As Ally mentioned in the post just south of this one and originally reported by Rivals.com, Kentucky picked up two new players for the 2014 college football season, and they’re identical twins. Demitrious and Chris Davis will walk on at Kentucky and be eligible to play after this coming season. The Ohio natives signed with Pittsburgh out of high school and sat out last season as redshirt freshmen, then announced intentions to transfer from the program early last month when Demetrious was moved to running back. After a very quiet official visit to Lexington today, they decided the University of Kentucky is where they’d like to continue their college football careers. One is expected to play in the defensive backfield and one will be used as an all-purpose athlete on offense. They will have three years of eligibility at Kentucky.
Watch them work…
We’ll have more later…
Two twins from Pittsburgh, Demitrious and Chris Davis will transfer to Kentucky. They both confirmed the information via Twitter. Both are wide receivers and both will come to Kentucky as walk-ons. As we learned earlier today, the wide receiver corps heading into this season is very thin right now. Neal Brown even mentioned that Kentucky might have tryouts (h/t John Clay). The Davis twins will likely help fill that void. The two were also considering Louisville and Indiana when they decided to make the move from Pitt.
Demitrious and Chris are originally from Austintown, Ohio. Demitrious was the nation’s #32 athlete and Chris was #33 in the class of 2012. Not too bad.
Lost in all the Matt Elam excitement last night was a 247 Sports rankings climb from Adrian Middleton, another talented in-state defensive lineman who has already committed to Kentucky. Middleton jumped up to the 36th best defensive tackle in the country and Kentucky’s fourth best commit, according to 247. His new 89 overall rating is one point shy of earning him a fourth star beside his name.
The new rating seems a bit high in comparison to the other recruiting services but, hey, we’ll take it.
Kentucky’s new offensive coordinator Neal Brown took some time today to meet with the Louisville Quarterback Club. Some of the talk was much of the same, with Brown once again letting everyone know that the quarterback race for next year will likely continue a few weeks into the fall practices. John Clay of the Herald Leader was on hand to relay some of Brown’s messages from the speaking engagement.
Here are 5 of the best tidbits from his talk:
1) The Kentucky staff’s message to the recruits is that everyone remembers “the first.”
If you’ve been wondering what the coaching staff has been selling the latest “big gets” on the recruiting trail (besides the opportunity for early playing time and a chance to compete in the SEC), the vision of being a part of the first group to turn Kentucky football into a championship contending program is clearly a top selling point. The staff has been able to build upon that idea, putting the pieces together for a class worth talking about, which has created a palpable buzz in the college football world. While some kids are looking for a chance to be a part of an already established program, where winning and competing for championships is the norm— some kids relish in the opportunity to pave their own path. That seems to be the idea Brown and the staff are focusing on at the moment.
2) Brown thinks the UK fan base is the most active fan base in social media.
We’ve seen the good and the bad of this effect over the years, especially with Kentucky basketball. If someone writes a piece about Kentucky basketball, they know it will be read by the masses. For decades, Kentucky basketball fans swarm polls, support their team, travel across the country, etc. The Kentucky fan base hasn’t had much reason to reach that level of excitement and passion for the football program, but now that Stoops has given them a reason– the fans are all over it. The recruits are feeling the love on Twitter on a daily basis. The coaching staff not only notices, but seems to believe it’s helping with the momentum and recruiting process.
3) The wide receiver picture for next year is… interesting to say the least
With some of the recent departures from the program, the fact that the receiving corp is very, very thin should come as no surprise. Brown says the team might have a tryout just to increase the numbers to see what they can find. Luckily Brown likes the depth and talent at the tight end position, which might help to plug some of the receiver holes. Brown also said that the recruiting process for wide receivers in the future is going well. The staff will be picky about the position, but Kentucky is already “in” on some big-time targets.
4) Ashely Lowery is recovering well
Following a very scary car accident earlier this summer, Lowery is recovering well. The staff is cautiously optimistic about his return for the fall.
