Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.
July 22nd, 2014

Stevie Johnson’s Wednesday News and Views

SteveJohnson

Happy 28th birthday to Stevie Johnson of “Stevie Got Loose” lore. The former Cat turned 28 on Tuesday, and celebrated in his hometown of San Francisco, where he’s getting ready for the 49ers’ training camp. The Buffalo Bills traded Stevie to the 49ers back in May, but now it appears there’s a small chance Stevie may not make the roster. CSN Bay Area reports that Stevie will have to win the No. 3 wide receiver spot (behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree) in order to make the roster due to his scheduled $3.295 million salary this year. He’s the frontrunner–he was the No. 1 wide receiver in Buffalo after all–but it’s definitely a role change for the flamboyant wideout.

Just more motivation, right? Good thing Stevie knows all about that:

Now let’s go. News and views.

The latest basketball practice report is pretty exciting

Eric Lindsey had the enviable privilege of attending UK’s 90-minute practice on Monday, and wrote an in-depth practice report for CoachCal.com. Lindsey’s report echoes the scoop we’ve hear from the Joe Craft Center so far, specifically about the improvement of Alex Poythress. Lindsey writes that Alex “looked lighter on his feet than I’ve ever seen him,” and much more confident. Of course, the name of the game for Alex is consistency, and I’ll wait until I see that improvement transfer to a full game before breaking out the confetti, but the update is encouraging nonetheless.

Other notes from the report: Tyler Ulis continues to impress, the Harrison Twins and Dakari Johnson are in better shape, Devin Booker looks good, and Marcus Lee has developed a jumper. There’s something for everyone in the report, but this part about the matchup between Karl Towns and Dakari Johnson may be my favorite:

“Towns, without question, is one of the most all-around talented big guys Calipari has had at UK in his five seasons at Kentucky. But, like all freshmen, there’s a learning curve, and Towns was in for a bit of a lesson against an experienced Johnson. As assistant coach Kenny Payne tried to throw him the ball the top of the key – where Towns can play, I might add – Johnson fronted him and didn’t let him get around his frame. When Towns tried to fake him out with a couple of moves, Johnson didn’t budge and just leaned on him. Calipari eventually stopped play and told Towns that those moves that worked in high school won’t work in college before showing him how to get his leg around Johnson and then bump off. Once Towns got the ball in his hands, he was difficult to stop.”

Only 17 days until we get to see this team for ourselves.

Snl-so-freakin-excited

Mike DeCourcy doesn’t think much of the 2015 class

It’s been hard to get a good feel on how UK’s doing in the 2015 class. Despite the fact that Cal’s handed out more offers to 2015 recruits than any other class since he came to UK, the Cats only have one commitment: Charles Matthews. Cal seems to be going outside of his box a little bit with 2015 recruiting. Why? Well, according to The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy, “the class of 2015 stinks.” DeCourcy, who was at the Peach Jam last week, says that aside from Ben Simmons, there isn’t any elite talent in the class, which could be bad news for programs that rely on elite talent to survive…like Kentucky:

The bad news is if your program requires an annual infusion of elite talent to thrive, or needs one in this particular recruiting year, your coach will need to land exactly the right guys to make it work.

It’s an interesting point, and could describe why UK’s offers seem to be all over the place in the class so far.  To read more of DeCourcy’s thoughts on the class, click here.

This picture of Steve Spurrier is why I love Steve Spurrier

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@ChrisVannini

Spurrier and Nick Saban were part of Day 2 of the SEC Coaches Car Wash at ESPN today, and Spurrier threw this shade while Saban was describing how he sells playing time to recruits. After we finally beat Spurrier back in 2010, he became a much more lovable figure in my eyes. He’s not only hilarious, he’s not afraid to speak his mind, which makes him a prime candidate for a drinking buddy and a bridge partner. Ideally, both.

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Have you voted in UK’s Kickoff Playoff yet?

UK has heard our plea for better music at Commonwealth Stadium, and in addition to partnering with local radio stations to allow fans to vote on game music, they’re getting input from the players. UK asked eight players to choose a song to be played right before opening kickoff on August 30. They’ve pitted the choices against each other in a bracket, with fans voting on their favorite each day. Tuesday’s quarterfinal is Bud Dupree’s choice, “Knuck if you Buck,” against Steven Borden’s choice, “Scatta.” Go vote here. On Wednesday, you can vote between “Who Run It” (Braylon Heard) and “Head Bussa” (Mike Douglas). So far, I think Za’Darius Smith’s “We Ready” has the best chance of winning.

Drew is putting together a bracket with the KSR crew’s selections, which you’ll see later this week. BTI’s selection is pretty much exactly what you would expect.

