By LARRY VAUGHT
He won’t officially count on Kentucky football’s 2020 recruiting list or recruiting rankings, but getting LSU transfer Kelvin Joseph just before this season started is a big, big deal for coach Mark Stoops.
The four-star cornerback was one of the nation’s top 50 players in the 2018 recruiting class and played in 11 games as a freshman at LSU. He had a huge pass breakup in LSU’s win over Georgia. Joseph did not play in LSU’s Fiesta Bowl game win after being suspended for a violation of teams rules. He participated in the team’s spring practices ahead of his decision to enter the transfer portal and after seeming to reconsider his decision put his name back into the transfer portal before picking Kentucky.
He was the first player from his high school to play in the U.S. Amry All-American Game after having 113 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three interceptions his senior season after getting 67 tackles, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions as a junior when his team won the state title. He returned a combined 13 kicks, punts and interceptions for touchdowns in his high school career.
Joseph will sit out this year as a transfer and then have three seasons of eligibility left.
He has been timed in under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and could be one of 12 four-star players on the Kentucky defense next year according to Derek Terry of The CatsPause. Think about that. Twelve four-star players on the Kentucky defense next season. Who could have ever imagined that?
Joseph would be the fourth highest rated player to ever play for Kentucky. Even more important could be the recruiting doors he could open for UK in Louisiana because this transfer got more national attention for Kentucky football.
Another interesting tidbit here is that he went to the same Baton Rouge high school — Scotlandville Magnet (which is about 12 miles from LSU) — as LSU basketball star Ja’Vonte Smart. They were former Little League football teammates. Joseph was the first football player from his high school to sign with LSU.
* * *
Here’s what the LSU athletics website had to say about Joseph in its 2019 season roster listing:
Talented local product that played valuable snaps as a true freshman in 2018 … Tremendous cover corner with good ball skills and the ability to make plays on the ball downfield … Has blazing speed … Physical player who is a good tackler … Has a knack for finding the football … Thrives in man coverage … Good hips with the ability to change direction with ease.
FRESHMAN SEASON (2018) — Played in 11 games with no starts … Recorded 12 tackles and one pass breakup … Also saw action on special teams on LSU’s coverage units … Had career-best four tackles in win over Ole Miss … Broke up a pass on third-and-five situation at midfield just before halftime that forced Georgia to punt in LSU’s win over the No.2-ranked Bulldogs … Had three tackles vs. Southeastern and then against both Auburn and Louisiana Tech.