By LARRY VAUGHT
They won’t count in Kentucky’s 2020 recruiting rankings, but nose guard Quinton Bohanna and offensive tackle Landon Young both deciding to stay at UK for their senior seasons instead of opting for the NFL draft is a huge plus for coach Mark Stoops.
Kentucky added to its star-studded 2020 recruiting class Saturday when four-star Bowling Green safety Vito Tisdale announced his commitment (and had actually signed in December but made his announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).
Young, the starting left tackle, missed the 2018 season with a knee injury but will be back to anchor the offensive line that was dominant this year and could be again next year even with the departure of guard Logan Stenberg, a likely mid-round NFL draft pick in June.
SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic thinks Young made the right choice staying at Kentucky.
“He wouldn’t go in the first two rounds in my opinion. Would greatly benefit him to return like he has,” Cubelic said.
Also back will be center Drake Jackson, a two-year starter. Jackson and Young were two huge in-state recruiting gets for Mark Stoops in the 2015 class.
Bohanna announced Sunday he would stay with the Wildcats, too. He should be one to anchor a defensive line that loses Calvin Taylor, UK’s sacks leader last season.
“Big Blue Nation, three years ago I made the biggest and best decision of my life to come to the University of Kentucky and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” Bohanna posted on Twitter. “The bond I have built with current and former teammates formed a brotherhood that’s going to last forever.
“What Coach Stoops has built and continues to build is going to be special for a long time at Kentucky. The NFL is my dream but I have decided to return to Kentucky and compete for the East and an SEC Championship. We’ve got unfinished business.”
It’s business — making the SEC Championship Game — that seems much more realistic with a player like Bohanna back. He’s started the last two years after earning a starting spot late in his freshman season.
He can eat up blockers but also had 18 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack this year. The 6-4, 360-pound Bohanna could be one of the SEC’s best defensive linemen next year.
He will also have a new coach as Derrick LeBlanc just left for Arkansas.
“LeBlanc does not get a lot of credit, he he does a great job,” Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow said before the Belk Bowl. “They were just dominant up there and he did a great job coaching them.”