This picture of Adolph Rupp mixing mortar for Memorial Coliseum is great

@KYPhotoArchive

@KYPhotoArchive

The Herald-Leader started a Twitter account (@KYPhotoArchive) with photos from their archives, and Tuesday’s was pretty great. Check out Adolph Rupp mixing mortar at the construction of Memorial Coliseum back in 1949.

This picture of Jack White at the Chicago Cubs game is hilarious

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@AndrewCieslak

On the flipside, we have this picture of Jack White at a Chicago Cubs game on Tuesday night. Where do you even begin?

Matt and Drew will be live from Hudson Automotive in Drew’s hometown of Madisonville in the morning to talk C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS, and probably a little Pat Forde. See you then…


Pat Forde Writes a Love Letter to New BFF Bobby Petrino

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If you have been around these parts for awhile, you know that KSR’s favorite writer is not Pat Forde. Beginning with the hiring of John Calipari at Kentucky, Forde has used every opportunity to come after the UK coach, a trend that resulted not only in numerous rants about UK’s mistake in the initial hire, but many follow-up shots in Calipari’s direction. His rants became so personal and unprofessional, that during his tenure at ESPN, he was forbidden to write about Kentucky or Calipari except in the most general terms (a fact he has never publicly acknowledged but one that is true). After a year of his nonsense, I wrote this blog post about Forde’s past, bringing to light what most people in the industry knew but would never say, mainly that Forde’s has an extremely checkered past himself, including two “ethics” suspensions. One of those suspensions was due to releasing private information to the NCAA (for unknown, likely personal reasons when the pre-Jurich regime was in Louisville), and the other for a personal reason that related to his coverage of a UL team. After writing that article, Forde contacted my employer (Clear Channel) and refused to ever appear on a Clear Channel radio program in Louisville again…a stance he held for a couple of years until he got tired of not having his voice heard in his home area.

I write all of that as a background to say that we have never been a Pat Forde fan in the KSR Compound. Whether it was his decision to buy the media in St Louis a round of drinks as they watched Calipari lose to West Virginia in 2010 (a fact he admitted on a Louisville radio show, but explained by saying it was “his turn”) or his decision to “cover” the Karen Sypher trial by writing articles “investigating” his drinking buddy’s antics, he has always struck me as the worst of modern media….biased in all regards, full of hatred towards those he doesn’t like while taking up for his friends, all while couching his viewpoints as being “objective” journalism. So while my lack of respect for Forde goes way back, I must admit that even I was surprised to read his latest article today, a fluff piece for Bobby Petrino that is explained by the phrase in its title, “The Path to Redemption.” (In order to discuss this article, I am violating my general rule about not linking or promoting such national articles, but in this case it is necessary in order to make my overall point…plus you ought to read it just to laugh).

The article discusses how poor Bobby Petrino, the oppressed soul who has now left four jobs in under 10 years, either for greener pastures (UL, Falcons, WKU) or because he was having an affair with a subordinate that led to a sketchy motorcycle accident/amazing neck brace photo, has now become a new man. How has he become this new man? Well by caddying for his daughter as she plays golf across the country of course. Forde writes,

For a football obsessive, taking time away from an all-consuming job does not come easily. But caddying for Katie is an avocation that means a lot to a man who put his family and himself through an embarrassing public ordeal when he was fired at Arkansas for having an affair with a woman he hired onto his staff. It has been a means to connect with one of his four children, and to show the entire family – and everyone else – that he’s not the same guy who wrecked a Harley and derailed his career on one disastrous April day in 2012.

Rebuilding that trust will take time. But those closest to Petrino believe what they are seeing so far.

Forde seems to believe that because he is pushing around a golf cart for his daughter, Petrino must be a new man that has changed his ways and is ready to be a model citizen. But wait you say…in the same article Forde noted that he has done this the past three years and this isn’t a new action by Bobby the Neckbrace. So the same Bobby that abandoned Western after one year (which by the way never gets brought up when discussing how he is no longer a “drifter”…but I digress), also caddied for his daughter. I guess that can’t be what is “new and improved,” So if not, what shows Bobby to be a new man? Forde explains:

Last month he started the Petrino Family Foundation and made a $1 million gift that will go to Kosair Children’s Hospital, a scholarship for Louisville students and the school’s marching band – and the foundation is being run by daughter Kelsey. Petrino has been more of a team player within the Cardinals athletic department, attending several baseball games during the school’s run to the College World Series. And Monday he talked about becoming more attentive to his players beyond the football field, saying he related some of his personal travails to the team during meetings.

