CARMEL, Ind. — The University of Kentucky took another step toward one of the best football recruiting classes in school history when Carmel High School quarterback Morgan Newton announced Thursday that he would sign with the Wildcats in February.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Newton, who is rated a five-star prospect by Scout.com, picked the Wildcats over Florida, Clemson and Illinois. As a junior, Newton completed 124 of 213 passes for 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also rushed for 750 yards and 11 scores.
Newton is the second high-profile quarterback to commit to the Cats this summer, joining four-star Texan Ryan Mossakowski.
Newton’s father, Dr. John Newton, played four years of college football under legendary Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson and was a teammate of former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams. While many might second-guess Morgan Newton’s decision to pick a Kentucky program that’s not rich in history or tradition, Newton’s father his son made an educated decision and that UK has a lot of positives to offer.
For starters, there’s a chance for Newton to step in and play immediately. Newton’s father also cited the Wildcats’ pro-style offense and the fact that quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders groomed several successful quarterbacks, including current Indianapolis Colts star Peyton Manning.
”We spent a lot of time with this decision,“ Newton said. ”We talked to a lot of people and gathered a lot of input, including Doug Williams. We really believe Kentucky is a place where Morgan can succeed individually and compete for championships.“
Newton is ranked as the nation’s seventh-best quarterback by Scout.com. Mossakowski is ranked the No. 9 pro-style quarterback with the country’s second-strongest arm by Rivals.com.
Kentucky also has commitments from Henry Clay’s Sam Simpson, ranked the country’s second-best center by Scout.com; Qua Huzzie, a three-star linebacker from LaGrange, Ga.; and Madison Central offensive lineman Larry Warford, who’s listed as one of the nation’s top 30 guards by Rivals.com. Of UK’s 17 commitments, 13 rate three stars or higher.
In 2007, nine of Kentucky’s 20 signees were three stars or higher, with Henry Clay wide receiver Aaron Boyd the only four-star player. Kentucky signed 29 players in 2006, but only eight were three-star prospects and the only four-star player, D.J. Stafford of LaGrange, Ga., never made it to campus.