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September 14th, 2014

Get To Know The Dowell Twins


The University of Kentucky football program has a ton of visitors scheduled to attend Saturday’s game, coming from all over this side of the United States. Several four and five-star prospects will be in Lexington to take in the sights and sounds of a night game in Commonwealth Stadium against a quality SEC opponent in South Carolina.

Each and every one of the guests is important, but one carload from the Cleveland area may be worth keeping a closer eye on. I’m talking about the car that will carry Andrew and David Dowell, the highly-touted twin brothers UK has been all over lately. Interest has been warming up from both parties and an impressive October weekend visit could be just what Kentucky needs to seal the deal.

Tonight, let’s get to know the Dowell twins so they feel a little more welcome around Big Blue Nation this weekend. If any of you find yourself near them on Saturday, I’m not telling you to say hello but you should say hello. Make them feel at home in Lexington in the sea of blue.

So here they are, Brothers Dowell…

Running Back
Lakewood, OH
6-1 | 211

247Composite: 26 RB | 304 OVR
247Sports: 44 RB
Rivals: 29 RB
Scout: 22 RB | 164 OVR

Safety/Wide Receiver
Lakewood, OH
6-1 | 180

247Composite: 16 S | 243
247Sports: 13 S
Rivals: 14 ATH
Scout: 19 WR | 158


They were committed to Northwestern.

The four-star twins originally committed to Northwestern University on April 13 of this year, but reopened their recruitment in late July. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has a strict rule for his verbal commits: If you visit other schools, your scholarship offer is rescinded. Well, the Dowells got curious about life outside of Northwestern, and Fitzgerald followed through with his policy.

Their high school was ranked No. 1 in the nation earlier this season.

Before losing back-to-back games in its last two outings, the Dowell’s St. Edward High School football team was ranked No. 1 nationally in the rankings. The team will travel to Youngstown this Friday night to try to get back in the win column against Cardinal Mooney, the former high school of Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.


They are teammates of Alex Stump, a current Kentucky football commit.

Stump, a four-star wide receiver, committed to the University of Kentucky back in early May. He suits up with the Dowells for St. Edward High in Lakewood, Ohio.

Stump recently picked up an offer from Ohio State and will visit the Buckeyes this weekend. He admitted to rethinking his commitment to UK recently, saying, “I would say at this point I don’t know.”

Another St. Edward teammate, 2016 athlete Tony Butler, also has an offer from Kentucky.

Stoops and Marrow watched them during UK’s bye week.

The two Kentucky coaches traveled an hour north to watch the Dowells, Stump and Butler against Elder in Cincinnati during the weekend off after the Florida game.

The Dowells visited Lexington on August 2.

They’re also considering Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.

Vanderbilt once led with over 70 percent of the Crystal Ball votes for each player, but Kentucky has since taken the lead in the last month. Wisconsin is also in the picture, though chances are slim they’ll become Badgers.

Andrew will likely play safety, David at corner.

Listed as a running back and safety by most recruiting services, the Dowell twins are being recruited as football players. The belief is they will both end up on the defensive side of the ball in college, with Andrew playing safety and David playing corner. That’s far from a sure thing, though.  They have the talent to play anywhere. With Andrew’s size, he could even move closer to the line and play linebacker. They are so versatile.

They recreated the Manning brothers’ ‘This Is SportsCenter’ commercial.

They’re fans of Tim Couch.

David Dowell retweeted a photo of Tim Couch in a Browns uniform and the caption,”RE2PECT.” As natives of the Cleveland area and presumed UK leans, I assume the retweet was an endorsement of the original poster’s respect for Couch.

They sure would look good in a Kentucky uniform.


Cats are Ready in Today’s Practice Notes

— After coming off his first SEC win against Vanderbilt, Patrick Towles knows Saturday night is going to be much more of a challenge. After having problems with ball security in the game against Vandy, Towles says he fixed the problem and is more focused.

Neal Brown’s ability to involve the running backs in the pass game has been a great weapon for Towles.

“It doesn’t always have to be a hand off or a pitch. They’re great playmakers and do well in space. If I throw the ball for three yards and it goes for 60 that looks really good. And it feels really good too.”

— Elliot praised Steve Spurrier’s offense and says, “he will get you”. Elliot knows that his defense will have their hands full with one of the best running backs in the SEC with Mike Davis. “Mike Davis is an excellent player. He is big and fast. He makes great reads, he can change directions and he can run you over,” Elliot said.

“Our last game was one of our best executing games we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Elliot said. His defense is executing the blitz the way he likes which will be key for Saturday. Compared to Connor Shaw who liked to run the ball, Dylan Thompson is more of a pocket passer quarterback.

— Elliot praised Blake McClain on his love to blitz from the secondary. Elliot joked that McClain tells him, “whenever in doubt, blitz.”

Well for one, they just have a knack for timing on when to burst and hit it without showing it and being on sides. Blake has done that very well at times. And they have to have that desire to get there, that extra effort,” Elliot said.