One million dollars? That is a very nice gesture actually. One could argue that paying money isn’t exactly “doing” anything, but we should never blast someone for charity, especially in helping those in need. But his decision to give money to the Children’s Hospital is not a new one. He actually gave a large sum of money to the same hospital in 2007, even honoring the pledge after he left. Now don’t get me wrong. That was a great thing by Petrino then and it is noble that he did it before and will do it again. But considering the fact that he gave money while in the midst of “Old Nasty Bobby”, how does giving money now show he is different? In fact, when Pat Forde took his strongest shots at Bobby Petrino, it was right after he made his first payment to the Louisville hospital in 2007. That didn’t stop Forde then, so it wouldn’t be proof of a changed man now would it? And as for the other “proof”, is it really that he attended a few baseball games (that are steps from his office) and “talked” about being more attentive to his players? Well, I guess Forde’s standard of change must be quite low.

It is clear however that Bobby has made quite an impression on Pat in order for him to write such a glowing piece. This is especially true when you contrast today’s article with what Forde wrote about him just a few years ago. In 2007, he wrote an article that he called one of the meanest of his career in which he named Petrino the “disingenuous drifter” and mocked Arkansas fans for thinking he would care about them at all. Forde then wrote,

The disingenuous drifter doesn’t love you or any other fan base. He doesn’t love any school or any NFL franchise. He loves himself, his playbook and his bank account.

That’s it. Don’t expect it to change.

Bobby Petrino will return your embrace, Hog fans. But while he’s hugging you he’ll be looking over your shoulder, scanning the terrain for his next hook-up.

Even in a profession rife with dishonest posturing, Petrino is singularly mercenary. Loyalty, allegiance, commitment and honesty are foreign concepts to him. It must be a sad existence.

Harsh words right? When Petrino was hired back in January, those words came back in Forde’s face as he now had to deal with the fact that his Daddy Jurich had hired a man that he once had annihilated (probably at his behest, since he had left Louisville before…but I digress). In the internet age, these words did not disappear, so how did Forde deal with them? Well he acknowledged them, but left open the possibility for change saying,

For now, those words are cheap. It will be all about actions for Bobby Petrino. He’s tasked with laying one brick of credibility on top of another in what will be a long and painstaking effort to rebuild his demolished reputation.

But the future must be a significant break from the past for Bobby Petrino, and he has to prove it with deeds that back up his words.

At the time, we commended Forde for holding Petrino to task and asking some difficult questions. While one could ask whether Pat would have given the same benefit of the doubt to Petrino had UK hired him the year before (hint…he would not have), it was at least on the surface, a line in the sand. Show us Bobby, then we will believe it. And now here we are seven months later and Forde is all-in on the “Bobby the Prodigal Son” narrative. After a few months caddying, some money, a day at the old ballgame and some kind words to his players, Bobby is a new man. Stand up and rejoice, the new Bobby Petrino has graced us with his presence! And Forde, a man who is so narrow-minded in his hatred of John Calipari that he famously gave up on him as a coach and wrote the “made your own bed” column right before UK engineered one of the most amazing turnarounds and tournament runs in college basketball history, is now back on the Petrino bandwagon, forgetting the words that once dissected the coach so sharply in the past. What is the difference? Only one, he is back with Daddy Jurich, Forde’s friend and purveyor of scoops.

Has Bobby Petrino “changed”? I don’t know, maybe. I tend to be the type of person who is forgiving to a fault, giving people multiple chances and trying to make it a point to do my best to judge their actions and not them as a person. I don’t know Bobby Petrino so I can’t say whether he is a good man or not or to what extent he has changed, if at all. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. I learned long ago that we don’t really even “know” the people that we deal with every day in our lives, much less a public figure that we only encounter at press conferences or on game day. Spending time trying to judge whether a coach or administrator is a “good person”, “classy” or the like is a waste of time. You spend your days deluding yourself in to thinking you know which people are good and which are bad, and I will just assume that as with virtually everyone, there is a little bit of both. At the same time Petrino was awful to his co-workers, abandoned all his teams and was cheating on his spouse, he was giving money to a hospital that was thousands of miles away from him, with few paying attention. Almost one is all good or all bad, no matter our society’s desire to put everyone into such an easy to digest box. Time will tell if Petrino was a hire worth the risk for UL, but one thing that is undisputed is that UL is one of the very few schools with such a low moral threshold that they would have ever even considered taking the chance.

But ultimately this isn’t really about Bobby Petrino. Had Petrino gone to another school, I have zero doubt that not only would Forde not have forgiven him, he would have bludgeoned the man again. He only loves you Bobby because Tom told him to, not because of your inherent goodness. The reality is clear. The National college sports columnist for Yahoo is a biased Jurich-man who will do whatever he can to make his friend look good. If that means taking up for a coach who has an embarrassing sex scandal and never at any point bring it up or criticize him, he will do it. If that means blasting the basketball coach down the road at every juncture in order to make Jurich’s coach/program look better, he will do it. And if that means eating his words, throwing away his self-respect and looking like a hypocrite by praising a man that he once considered to be one of the worst in coaching, well it looks like Pat will do that as well. Anything for Daddy Jurich and his UL barhopping buddies.

