football Edit

Rivals Roundtable: Is DJ Wagner a Kentucky lock?

It’s Friday, and that means another edition of the Rivals Roundtable.This week, national analysts Rob Cassidy and Travis Graf tackle questions pertaining to uncommitted 2023 prospects and share their thoughts on storylines that could develop down the road.

*****

2023 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2024 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

2025 Rankings: Top 40

Transfer Portal: Latest news

*****

1. WHICH UNCOMMITTED 2023 PROSPECT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST SET-IN-STONE “LOCK” TO A CERTAIN SCHOOL?

CASSIDY: It continues to be difficult for me to picture DJ Wagner landing anywhere but Kentucky, but nothing is ever over until it’s over in the recruiting world. Still, barring a surprise late charge by a professional league or Louisville, UK has to feel great about where it stands. The longer Wagner drags this out, the more room there will be for doubt to take hold, but you still have to do some serious mental gymnastics to create a scenario in which he spurns the Wildcats.

GRAF: Two recruitments that I feel relatively comfortable about are DJ Wagner to Kentucky and Ashton Hardaway to Memphis. Wagner’s father played for John Calipari at Memphis and they’ve kept a close relationship ever since, with DJ being prioritized by Calipari for half of a decade. With Hardaway, I believe he’ll opt to go play for his father, Penny, at Memphis next season. Memphis is looking for a boost in recruiting and adding the Rivals150 prospect would be another step in the right direction.

*****

2. WHICH UNCOMMITTED PROSPECTS RECRUITMENT DO YOU SEE AS THE HARDEST TO PREDICT?”

CASSIDY: The recruitment of Issiah Miranda retains some mystery even at this late stage. USC has long been seen as a player, but Miranda seems to be a little more open these days than he was months ago. The 7-footer recently visited Louisville, which seems to be making an aggressive late move. The Cardinals, Trojans and pro options are the most likely options these days, but I’m not quite confident enough to venture a guess on which of the three will ultimately win out.

GRAF: I’ll go with JJ Taylor here, just because things have been so unclear in his recruitment as a whole for quite a while now. A lot of top schools were on him at this point last year, then some have said that they’ve backed off behind the scenes. There was some G-League buzz for a bit, and that seemed to die off as well. With Donda Academy canceling its season, it will be interesting to see if Taylor goes to another big-time school, somewhere near his hometown, or if he will opt for the Overtime Elite option. As a whole, Taylor’s recruitment is up in the air.”

*****

3. IS THERE A RECRUITING STORYLINE THAT ISN’T BEING TALKED ABOUT RIGHT NOW BUT YOU SEE BEING IMPORTANT DOWN THE ROAD?

Jeff Capel
Jeff Capel (USA Today Sports)

CASSIDY: I’m as pro-labor as anyone and I never want to see any coach get fired, but I don’t think it’s any secret that there could be a change at Pitt this season if Jeff Capel fails to get the ship headed in the right direction. If the AD decides to make a change, there will be no shortage of suitors for Jaland Lowe and Carlton Carrington, a pair of four-star guards currently committed to the Panthers. We could see a late-cycle scramble to grab Carrington and/or Lowe, each of whom had impressive summers and will have plenty of options should they decide to seek more stable situations in the wake of a coaching change.

GRAF: As with every junior class, there’s always a handful of players who have discussed reclassifying at one point or another, and that’s no different this year. There’s a few talented players who have floated the idea of a reclass in the 2024 class or it’s been discussed behind the scenes. Ian Jackson, Flory Bidunga, Elliott Cadeau, Somto Cyril and others have either mentioned it or had rumors circulate about the possibility of ending up in 2023. With a senior class that is lacking high-end uncommitted guys left on the board, players of this caliber could certainly bolster a 2023 recruiting class for some programs.