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Ohio WR Derek Kief has UK No. 3 behind Alabama and Ohio State but coach says Wildcats have legitimate chance

uk footballBy LARRY VAUGHT

Since Ohio receiver Derek Kief is considered one of the nation’s best high school receivers, it’s no surprise that he has Ohio State and Alabama — in no certain order — as his top two schools. However, he has a surprise at No. 3 — Kentucky.

“I would say Kentucky is No. 3, but he had definite interest in Kentucky,” said Cincinnati Lasalle High School coach Tom Grippa. “He is 6-5 and runs a 4.5 (second) 40 (yard dash). He is a great receiver and special kid. He is a legit 6-5, is long and can jump and run with great body control.”

Kief, who went to the Ohio State spring game instead of UK’s Blue-White Game, has related well with UK assistant coach Vince Marrow, Kentucky’s primary recruiter in Ohio.

“Vince offered him early and he also thinks coach (Mark) Stoops is going to get it turned around at Kentucky,” Grippa said. “Plus a bunch of Cincinnati area kids have committed.”

He listed receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass of Springfield as one player committed, and he did make his verbal pledge public last week. Grippa also noted that he thought Cincinnati Winton Woods cornerback Mike Edwards had also committed. However, Edwards, who did attend the Blue-White Game as did Snodgrass, has not made his pledge public.

“They were texting him and telling him they needed him to come to Kentucky,” Grippa said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if he picked Kentucky because he did like Kentucky a lot. He will not drag out his decision.”

Kief’s teammate, cornerback Jaleel Hytchye, is part of UK’s 2013 recruiting class. “He is trying to talk Kentucky to him all he can,” Grippa said.

Hytchye is a special talent, too. He just broke the school record in the 200-meter dash that was held by receiver DeVier Posey of the Houston Texas with a time of 22.4 seconds. Grippa believes he’ll win the state in 100-meter dash.

“He ran a 10.7 100 and that is when he actually injured his hamstring and pulled off a little bit,” Grippa said. “He thinks he can get down to 10.5. He is legitimately fast, just like Derek.”

Kief had 44 catches in eight games in 2011 and 65 catches in 10 games last year — averaging about 90 yards per game — even though Grippa says Lasalle has not had a strong-armed quarterback throwing to him.

“He has been good from day one. He was outstanding as a freshman and started as a sophomore,” Grippa said. “He has 20 touchdown catches in two years. He is already close to all our career receiving records. He is pretty special. We run the spread offense and if teams played him one on one, we would have thrown it to him every play, but we never got that.

“He is a physical player. He is very tough. He is not afraid to go over the middle and make a catch. He had multiple catches were he would get drilled by big linebackers. For Alabama to offer a kid from Cincinnati, he has to be special. They do their homework and are very thorough in their recruiting process. Ohio State did not offer at first, but as they kept looking for receivers across the country they kept saying this kid or that kid was not as good as Kief.”

Kief has a 3.7 grade-point average and Grippa said he “doesn’t make mistakes” on the field.

“I just think all things considered, he is one of the better receivers in the country,” Grippa said. “He won’t just take off and run through or past the secondary. He can catch deep balls, but we just didn’t throw many. We play in the Greater Catholic League, the best league in the country. Against Moeller, and they were state champions and had 12 Division I players, they put a linebacker going to Michigan State at safety to counter Kief and he still had 12 catches.

“I think his best football is still ahead of him by far. He will have a big-time quarterback throwing him the ball and will get even more opportunities to make plays in college. He’s going to be really, really good for somebody.”

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  1. JCC

    I did not notice his “star count” I assume he is a 4*. See the difference between Stoops and Joker; Phillips would have never ever even offered a kid of this magnitude. Stoops is going after the prime time players and there is no doubt he will start reeling in some. Then more and more will start following. This program is going to be turned around; I hope we can hold on to Stoops!

  2. MikeF

    This is a case where we hope the progress we make during the upcoming season shows recruits that the program is overacheiving and well on it’s way to becoming a significant entity in the SEC. 5 preseason top ten teams on the schedule will certianly provide enough criteria for a judgement! From what I have heard, only Nebraska had more fan support at their Spring game than the Cats! WOW!

  3. Love SEC F-Ball

    You are right, JCC. He is a 4 star by Rivals.
    Coach Stoops & staff are going after a great group of kids!

  4. David

    I have my fingers crossed, sounds like a player that could help the Air Raid take off from day 1. Go Cats!!

  5. Ira


    Oh Joker would have offered, but it would have been a token offer. An offer thru the mail, or one of our assistants would have came to his HS gave the offer thru his coach and we would never been back. That was how Joker operated in OH. Criminal the way the old staff operated in OH.

    Now if it was a 2 star recruit, why Joker and company would be operating like how Stoops and company does with these 4 stars. Joker would be in there and fighting off those MAC teams like crazy.

  6. Larry Pup

    If UK can take Kief away from Alabama and Ohio State this staff will have proven they can recruit big time. Come on Derek, be a Kentucky Wildcat. BBN will love you to death. Alabama and Ohio State don’t need you like Kentucky needs you.

  7. shinny

    The “Stoops Train” is beginning to roll. I hope this young man will want to come play where offense stats will be broken. Coach Brown who had the number 2 offense in all of college last year is NOW the offense guro at Kentucky. The quarterbacks are in place why wouldn’t Kief want to come and make a name for himself! Alabama is all about defense and Ohio State well they are not “THE AIR RAID”! Looking forward to seeing you Mr. Keif when it’s “FOOTBALL TIME IN THE BLUE GRASS”

  8. Larry Pup

    If we get Horton he is the type back, big, bruising, with speed that UK has needed for a long time. One that can take the SEC pounding and give some too. This would be huge.

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