I am a biased homer who wants UK to win and am unabashed in my favoritism to all things Blue. I knew long ago that Pat Forde was essentially the same thing for UL, so long as Tom Jurich was running the Athletic Department. He has always been a wolf UL blogger in sheep Yahoo objective clothing, albeit one with great hair and the latest in stylish, hipster glasses. But today I also found out something I didn’t know, that Pat Forde is also a sellout, willing to take any stance depending on the situation. Bobby Petrino has gone from the “disingenuous drifter” who lived a “sad existence” to a new, changed man on a “Path to Redemption”…and all it took was one hire by his friend and pushing a golf bag around with his daughter a few days. Not a bad trade-off I guess. Hey Pat, remember what it was like to be a real objective journalist with self-respect, integrity and tremendous talent? Naw, we don’t either.


What the 2015 football recruiting class is telling us so far…

1) Nothing new here… but Kentucky football is taking over Ohio

This isn’t the first time you’ll hear this and it certainly won’t be the last time you hear this… but the presence of Kentucky’s football recruiting prowess in the state of Ohio just continues to grow. After receiving another Top-50 rated Ohio commit this weekend, Kentucky currently has 6 of the state’s top 50 players signed on for the 2015 class. That brings the total number to 17 Top-50 Ohio players in the last 2 years, as Kentucky signed 11 in this year’s class. For those keeping tabs with Ohio State, Kentucky currently has the same # of Top 50 players from Ohio committed for 2015 that Ohio State does… That’s impressive no matter how you slice it.

 

2) Kentucky has two key areas of need AND the staff is filling those needs quite nicely

The offensive line and the secondary are two of Kentucky’s biggest pressing needs moving forward. The coaching staff has clearly been putting a priority on locking up solid commitments in those two areas in the 2015 recruiting class. Kentucky’s thin secondary got a boost for the future last night when the Cats picked up two commitments from guys who can contribute and play right away next season. And that’s exactly what Kentucky will need.

Kentucky’s other key area of interest in strengthening the offensive line, which will take a few blows following graduation next year. Kentucky is also looking to beef up the line to entice guys like 5-star running back Damien Harris. Quarterback protection has been a weakness in the past few seasons at Kentucky, but the future looks bright with a number of key commitments (8 so far) already in the class of 2015 to go along with 5-star 2014 offensive lineman Matt Elam.

 

3) Vince Marrow is THE MAN, but Neal Brown is locking down the state of Kentucky

When you look at the impressive Ohio numbers in recruiting over the past two seasons, that’s in large part due to Vince Marrow’s work on the recruiting trail. Marrow has worked to lock down at least 6 of Kentucky’s current Ohio prospects in the class of 2015, with plenty of time left before National Signing Day.

On the other hand, Neal Brown hasn’t received quite as much notoriety for his achievements in recruiting thus far– but Brown has seemingly taken the lead on most of the top in-state talent. With a loaded 2016 in-state recruiting class looming, Brown figures to be a key contributor if Kentucky is able to lock down the majority of that talent.

 

 

 


Go behind the scenes with Mark Stoops in Bristol

Kentucky Wildcats TV followed Mark Stoops around the ESPN campus yesterday during his media “Car Wash.” Watch as the UK football coaches bounces from show to show in Bristol.

Cats.


UK Football’s 2015 Big Board: Commitments and Top Targets

2015-commits

Kentucky picked up three commitments during the Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend, two in the 2015 class (Marcus Walker and Kei Beckham) and one in the 2016 class (Zy’Aire Hughes). It’s been a while since we’ve recapped where the Cats are with the 2015 class and who they still want to bring in, so I spent my day updating the Big Board. Enjoy.

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COMMITMENTS

Linebacker

ELI BROWN
Outside Linebacker
Bowling Green, KY
6-2 | 185

Ranking: 
247Composite: 12 OLB | 204
247Sports: 19 OLB
Rivals: 10 OLB | 133
ESPN: 13 OLB | 234
Scout: 21 OLB | 239

Committed: April 21, 2014

Other Offers: Ohio State, USC, Ole Miss, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky

Additional Note: Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Brown re-opened his recruitment in October shortly after an unofficial visit to Ohio State, UK’s biggest competitor for Brown at the time.

JORDAN JONES
Outside Linebacker
Youngstown, OH
6-2 | 203

Ranking: 
247Composite: 48 OLB | 696
247Sports: 48 OLB
Rivals: 32 OLB
ESPN: 36 OLB
Scout: NR

Committed: May 8, 2014

Other Offers: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan State, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana

Additional Note: Jones attends Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, alma mater of Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.

