play its pursuit of a quarterback for the 2019 class after losing early quarterback commitments to other programs late in the last two cycles, but the staff has been pursing Scalzo for some time. UK quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw recently visited Scalzo at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Scalzo took an unofficial visit to UK’s campus for the spring game in April.
The 247Sports Composite, which averages the recruiting rankings of the three major services, ranks Scalzo as the No. 16 dual-threat quarterback in the country, but does not include him among the top 100 prospects in Florida’s 2019 class.
While Scalzo, who is listed at 5-foot-11 on his Rivals.com profile, boasts just one other Power 5 conference offer, identifying under-the-radar quarterback prospects before traditional powers has been a strength in recent years. UK offered quarterbacks Mac Jones (2017) and Jarren Williams (2018) as three-star prospects and secured their verbal commitments only to see their stocks soar in the summer before their senior seasons. Jones eventually signed with Alabama and Williams signed with Miami.
“It still comes down to Coach (Eddie) Gran and Coach (Mark) Stoops when we look and say, ‘All right, this is the guy we’re going after,’” Marrow said during spring practice. “…Do we take a commitment that early from a guy? Talking to Coach Gran and those guys, I don’t think we do that right now. We want to make sure the guy is zeroed in on what we want to do. We have to really make sure the next quarterback we take is totally solid and we feel good about his commitment.”
Scalzo is the fifth commitment in UK’s 2019 class, which is currently headlined by four-star Ohio prep safety Moses Douglass. He is UK’s second commitment in the last two days.
South Carolina prep defensive back Jalen Geiger committed to UK Sunday shortly after the Wildcats lost four-star defensive back pledge Keontra Smith to Miami.