LEXINGTON, Ky. - A pair of junior-college standouts, tight end Steven Borden and defensive end Za'Darius Smith, have become the first signees for new Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, the coach announced Wednesday.
Borden is a 6-3, 250-pounder from Kilgore (Texas) College who earned second-team all-conference honors. Among junior college players, the 6-6, 255-pound Smith is ranked as the nation's No. 1 strongside defensive end by JCGridiron.com.
"This is a great start to our recruiting class," Stoops said. "Being able to sign such impact players with a short amount of time to recruit gives me great optimism for the future.
"Steven brings us a player who is very versatile and brings the physical presence we need at the tight end position. We can move him around in the offense and play different positions. We're excited to have him join us.
"Za'Darius has great size and is an `every down' player - a physical player who can stop the run and also can rush the passer," Stoops continued. "We're very happy to sign him."
Both players are graduating in December and plan to enroll at Kentucky in January. They will participate in spring practice and each has two years of eligibility remaining.