Defensive Line

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DARIUS FULLWOOD
Defensive End
Olney, MD
6-4 | 240

Ranking: 
247Composite: 18 WDE | 399
247Sports: 19 WDE
Rivals: 18 SDE
ESPN: 37 DE
Scout: 44 DE

Committed: June 28, 2014

Other Offers: Alabama, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia

Additional Note: Fullwood and Jabari Greenwood announced together at Fullwood’s home in DC, opening the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) pipeline for years to come. Fullwood cited the family atmosphere around the program and the ability to play in the SEC as reasons he chose the Cats over Virginia Tech, Duke, and Maryland. He also said he wants to be a leader in the 2015 class, like Drew Barker was for 2014.

Secondary

4_1075475MARCUS WALKER
Safety
Lake Wales, FL
6-0.5 | 176

Ranking: 
247Composite: 19 S | 377
247Sports: 32 S
Rivals: 16 S
ESPN: 16 S | 196
Scout: NR

Committed: July 18, 2014

Other Offers: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UVA

Additional Note: Walker first committed to Kentucky back in January, but decommitted in April. After picking up offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Tennessee and others, Walker decided to recommit to Kentucky, in part because the staff kept in contact with him even after he reopened his recruitment. He was one of three commitments during UK’s Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend (two in the 2015 class, one in the 2016 class).

4_2930064KEI BECKHAM
Cornerback
Dayton, OH
6-0 | 173

Ranking: 
247Composite: 46 CB | 564
247Sports: 44 CB
Rivals: 42 CB
ESPN: 59 CB
Scout: NR

Committed: July 18, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, Purdue

Additional Note: Beckham also committed to the Cats during the FNL camp after an exclusive workout with Mark Stoops. He needs to bulk up before he can hold his own in the SEC, but he’s athletic, with good hands and quick feet.

Offensive Line

LUKE HIERS
Center
Lake Wales, FL
6-3 | 295

Ranking: 
247Composite: 9 C | 533
247Sports: 10 C
Rivals: 3 C | 247
ESPN: 4 C
Scout: 12 C

Committed: May 1, 2014

Other Offers: Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, NC State, South Florida, Syracuse

Additional Note: A four-star product on Rivals.com, Hiers committed to Kentucky days after visiting Lexington for the Blue-White game. He was Rivals’ second-ranked center in the country at the time, but has since dropped a spot to No. 3. There are reports that he committed back in October but waited to see the campus before going public with it.

LEVON LIVINGSTON
Offensive Tackle
Washington, DC
6-7 | 232

Ranking: 
247Composite: 86 OT | 770
247Sports: 52 OT
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 75 OT
Scout: NR

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: West Virginia, NC State

Additional Note: Livingston plays both sides of the line of scrimmage in high school and insists he can play either in college, however, the plan is to use him on the offensive line at Kentucky.

LOGAN STENBERG
Offensive Tackle
Madison, AL
6-6 | 327

Ranking: 
247Composite: 106 OT | 969
247Sports: 106 OT
Rivals: 9 C
ESPN: 109 C
Scout: NR

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: UAB

Additional Note: Stenberg committed to UK on the same day as fellow offensive linemen Levon Livingston and Larry Wells.

LARRY WELLS
Offensive Tackle
Kenton, OH
6-8 | 295

Ranking: 
247Composite: 127 OT
247Sports: 139 OT
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 81 OT
Scout: NR

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Akron

Additional Note: Wells committed on the same day as Levon Livingston and Logan Stenberg.

MASON WOLFE
Offensive Lineman
Henderson, KY
6-7 | 280

Ranking: 
247Composite: 88 OG
247Sports: 98 OG
Rivals: NR
ESPN: 96 OG
Scout: 77 OT

Committed: April 7, 2014

Additional Note: Wolfe became the fourth offensive lineman commit in three days when he committed during an unofficial visit to UK in early April. He told 247Sports he just felt it was time and he was interested in Kentucky since the very beginning.

4_2929835GEORGE ASAFO-ADJEI
Offensive Lineman
West Chester, OH
6-4 | 295

Ranking: 
247Composite: 53 OT | 445
247Sports: 19 OT | 176
Rivals: 42 OG
ESPN: 58 OG
Scout: 35 OG

Committed: June 23, 2014

Other Offers: Akron, Cincinnati, UConn, Florida, Illinois, Louisville, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Syracuse, Toledo, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan

Additional Note: Asafo-Adjei is a former teammate of current UK players Kyle Meadows and Mikel Horton, and said he felt comfortable with UK’s players, coaches, and facilities. It doesn’t hurt that it’s close to home, as well. (Thank you, Vince Marrow.)

