Former Alabama receiver, four-star prospect Javon Baker transferring to UK

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John Bazemore/AP

Kentucky’s outlook at wide receiver brightened Friday afternoon when former Alabama receiver Javon Baker announced that he is transferring to UK ahead of the 2022 season.

Baker, a former four-star recruit in the 2020 recruiting class, entered the NCAA transfer portal last week and was heavily courted by Florida and Ole Miss in addition to the Wildcats. He has up to three years of college eligibility remaining.

Jan. 14 was the last day that new applicants to UK could be cleared for admission, meaning Baker won’t be able to enroll until the summer at the earliest.

In 12 games last season, Baker caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Most of that yardage and the score, his first in the collegiate ranks, came in the Crimson Tide’s fourth game of the 2021 season against Southern Miss; he had two receptions for 59 yards against the Golden Eagles.

Both 247Sports and Rivals tabbed Baker as a four-star prospect coming out of high school. He was the No. 109 overall player in Rivals’ rankings (20th at receiver) and considered a top-20 player out of the Georgia prep ranks.

He is the second Power Five wide receiver to transfer into Lexington as part of the 2022 recruiting cycle, joining Virginia Tech’s Tayvion Robinson. Kentucky also in December signed four high school receivers — four-stars Barion Brown and Dane Key and three-stars Jordan Anthony and Brandon White — as part of the current recruiting cycle.

The influx of higher-end receiver talent — before 2021, UK had signed just one four-star recruit who would play receiver (Lynn Bowden) in Mark Stoops’ tenure — is attributable to a revamped, pass-friendly offense helmed by former NFL coach Liam Coen, as well as the play of Wan’Dale Robinson in that offense. The one-time Nebraska running back and former Western Hills High School standout broke decades-old school records for receptions and receiving yardage in his lone season with the Wildcats before declaring for the NFL Draft earlier this month.

Baker, who’s 6-foot-2 and 206 pounds, should give UK a kind of vertical threat at the receiver position that it’s not had in some time.

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