With the news that Kentucky will be firing head coach Joker Phillips at the end of the season, the 1-9 Wildcats will again have to look elsewhere for someone to rejuvenate the program. That will include trying to bring in more talent to compete against the tough competition in the SEC. Three prospects committed to Kentucky out of the Peach State heard the news Sunday, and they updated the status on their verbal commitments.
Offensive tackle Jake Boynton (Marietta, Ga./Walton) had heard rumors of possible coaching changes, but he was somewhat surprised to hear of Phillips’ dismissal.
“I do think he should have stayed and they should have given him two more years to build the program up,” Boynton said. “He is a good coach that knows what he is talking about and he has a good staff under him.”
As of now, Boynton remains part of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class.
“I am going to see where it goes from here, but I am still strongly verbally committed to Kentucky,” Boynton said. “I might take some official visits and I will see how things go in Lexington, but it will take more than what just happened today to make me change my decision.”
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive lineman believes his class could be the key to turning things around at Kentucky, and he plans to reach out to the rest of the commitments to see if they feel the same way.
“With the class coming in and the underclassmen already there, I think with a few years of experience this program can turn it around with the blink of an eye,” Boynton said. “I would really like to be a part of building the program up.”
USF, Syracuse and Utah State have continued to recruit Boynton, who says the retention of his position coach will be vital to his final decision.
“If Coach [Mike] Summers leaves, that will be an iffy part because he was a really big factor on my decision to commit to Kentucky,” Boynton said.
Wide receiver Deangelo Yancey (Atlanta/Mays) was not surprised by the news, although the timing took him a little off guard.
“I kind of figured with all of the losing he might get fired at the end of the year, but I did not see them doing it so soon,” Yancey said.
For now he remains committed to the Wildcats, but that could change soon. Washington State offered the 6-2, 202 pound wideout Saturday. Wake Forest and N.C. State are still pursuing Yancey and Arizona State has been showing interest.
“I do not know yet where my commitment to Kentucky stands,” Yancey said. “It definitely opens things back up.”
Tight end Daren Dowdell (Atlanta/Grady) had not heard about the news.
“I did not think that was going to happen,” Dowdell said. “That is a surprise and it means I have to build a new relationship not only with the head coach, but the entire coaching staff.”
Dowdell says he remains committed for now, but says his recruitment could be heavily affected by the news. He mentioned Louisville, N.C. State, Indiana and Maryland as schools still coming after him.