Tight End

CJ CONRAD
Tight End
LaGrange, OH
6-5 | 225

Ranking: 
247Composite: 10 TE | 228
247Sports: 8 TE
Rivals: 7 TE | 195
ESPN: 11 TE
Scout: 7 TE | 203

Committed: May 9, 2014

Other Offers: Arkansas, Illinois, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Additional Note: Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame were picking up interest, but he chose the Cats before they could close in. Vince Marrow was the lead recruiter, of course, and he liked how UK was on him early. Indiana was the other finalist with Kentucky.

Wide Receiver

ALEX STUMP
Wide Receiver
Lakewood, OH
6-3 | 190

Ranking: 
247Composite: 39 WR | 305
247Sports: 33 WR
Rivals: 40 WR
ESPN: 75 WR
Scout: 31 WR | 235

Committed: May 3, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Miami (FL), West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Ohio, Harvard, Yale

Additional Note: Stump, who will undoubtedly see his ranking climb next season, called Kentucky the perfect fit when he committed earlier this month. “Their offense is a great offense for receivers,” he told the Herald-Leader. “Maybe, possibly I could have gotten ‘bigger’ offers, but this is the perfect fit for me. There was no reason not to do it.”

4_1299074JABARI GREENWOOD
Wide Receiver
Washington, DC
6-4 | 193

Ranking: 
247Composite: 57 WR | 506
247Sports: 53 WR
Rivals: 42 WR
ESPN: 56 WR
Scout: 60 WR

Committed: June 28, 2014

Other Offers: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Pitt, Rutgers, UVA, Wake Forest, Washington State

Additional Note: Greenwood picked Kentucky over Michigan State, Virginia, and Maryland. At 6’4″, 193 lbs., he’s got the size to compete in the SEC, and more importantly, looks like a playmaker. Greenwood said WR coach Tommy Mainord played a huge factor in his decision, and his commitment was a big win for Mainord, who is the primary recruiter in the DMV area.

*****

TOP TARGETS

4_2929782DAMIEN HARRIS
Running Back
Berea, KY
5-11 | 205

Ranking: 
247Composite: 1 RB | 23
247Sports: 2 RB | 59
Rivals: 1 RB | 4
ESPN: 1 RB | 28
Scout: 1 RB | 34

Decision Date: December 13, 2014

Other Offers: Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida State, USC, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin

Additional Note: Harris is the staff’s biggest priority in the class. If he does choose Kentucky, he’ll be the highest ranked recruit the program has ever landed, and have an impact on recruiting classes for years to come. Harris attended UK’s FNL camp this past weekend, one of several visits he’s taken to UK, and by all reports, the staff feels better than ever at their chances of landing him. However, December 13 is a long time from now, and UK may need to pull off more than one upset this season to convince Harris to take a chance on them.

4_997523GEORGE BROWN JR. 
Offensive Tackle
Cincinnati, OH
6-6 | 253

Ranking: 
247Composite: 42 OT | 364
247Sports: 84 OT
Rivals: 13 OT | 118
ESPN: 63 OT
Scout: 39 OT

Decision Date: July 25, 2014

Final Five: Alabama (non-committable), Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU

Additional Note: Brown seemed close to committing during his visit to UK for the FNL camp this past weekend, but held off to take one last visit for Florida. If you read the tweet leaves, he seems torn between the two, but we’ll know for sure on Friday.

4_1251828BRANDON WILSON 
Defensive End
Winter Garden, FL
6-4 | 240

Ranking: 
247Composite: 50 SDE | 1037
247Sports: 41 SDE
Rivals: NR
ESPN: NR
Scout: NR

Decision Date: Unknown

Other offers: Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Wisconsin

Additional Note: Wilson visited UK last Tuesday, and reports say he enjoyed himself, especially getting to see his former teammate Garrett Johnson, who will be a freshman this fall. He’s looking for an offer from Georgia, and on Sunday, tweeted he’d also like to take an official visit to Wisconsin. While the Cats are in a good position, this is far from over.

4_882099VON DAVIS
Cornerback/Athlete
Mount Dora, FL
5-11 | 170

Ranking: 
247Composite: 42 CB | 504
247Sports: 39 CB
Rivals: 25 ATH
ESPN: 46 ATH
Scout: 69 CB

Decision Date: Unknown

Other offers: Arizona, Indiana, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis

Additional Note: There have been conflicting reports about Davis’ interest in Kentucky, but according to 247 Sports’ Ryan Bartow, had Davis visited UK this past weekend, he would have committed. Keep an eye on this one.

[All images and star-ratings via 247Sports.com]


Bud Dupree Named 37th Best in The SEC

The summer of Bud continues as Mr. Dupree finally made his appearance on Saturday Down South’s top 100 SEC players of 2014. SDS has been counting down the Southeast’s best all summer long and it’s been a waiting game to see where our best player would land. Here’s a bit of what they had to say about Bud:

The second and more dominant Kentucky pass rusher in the Top 100, Dupree teams up with Za’Darius Smith to generate the most talented set of bookends the Wildcats have had in the last decade, leaders on what assistant D.J. Eliot hopes is a potent defense this fall. Dupree is Kentucky’s most valuable player defensively, a multi-position tackler in relentless pursuit of the football who can stand up at outside linebacker or be unleashed at the snap from a traditional three-point stance.

