The highest-ranked recruit of the Mark Stoops era will transfer from Kentucky Football
The highest rated recruit of the Mark Stoops era is leaving Kentucky football after just one season.
Freshman offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin entered the transfer portal on Friday, UK coach Mark Stoops confirmed to reporters After coaching his team before the City Bowl. Goodwin was rated a five-star student out of Charleston High School in Southern Indiana in the class of 2021, but he played almost exclusively on the field goal unit as a freshman in the UK.
Despite the season-long struggles of the British offensive line, Kentucky coaches never felt comfortable throwing Goodwin into the fire, opting instead to use him only on offense late in games when the outcome was already decided.
“I wish it were like that, but it’s not a league, it’s not a position, and you have to come out and say, ‘As a five-star I can only play,’” offensive line coach Zach Yenser said of Goodwin in October. “There’s a lot that goes into it. Kiyaunta has all the talent in the world. And he knows it. He’s going to be a really good footballer here, and he’s a good footballer. He just has to develop and he must have time to develop and see it. It’s part of it. There aren’t many real rookies playing up front.”
While Goodwin hasn’t shown enough in action to convince the coaches he’s ready to be part of the offensive line’s regular rotation, Stoops and company still opt to play him every game on special teams, meaning he won’t maintain season eligibility by redshirting.
When asked about this decision in November, Stoops explained that he and the staff still had high hopes for the 6-foot-8, 351-pound behemoth.
“We felt there would be a time when he would be ready to play. So, we want to keep grooming him,” Stoops said. anyway.”
Yenser noted that Goodwin needed special work perfecting the snap count on Kentucky’s offense.
“When he knows what to do, he has a chance,” said Yenser.
If that development is coming for Goodwin, it will be elsewhere.
The decision to get in the gate comes one year and one day after an exciting signing day that saw Goodwin announce for the first time that he wasn’t ready to choose between Kentucky State and Michigan State, only to actually sign with the Wildcats later in the afternoon while the Stoops tackled a press conference during Waiting for an official letter of intent from Goodwin to be processed, allowing the UK boss to discuss signing publicly.
Goodwin’s recruitment lasted over four years as Kentucky first offered him a scholarship as a med student at Louisville. Goodwin first committed to the UK in April 2021 but was open about looking at other options in the weeks leading up to the day of the signing.
Rivals.com rated Goodwin a five-star lead. 247Sports Composite rated him a four-star candidate but still ranks him as the best recruit to sign for the UK in the Stoops era.
Even before Goodwin’s announcement, Kentucky had begun the process of rebuilding its dismal offensive line, which ranked 124th of 131 teams nationally in sacks allowed during the regular season.
Tanner Bowles committed to Alabama and Marquis Cox of Northern Illinois, UK, as offensive line transfers. Cox is expected to start at left tackle, Goodwin’s position, for UK next season. The Wildcats could also bring back senior Kenneth Horsey for his extra season of eligibility. In that scenario, Horsey would transition from left tackle, where he played out of necessity in 2022, to his position as a natural guard.
This story was originally published Dec. 16, 2022, 4:35 p.m.
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