5) Current commitments understand the challenges ahead this season
One general concern that has been floating around as of late is that while the 2014 class is so strong right now, it might be hard for the staff to keep all of the commitments in tact following what could be a tough season with a brutal SEC schedule. The results on the field may not be pretty, and certainly may not match the excitement and enthusiasm created by the nation’s current top 2 recruiting class for 2014. Brown says that part of the conversation with the new commitments though is that this season may not be smooth and the challenges will be huge. Brown doesn’t believe the results of this season will have an effect on the incoming recruits. Phew.
And last but not least, Neal Brown was quoted by John Clay as saying that “Coach Calipari has made Kentucky cool. We’ve got to make Kentucky football cool.”
I think this staff is well on the way…
During his time at the Louisville Quarterback Club luncheon today, Neal Brown hinted that UK might have to rely on tryouts to fill up the depth chart at wide receiver. The position is incredibly thin and is by far the biggest concern heading into Season 1 of the Mark Stoops Show.
We’ll have more from the luncheon in just a moment, but for now, #ComePlayWRForUK???
(H/T John Clay)
NCAA President Mark Emmert is building a band of athletic directors and Mitch Barnhart is one of the band members. Emmert recently announced that he and some of his staff members will meet regularly with a council of athletic directors, beginning next month. Barnhart is one of 10 athletic directors who will make up the council, formed to shift decisions like recruiting rules from college presidents to the people who deal with coaching staffs and athletic programs directly.
The other nine members of the council come from San Jose State, Arizona, Kansas State, Central Michigan, Connecticut, Clemson, Ohio State, Division I-AA Montana State, and Division I-AAA Denver.
There’s been a lot of “I never thought I’d see the day” going around here lately when it comes to Kentucky football, but I’ve got a new one fore you: I never thought I’d see a Clay Travis article praising UK for anything, especially football. Yet, one day after Kentucky football momentarily kissed the sun with a #1 recruiting class, Travis penned a piece about how Mark Stoops is using the SEC brand in Ohio to turn UK football recruiting around. Travis says that by focusing on Ohio, Mark Stoops has opened a channel to a whole state of players Kentucky (and the rest of the SEC) pretty much ignored before, and because of the SEC brand (and Stoops and Marrow’s connections, close proximity, etc.), it’s working:
So Kentucky has found a fertile new recruiting region that welcomes its SEC pitch without having to compete against very many SEC schools. Instead of being a second rate option in much of the South, the Wildcats are a premium product north of the Mason-Dixon line. As if that wasn’t enough, Kentucky is beating Louisville for recruits in Ohio because even though Louisville has a stronger team right now, the SEC’s brand is infinitely stronger than Bluegrass dominance.
While we’ve known about the staff’s connections and success in Ohio for a while now, Travis does bring up some good points. Right now, Kentucky doesn’t really have a lot of SEC competition for players from Ohio, and as a result, can sell the SEC brand and stand out from Big Ten schools. By looking north outside of the SEC footprint, Stoops has given the Cats the advantage in a state that churns out quality football players like it churns out…well, whatever Ohio is really famous for.
Read more over at Outkick the Coverage. It might be the last time we ever encourage you to do so.
Former Louisville center Gorgui Dieng respects Kentucky basketball but thinks Louisville is ‘more of a team.‘ The soon-to-be first round draft pick acknowledged Kentucky’s star-studded 2013-14 lineup during an interview with sNY.tv, then questioned if the Wildcats will be able to play together.
He said, “They always have the best players and always, I don’t want to say best players, they always have the chance but are they going to be a team? We don’t know. You can have a lot of pieces but it’s tough to have a team.”
“We always have a team. we always have a team,” he added. “Thats what Coach ‘P’ is all about — team. He doesn’t care who you are . You can be the best player but if you do something wrong, he’s going to sit you down. If you’re body fat is over nine percent, you won’t play.”
Dieng also said he believes this year’s Louisville Cardinals will be better than the group he won an NCAA championship with just a few months ago.
Is it December 28 yet?
UK’s lone 2014 commitment Karl Towns played in the NBAP Top 100 Camp this past weekend and had the opportunity to go 1-on-1 against former NBA player Jerome Williams. How did he do? Check it out in the video above.