[Read what else SDS had to say about Bud and his NFL future: No. 37 Alvin Dupree, Kentucky]

Bud Dupree recorded 6 sacks last season but with another off season under Stoops I bet he’ll be shedding more blockers and getting to the QB. Bud is exactly the type of player you want on the end of your line when you have to face off with running backs like Todd Gurley, Mike Davis, and Terrence Magee this season.Hopefully Bud, Z, and the rest of a line can put a stop to the 100+ yard rushers we allowed 6 times last season.

For the past three seasons Bud has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise poor era. This year he deserves the success and accolades for all the hard work he’s put in while at Kentucky. If Kentucky can find a way to win 5 or 6 you know a big reason will be the play of Bud Dupree.

 


Mudiay’s decision surprisingly an unpopular one among his peers

Emmanuel_Mudiay_838_-_adidas_Nations_600_399
Reports have been released today from sources stating that Emmanuel Mudiay has opted out of playing college basketball and has instead signed a one-year deal worth more than $1 million. Mudiay had previously committed to play at SMU, over Kentucky and Kansas, however changed his mind for a reason which isn’t entirely known by the public. Some think it has to do with financial problems at home, while others believe it had to do with academic eligibility issues due to his two years spent at Prime Prep.

While rumors of academic eligibility have come into question, it is hard to believe he would not have been declared eligible before the season started. Prime Prep alums Jordan Mickey and Karviar Shephard both were able to enroll and were cleared academically after getting a waiver through the eligibility center.At the same time, lots of players have had had family issues, but have still decided to attend college and wait for the money.

When I first heard this news, I thought he made a stupid decision. However, after thinking about it, lI was surprised this hasn’t become a trend over the years since the NBA started the age rule. When you think about it, in the mind of a high school senior, the pros would definitely outweigh the cons of playing overseas.

While it would be hard to adapt to a new country and culture in such a short time with no family around, you would also be bringing in almost $20k a week (That number makes me depressed) and have all the freedom a kid could ask for. Not to mention no more ‘pop quizzes’ or the stress that comes with school. Best of all, you wouldn’t have the NCAA breathing down your neck every decision you make.

Seems like a solid deal. So why hasn’t this become more of a trend among American born players? While we are on the subject, can we expect more of this if the NBA increases the rule to having to play two years of college before you are eligible for the draft?

No. Because no one does basketball quite like they do in colleges across America.

Players who head directly overseas after high school are just thrown into the ‘bullpen’, with only training they received in high school. Like the NBA, there is little chance for ‘practice’ and proper training, other than what you learn in games.

The future college basketball stars are smart enough to know this.

Playing a year of division one basketball prepares players for the NBA far better than playing overseas. College basketball has some of the best up-and-coming players in the world, with the best competition and plenty of practice time to learn everything they need to know before going to the NBA.

In reality, while going overseas would be the easiest decision, the best decision would be to stay in the US and learn proper basketball by the best coaches the world has to offer. While many think the kids coming out of high school are immature, I believe it is a pretty mature decision to not follow the money and stay around to learn basketball the correct way.

Could you imagine a Kentucky team if all the nation’s best players went to play overseas? That would make for some pretty boring basketball. We should be thankful there isn’t a trend of this and hope that Mudiay doesn’t start one.

@Sealey_KSR


Should we worry about George Brown Jr.’s Twitter account?

Kentucky has been in good standing with George Brown Jr. for a long time now, but a recent change to his Twitter account has many UK football fans worried in the days before his announcement this Friday.

Coming off his recent visit to Gainesville, Brown began following several Florida football accounts, from former players to assistant coaches and beat writers. Almost one-third of the 91 accounts he follows appear to be Gator-related (by my very unofficial count), making me wonder if we’ll be receiving bad news when he announces.

Or maybe I’m just paranoid and need to get outside for some sunshine. Following recruits on the internet tends to make us all a little crazy from time to time. Kentucky leads with 88 percent of the vote in his Crystal Ball predictions, so maybe I should direct my attention away from his Twitter page and toward that.

I guess we’ll know for sure in a few days.

brown-jr


LSU freshman likely out for the season after fighting a glass window in the football facility

LSU’s Trey Lealaimatafao is likely out for the year after suffering a gruesome injury in the team’s weight room yesterday. The freshman defensive tackle was upset over an argument with his girlfriend and took it out on a glass window between the weight room and indoor practice facility. According to NOLA.com, the glass “tore through” his bicep, leaving the bone exposed for all to see. (Excuse me while I vomit.) Initial reports said he was facing a possible arm amputation, but that has since been retracted.

