Phillips has Kentucky off and running

DESTIN, Fla. -- First-year Kentucky coach Joker Phillips has the Wildcats off and running in recruiting.

The Wildcats already have nine commitments, including ESPNU 150 member Jon Davis of Louisville. This time a year ago, they only had one commitment.

Phillips, who’s an excellent recruiter himself, likes the tone his staff is setting on the recruiting trail. The Wildcats have gone over into East Saint Louis, Ill., and landed a couple of highly rated players -- safety Glen Faulkner and defensive tackle Clint Tucker -- and also pulled receiver Darien Thomas out of Theodore, Ala.

Another one to watch on Kentucky’s radar is receiver Shamier Jeffery of Saint Matthews, S.C. He’s the younger brother of South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery, but is taking a long look at Kentucky.

Phillips has strong ties in the state of South Carolina, and former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin, in his first year as the Wildcats’ receivers coach, has South Carolina as one of his recruiting areas.

The other thing that should help the Wildcats is that it’s a stronger year in the state of Kentucky.

Of course, Phillips will be battling his old buddy, first-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong, on most of those prospects.

Phillips joked that some people around the state are still having a hard time telling the two of them apart.

“Charlie goes places in Kentucky, and they call him Joker,” Phillips said. “I go to some places that they call me Charlie.

"So I guess we all look alike.”