H/t to Dan Bodner
On today’s radio show, Matt spoke to ESPN radio host Ryen Russillo, who expanded on his comments during a recent podcast with Bill Simmons, in which he raised concerns about Nerlens Noel’s “handlers” and how they’re negatively impacting his draft stock. Russillo said that Nerlens’ entourage goes back to before his time at Kentucky, and teams are worried about the longterm impact they may have on the talented shot blocker. Along with uncertainty about his injury, this is causing teams to think twice about drafting him in the top three.
But, when it comes down to his game, Nerlens is better than the field, according to Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner. Glockner compared Noel to the rest of the NBA Draft field in terms of talent, immediate impact, longterm impact, and trade possibilities. Glockner said that Noel may not be the most complete player in the draft, but his shot-blocking abilities make that category a push. Obviously, since he’s injured, he won’t have an immediate impact on whatever team chooses him, but in the longterm, Glockner says he can become a “solid rebounder who can block several shots a night while being a general deterrent around the rim,” which, in a weak draft, is worthy of the number one selection. And while trade rumors run rampant, they are just that right now–rumors. Glockner feels that Noel’s potential and the lack of another standout player in the draft will ensure that he goes number one next Thursday:
Noel’s situation is a mix of two old adages — timing is everything and good things happen to those who wait. Noel mixes enough raw upside with enough added value in terms of next year’s draft position to make it worthwhile to take on the moderate risk he poses at this stage of his career. It will be interesting to see if anything happens between now and late June to change this picture, but as of now, Noel is the choice.
Now, just surround yourself with the right people, big guy.
Future UK linebacker Ryan Flannigan was a guest on Kentucky Sports Radio radio this morning to address a Twitter rumor that he’ll soon leave Big Blue Nation to join Vol Nation down in Knoxville. Kameel Jackson, a JUCO teammate of Flannigan and current Tennessee commit, tweeted yesterday that he believes Flannigan will flip to the orange side.
Not so fast, Mr. Jackson.
Flannigan made it very clear to Matt Jones, Ryan Lemond and thousands of KSR listeners that he isn’t going anywhere. He said he has a good relationship with Chad Scott, who originally recruited him to Texas Tech out of high school, and he loves the idea of playing under Mark Stoops.
“Let it be known, we are coming to turn things around,” he said of the 2014 class.
Let it be known.
Let it be Known !
— Ryan Flannigan (@RFlannigan5) June 18, 2013
Late last night, news broke that Kentucky had offered another 2015 player, Charles Matthews. Here’s a little bit more about him.
6’4″, 180 lbs.
Chicago, Illinois (St. Rita)
ESPN: 9th, #3 SG
Offer list: Kentucky, Arizona, DePaul, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Providence, SMU, Wisconsin
— Charles Matthews (@CMATTHEWS_1) June 18, 2013
Matthews on UK:
Matthews played in the NBAP Top 100 Camp this past weekend and had nothing but great things to say about Kentucky, from whom he was hoping for an offer. He told Rivals’ TJ Walker:
“Kentucky is Kentucky. Coach Cal is a legendary coach and he does great things with his player getting ready for the NBA.”
On Cal visiting him at his school recently: “It was nice, it was him letting me know he’s recruiting me but he couldn’t really talk to me. My coach let me know that Kentucky is on me now.”
Matthews says he’s interested in Kentucky because of the dribble drive offensive and the aggressive defense, both of which he says matches his style. What does he want in a school?
“I want to go somewhere where I can learn, I can grow from, somewhere I can win a lot of games and hopefully a national championship.”
Sounds like UK to me.
Watch him work:
Yesterday, it was Stanley “Boom” Williams who made a special appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio radio to discuss his commitment to Mark Stoops and Kentucky. Today, Ryan Flannigan will call in to chat with Matt and Ryan.
Flannigan is currently feeling pressure from a teammate to flip his commitment to Tennessee, but #BBN has something to say about that. Tune in to hear his thoughts on the matter.
Also, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo will stop by to let us know more on Nerlens Noel’s draft slippage.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.
