LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky football coaching staff reeled in one of its biggest targets of the 2022 cycle on Wednesday when four-star athlete Barion Brown committed to the Wildcats. Brown chose the Wildcats over offers from Alabama, TCU, Ole Miss and several others.
With Brown now in the fold, Kentucky continues its efforts to turn the wide receiver room from a weak spot on the roster to a position of strength. Brown is the fourth wide receiver in the past two classes to commit to the Wildcats that are rated as a four-star. Brown joins four-star Lexington (Ky.) native Dane Key as commitments in this class. Kentucky also has commitments from three-star wide receivers Brandon White from Cincinnati and Jordan Anthony from Tylertown, Mississippi. In addition, the Wildcats added a commitment from Syracuse transfer Taj Harris earlier this month. Harris had over 2,000 receiving yards in his career at Syracuse and is rated as a four-star in 247Sports.com’s transfer rankings.
Last month, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops talked about the importance of upgrading the talent at the wide receiver room.
“It’s definitely — we feel the presence of picking up our recruiting at the wide receiver position,” Stoops said. “We have to. Let’s not kid ourselves. I know that. I’ve addressed it. We have to get better at that position. We have to develop the guys we have here. I think we are. Those guys are getting better. I think as Liam and the coaches continue to push this system, that’ll happen automatically. But we also with roster turnover and roster management, recruiting, bringing guys in, that’s part of it. I have to do our part on bringing in guys that are impact players. But I definitely feel like it’s been much more helpful to recruit high school athletes.”
Brown, to this point, might be the most significant sign that Kentucky’s fortunes have turned when recruiting wide receivers. He’s the highest-rated skill player to commit in the 247Sports.com composite era, which has commitments dating back to 2000. Ranked as the No. 126 player nationally and No. 4 player in the state of Tennessee, the Nashville product brings a dynamic skill set that UK currently doesn’t have on the roster outside of junior wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson.
“Brown is an elite speed player that can line up inside or outside and stretch the field vertically,” 247Sports.com analyst Clint Brewster said. “Raw player with exciting upside considering how he can expand the offensive playbook and be used in many ways. Brown can make downfield catches or take an underneath route for big gains. Won the 100 meter dash in the state of Tennessee. Slender frame but has some length to add muscle. Shows toughness after the catch and will run routes through the middle of the defense. Has the athletic ability and body control to make the acrobatic catch.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Kentucky go to the transfer portal for at least one more receiver. Robinson is a candidate to enter the NFL draft following the season and other top receivers Josh Ali and Isaiah Epps will graduate following this season. Harris will provide a veteran presence in the room, but one more college player who has been productive would make sense.