UK adds commitments from New Jersey, Ohio

December 17, 2003|LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks emphasized increasing his team's speed more than anything else when he talked about recruiting needs for his 2004 football signing class.

That need for speed apparently attracted UK more than anything else to two more players - New Jersey running back-cornerback Shomari Moore and Cincinnati quarterback-defensive back Jarrell Williams - who verbally committed to the Wildcats this week.

Brooks now has 17 verbal commitments for his 2004 class. However, at least two of those players, Paducah Tilghman running back Joe Casey and Ballard Memorial lineman Brandon Fitzgerald, will not qualify academically and will go to junior college next year.

The 5-10, 180-pound Moore will make his official visit to Kentucky in January, but he saw enough on his unofficial visit to know he wants to play at Kentucky.


"I just thought it was the right fit for me," Moore said. "They have talked to me some about returning kicks, but I really don't know where I'll play. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to help. The coaches told me I might have a chance to compete for playing time right away depending on what happens in fall camp."

He rushed for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns on 226 carries and eight receptions for 128 yards last season and helped his team make the playoffs. On defense, he had five interceptions and 30 tackles.

Williams had offers from Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Miami and Bowling Green before deciding to commit to UK.

"They started recruiting him early and it paid off," Princeton coach Brian Dodds said. "He's a very athletic player."

Like Moore, Williams is also a talented basketball player. He originally thought he might play college basketball.

The 6-2, 180-pound Williams moved to quarterback the second game of his senior season, but he's projected as a defensive back at Kentucky. Dodds said he'll run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.

"He's not a burner, but he is fast and athletic," Dodds said. "He's quick and shifty. He can make cuts in the open field and make players miss. He doesn't lose any speed when he cuts."

He passed for 1,950 yards and 14 touchdowns last season and ran for 1,068 yards and 17 touchdowns. In one game, he threw for 400 yards and five scores and ran for 178 yards and four more scores.

He could also be a return specialist at Kentucky.

UK running backs coach Ron Carager originally saw Williams when he was scouting another Princeton player.

"When he saw film of Jarrell scoring nine touchdowns in one game, they were all over him," Dodds said. "It was just good recruiting by Kentucky and they are getting a heck of a football player."

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