– The Wildcat Code
– 2015 center gets an offer
– Matt Elam adds another star
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I had a very interesting conversation amongst co-workers last week about this upcoming UK football season. Certainly, excitement has not been this high in the UK football fanbase since at least Andre Woodson’s senior season or maybe earlier. But the difference is that this excitement revolves around the start of the a new era of football, and not as much around the prospects of how good this team can be. Anybody who looks at it rationally can say that this 2013 UK football team might find some lumps against a very difficult schedule. But it lead to a debate about what would make the BBN happy this season. Would you rather:
-See an exciting product on the field that doesn’t win as much
-See a less exciting product that wins more
Let’s take Option A first. I like to call this option the Hal Mumme Option. I would imagine when you ask people about the 4-year Hal Mumme era most would call that era a fairly successful stretch. The truth is Hal Mumme went 20-26 in his stint in Lexington. 20 wins and 26 losses. That is a 43% winning percentage. He only went to bowl games in 2 of his 4 seasons, losing both. And yet, people call that era (sans the probation) a success. And the reason was simple: people loved the offensive product people put on the field. They loved seeing points put up on the board. People walked away from 59-31 drubbings against Tennessee with a smile on their face because, HEY, we just scored 31 points on Tennessee. But the truth is Hal Mumme teams never got within 28 points of Tennessee. Bill Curry got within 28 points 4 times, and twice got within 10 points of Tennessee. Which product did you like more?
Which brings us to Option B. Less than exciting product but a couple more wins. I like to call that the Rich Brooks Option. Besides the final 2 years of Andre Woodson, the offense was often stale under Rich Brooks. Struggles at the QB and WR position often made the UK offense limited. This led to more than a few games played in the 10′s and 20′s. But, starting in Year 4, Brooks made a bowl game every season and won 3 of them. He did it with an improved defense and enough ball control and turnover margin. It wasn’t sexy, but it brought 6 or 7 wins every year. And Joker Phillips kept that style of play into a bowl game into his first year. His downfall though was when the wins dried up but the style of play did not.
I would imagine starting in 2014, this won’t even be a debate. It seems the Cats are committed to putting out an exciting offense product and with the incoming talent, the wins should come much easier. But for 2013, I wonder what fans would rather see. Would you rather see a team that wins 3 games and scores 30 points per game or wins 5 games and score 20 points per game?
I could have written about Blake Shelton, but I don’t know anything about country music, nor do I watch “The Voice.” I could have written about Paul McCartney, but I’m not that big of a Beatles fan (let the stoning begin). I could have gotten all artsy-fartsy on you guys and written about MC Escher, the artist whose drawings are so trippy they make you dizzy. But I like to write what I know. And I know sushi.
Tuesday is International Sushi Day, a random holiday far more worthy of being a random holiday than say, Bubble Bath Day (January 8th) or Tell a Fairy Tale Day (February 26th). Sushi is delicious AND nutritious, and as long as you don’t get the deep fried shrimp roll, pretty much guilt-free when it comes to the diet. Little known fact: the term “sushi” actually refers to the vinegared rice, and not the raw fish. I may or may not have learned that from a chopsticks wrapper.
So get out and celebrate at your favorite sushi joint Tuesday night. Don’t have one? Maybe your fellow KSR readers will be nice in the comments section and offer a recommendation.
Monday was a busy day, so let’s get to it.
are were number one!
For ten glorious minutes on Monday, the Kentucky Wildcats had the number one recruiting class in the nation. In football.
Turns out, Rivals messed up. On Friday, it was reported that 3-star WR Tyre Brady committed to UK, but Rivals held off on making the commitment official. For ten minutes on Monday, it counted, which explains UK’s bump to the top of the rankings; however, after talking to the local Rivals writers who firmly believe the commitment isn’t official yet, they took Brady’s commitment off UK’s list and the Cats fell back to number two behind Texas. For now.
Whether or not Tyre Brady is actually committed to UK (or, rather, if UK has accepted his commitment) remains uncertain, but the screen shots of UK atop the 2014 class rankings will live on forever. Glitch or no glitch, Kentucky football is making moves and gaining momentum with each passing day. Now, the staff has to get as many guys to join the movement before the season starts and the reality of the rebuilding process sinks back in. Next season won’t be pretty. Stoops might pull off a few surprises, but nothing can change the fact that Kentucky has the toughest schedule in the nation, with one of the least talented teams in the league. Things are getting better, but the real changes will happen in 2014, and more likely, 2015. The staff says they’ve properly prepared each recruit for that, as has Drew Barker, but the more guys they can get on board now, the better.
