Sting Factor: Khalifa Keith backs off pledge to Kentucky


When a major program loses a key recruit, Rivals.com takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each decommitment, we assign a score from one to 10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.

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THE STORYLINE  

When Khalifa Keith committed to Kentucky on July 4, it was a big deal for the Wildcats as they added a second running back to the class to join in-state prospect Kaden Moorman.

The Birmingham (Ala.) Parker three-star is a bruising running back who has shared the load this season but still has impressive stats. He’s seen his recruitment take off in recent weeks with new offers from Mississippi State, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Running back recruiting was locked up, but Moorman decommitted in late October and now Keith is back on the market after backing off his UK pledge in recent days.

Kentucky has options to focus on at running back since Douglasville (Ga.) South Paulding’s Jamarion Wilcox has been highly interested in the Wildcats and former Georgia Tech pledge Trey Cornist recently received an offer.

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LOCAL REACTION  

It’s not like Keith is a five-star player, but he is a really good running back and the kind of back who has thrived in the Mark Stoops era. Kentucky’s running back situation going into next year is up for grabs and Keith was one of the better players in the class. I still think there’s a good chance UK signs a couple of solid backs this year, but this is a tough loss. – Justin Rowland, CatsIllustrated.com

Sting Factor: 9

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NATIONAL REACTION  

I thought Moorman could play Power Five football, but thought it was a stretch to have him in the SEC. Keith, however, is definitely talented enough to play in college football’s best conference and that’s evidenced by Kentucky going after him and now seeing many other SEC schools getting in the mix.

Losing Keith definitely hurts because his big, bruising style fits the Kentucky offense, but I actually think the Wildcats could be in store for a massive upgrade if they land Wilcox. He should see a bump in the rankings when we meet in a few weeks and he could be one of the top running backs in the Southeast.

If Kentucky strikes out on Wilcox, the sting on Keith is worse, but I like where the Wildcats sit for him now. – Adam Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director

Sting Factor: 7



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