Cornerback Willis won’t be coming to Kentucky

Kentucky’s newest signing class already is down a member.

Nate Willis, a top junior college cornerback, tweeted on Wednesday night that he is planning to go Division II instead.

“I’m sorry but I’m not gone (sic) be able to attend Kentucky because of my classes,” tweeted Willis, one of four junior college signees for new UK coach Mark Stoops and staff.

Willis, rated the nation’s third-best juco cornerback by, had 50 tackles, four interceptions, five pass breakups and a forced fumble in his two seasons at Arizona Western College.

It’s another hit for the UK secondary, which was young and thin before this latest development. In the two deep at the end of the season, Kentucky had three freshmen corners in J.D. Harmon, Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller and one senior in Cartier Rice.

UK also lost veteran members of the secondary to graduation in Martavius Neloms and Mikie Benton, with just the Blaylock twins, Zack and Daron, as well as Ashely Lowery returning with significant game experience.

At his signing day news conference, Stoops hinted that UK was trying to supplement the secondary.

“I felt like we needed more skill as well at the secondary position,” he said when asked about the Cats not signing any linebackers in this class. “I would like to have had maybe one but it didn’t work out that way and we will make some things work. We felt we had guys in the secondary that needed to move up, just athletically.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at
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