There is a lesson in this for all of you young men out there: Don’t punch glass. And don’t let a female get you down, especially if you’re a freshman in college. There are too many fish in the sea.


James Young’s fight for minutes in Boston just got tougher

The shooting guard and small forward positions in Boston are getting crowded, making it even tougher on James Young to work his way up the rotation. The Celtics re-signed starting shooting guard Avery Bradley last week and, today, added free agent Evan Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010. To make matters worse for Young, Marcus Smart, the C’s first pick in this year’s draft, is expected to see significant time at the 2-guard spot as well. Brad Stevens tried him there in the summer league and plans to continue using him off the ball.

Young won’t have any more luck at small forward, where Turner and Jeff Green will see most of the minutes. 13-year veteran Gerald Wallace, the team’s second-highest paid player, will also be in the mix.

There is also the option of trading Young in a deal for Kevin Love, although there are several other teams competing in the Love Sweepstakes. Boston believes it is still in the mix to pull the big man away from Minnesota and the former Cat would look good with Jared Sullinger in a trade.

But no matter where or how he is used, Young will have to put in a lot of work if he hopes to see significant time on the court in his rookie season. Missing the summer league certainly didn’t help his chances, either.


Caleb Swanigan talks about his recruitment

After stealing the spotlight in a game against Cheick Diallo and Thomas Bryant at the Peach Jam, Caleb Swanigan picked up an offer from Kentucky and landed an in-studio interview with a Fort Wayne news station. 247Sports’ fifth-ranked center sat down with WANE yesterday to discuss his recruitment and the development of his game this summer.

Swanigan, who hit two buzzer-beating threes to force two overtimes against the loaded Team Scan, called himself “the best rebounder in the country.” See for yourself in the video below:

We’ll have a full profile of Swanigan on the website tomorrow.


UK is one of Athlon Sports’ Most Improved Football Teams in 2014

dupree

Your University of Kentucky Wildcats fell into the “Better… But It May Not Show In The Win Column” category in Athlon Sports’ feature on college football’s most improved teams. UK is one of five schools in the second tier of improved teams and it’s “trending in the right direction,” the author writes.

Kentucky

It’s going to take coach Mark Stoops a few years to build Kentucky’s roster into one that can consistently compete for bowl games in the SEC. However, the Wildcats are trending in the right direction. Kentucky signed the No. 22 class in 2014, an improvement after inking the No. 34 recruiting haul in ’13. Those two totals are the best two classes the Wildcats have brought in over the last five years, and all signs point to another standout group coming to Lexington in 2015. With the improvement in talent, it should start to show on the field for Stoops. Kentucky went 2-10 in Stoops’ debut but lost two SEC games by a touchdown or less. Finding a quarterback is the top priority for coordinator Neal Brown, and Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and touted freshman Drew Barker will all contend for time in the fall. The talent at the skill positions has improved, and Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard should team with Jojo Kemp to form an effective one-two punch in the backfield. Stoops’ specialty is on defense, and that’s an area of focus this offseason after allowing 6.8 yards per play in SEC games. Kentucky should be able to win three of its non-conference matchups and could steal a win in conference play this year.

Florida also gets some love from Athlon because the Gators “can’t be any worse.”

Read the entire list here.


Damien Harris made breakfast and OMG OHIO STATE CUP

WHAT IS HE TELLING US? IS THIS A SIGN OF WHAT’S TO COME?????? AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

131 days until he announces his decision…


Maker’s Mark put Tom Jurich on a bottle because… I don’t know why Maker’s Mark put Tom Jurich on a bottle

Much like his basketball team does every time it plays UK, Tom Jurich got waxed this morning. The Louisville AD dipped his new commemorative Maker’s Mark bottle in black wax to celebrate its release. Bottles will go on sale later this week and proceeds will go to aid in fundraising for a new academic center at Louisville.

If you’re interested in purchasing a bottle, you need to reevaluate your life.


Mudiay signs one-year deal in China worth $1.2 million

mudiay

Emmanuel Mudiay, Kentucky’s top point guard target in the 2014 class, picked SMU over the Cats and Kansas, but it is the People’s Republic of China that wins his services in the end. ESPN is reporting Mudiay signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million to play professional basketball in the land of canned air and orange chicken.

Mudiay insists his decision to chase the money over college is to provide for his mother, but it is believed he is running from the NCAA. There were concerns with his eligibility and he was worried, one source told ESPN.

What we thought was Calipari’s worst loss in recruiting since coming to UK proved to be a blessing. Had Mudiay committed to UK, like everyone expected, BBN wouldn’t have four years of Tyler Ulis to look forward to.