On that note, Stanley “Boom” Williams stopped by the radio show Monday morning to talk about why he chose to commit to UK. Boom (he’s totally okay with you calling him that, by the way) said he wants fans at Commonwealth to scream “BOOOOOM” after he scores touchdowns, and that Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense was a big part of why he decided to come to UK. Know what made me go “boom”? His enthusiasm: “I just really want to be a part of the new thing that’s going on in Kentucky.” Check out his full appearance at the end of Hour 1:
“The first rule of the Wildcat Code is: You do not talk about the Wildcat Code.” – John Calipari
With all of this football recruiting fun, it’s almost possible to forget we’ve got a preseason number one basketball team on campus. On Monday, John Calipari addressed the “Wildcat Code,” a points-based rewards system created by the staff designed to give incentives to those who put in hard work on the court and in the classroom. Over the weekend, Dominique Hawkins talked to the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach about it, which prompted Cal to take to social media to explain it to fans. Cal didn’t give as many details as Hawkins did, but said that the system is designed to make players earn things instead of believe they are entitled to them. As Cal put it, “Nothing is given; everything is earned.” Why will this work for this group of superstars?
1) Incentives work
Hawkins said that some of the incentives you can earn through the Code is access to the locker room, a single room in the Lodge, and ultimately, your jersey. By making players fight for the right to use the team locker room or put Kentucky across their chests, Cal is teaching them the importance of hard work. Plus, what college kid doesn’t want their own dorm room? Even the most bullheaded player will work for that.
2) Competition works
We’ve already heard how competitive this team is in pick-up games. A common trait of the 2013 class seems to be their will to win. As any competitive person knows, that competitive streak doesn’t run cold off the court; it extends to every part of your life. Through the Wildcat Code, the players now have another goal to race towards, and in the process, take care of their academics, improve teamwork on the court, and develop their skills.
Cal should get 10 “Wildcat Code” points for the “Fight Club” references, although I really would have pegged Robic for Tyler Durden.
Troubling news about Nerlens
The NBA Draft is next Thursday, and unfortunately, it looks like Nerlens Noel is going to have to fight to be the number one draft pick. On Sunday, some discouraging reports came out from ESPN’s Ryen Russillo about Nerlens’ handlers, whom he called “epic bad dudes.” Russillo told Bill Simmons that Nerlens’ entourage is being very uncooperative with agents, teams, and media wanting information about the talented Cat, and that they almost seemed more concerned about their futures than his. The good news? Nerlens still has time to right the ship. On Thursday, he meets with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the number one pick.
– On Monday, four-star WR Blake Bone narrowed his list of schools to four, and Kentucky made the cut, along with South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Louisville. Rivals ranks Bone the 47th best receiver in the nation, and he visited UK a week ago. Drew Barker and the other 2014 recruits have been recruiting him pretty hard lately, and Bone hinted on Twitter that he was going to move up his decision date. With Derek Kief committing to Alabama, he’s Kentucky’s new top priority at wide receiver.
– The state of Kentucky now has a five-star recruit: John Hardin DT Matt Elam. Elam jumped 231 spots to the 10th best player in the nation on Monday, and was also given a five-star ranking. 247 now considers the 6’6″ 370 lbs. superstar the 2nd best defensive tackle in the country and the best player in the state. He visited Kentucky last week, and things went so well that Drew Barker says he’s not worried about Elam committing anywhere else. Kentucky will have to cling to that “come be a hero” campaign; Elam visits Notre Dame next week, and won’t announce his decision until January.
– On the basketball side of things, the Cats offered 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman a scholarship. He’s the second member of the 2015 class to get a scholarship offer from UK, the first being power forward Skal Labissiere. Zimmerman is the second best prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals. Word also broke late Monday night that UK has also offered 2015 SG Charles Matthews, Rivals’ 9th best player in the class.
That’ll do for now. See you in the morning.
It’s Defensive Lineman Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh‘s turn to get the KyWildcatsTV spotlight. Check out this profile of the former All-Southeastern Conference defensive tackle at Auburn, who went on to play in the NFL and coach at LSU during their national championship run in 2007.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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