— As the season has progressed, we have come to see a defense that can really stack up in the SEC. The defensive line has been stellar all year and continues to improve each week. Today the defensive line dominated the offensive line in team period.

Bud Dupree started calling his defense the “Bad Boys” so they would have this mentality to start “thinking a certain way.” During the team drill the defense was very enthusiastic about their performance, shouting “bad boys” over and over.

— Let’s hope this mentality will carry on to Saturday and the rest of the season. Like Towles said, we are counting up to a bowl game, but three down, three more to go. #BLACKOUT



Patrick Towles says UK’s been working for this moment since January

© Kim Klement

© Kim Klement

With one SEC win under his belt, Patrick Towles is ready for more. Towles told reporters today that “since January, we’ve been working for this moment right here.” In fact, when asked if a win over South Carolina would put UK in the SEC race, Towles said “We feel like we’re in the SEC race right now.”

Gotta love that confidence. Let’s do this.

Calipari and crew met with Doc Rivers today

After seeing Stephen Zimmerman and Derryck Thornton in Vegas yesterday, John Calipari and his staff met with Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers staff this morning to talk about whatever coaching staffs talk about together. Cal posted this update on social media earlier today:

The staff and I met with Doc Rivers and his staff this morning to pick his brain about some things and talk about the challenges we will face this season. We really got a lot out of the meeting. Doc has an all-star staff. Thanks to Doc, Armond, Brendan, Lawrence, Woody and Sam.

Cool. Once Cal was back in Lexington, he filmed this video of Tyler Ulis running really fast during a Combine drill:

As Ryan Lemond would say, look at that little waterbug go!

Your daily reminder that Willie Cauley-Stein is really tall…


…or maybe that lady is just extremely short.

Jets sign John Conner to a one-year deal

Noah K. Murray/ The Star-Ledger

Congrats to John Conner, who just signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. The New York Giants cut Conner in August, but Tommy Bohanon’s broken collarbone will give Conner another chance with the team that drafted him. Before playing with the Giants last season, Conner played with the Jets from 2010-2012 and also played with the Bengals in 2012.

It’s a happy reunion, as Conner was one of Rex Ryan’s favorites during his time in New York. In fact, Ryan was the one who gave Conner the nickname “The Terminator” for his toughness on the field and you know, the movie.

Congrats to a very under-appreciated former Cat.

Oddsmaker says Kentucky would be favored over Louisville now

[UK Athletics/Robert Burge]

It wasn’t long ago that Louisville was considered a major favorite in November’s matchup against Kentucky. At the Golden Nugget, the Cards were favored by a whopping 15 points. A month into the season, the Cats are 3-1 and the Cards 4-1, but both teams seemed to be moving in opposite directions in momentum. Kentucky almost upset Florida and got their first conference win in two years last week over Vandy, while Louisville lost to Virginia and barely beat Wake Forest.

A big tip of the ole hat to Courier-Journal columnist Adam Himmelsbach, who contacted Aaron Kessler, the sportsbook supervisor at the Golden Nugget Casino, to see what the odds would be if Kentucky and Louisville played each other now. Kessler said Kentucky, previously a 15-point dog to the Cards, would now be favored by two or two and a half points

“Now, I’d definitely see Kentucky favored, regardless of where they played,” Kessler said. “With the game at Louisville, right now it’d probably be Kentucky favored by two or two and a half.”

Coming off a bye week potentially with a bowl bid on the line, #WhyNot?


Forecast looking downright chilly for Saturday night

Don’t forget your booties on Saturday because it’s going to be cold out there at Commonwealth Stadium. Saturday night’s forecast says temperatures will be in the 40′s around kickoff and dip into the upper 30′s for the overnight low. Brr! Concession crews, start stocking up on those hot chocolate packets now.

Will the nip in the air favor the Cats over the Gamecocks? It certainly can’t hurt. Either way, it’s perfect chili weather. I can smell the farts in the press box now.

MKG’s shooting form finally back to normal

Good news! After a two-year hiatus to crazy town, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s shooting form is back to normal. Check out this video the Hornets posted on Instagram today. Now, compare it to these pictures of MKG’s form last season:

Looks like all that hard work this summer is paying off.

Dakari Johnson says to expect a lot more dunks from him this season

Dakari Johnson looks like a totally different player this season. Over the weekend, John Calipari said that Dakari is down to 8% body fat, which he attributes to a summer of hard work with Rock Oliver and team nutritionist Monica Fowler. “I feel like I changed my body and I feel more comfortable now,” Dakari said. “I run the floor much better, I feel like I’m more mobile, I can move around better.” What can we expect from a slimmed down Dakari this season? “A lot more dunks,” Dakari said. “It’s going to help my game a lot more on the offense and defensive ends.”

Ryan also asked Dakari about his mom, Makini Campbell, who was a familiar sight in the stands last season and walking to and from the arena in the Bahamas. With her Kentucky basketball #44 “MOMMY” jersey, Makini is easy to spot, but if you don’t see her, you’ll hear her. Makini, a former college basketball player herself, regularly yells out tips to her son during games. “She is intense, she used to play college basketball, so she really takes that to heart,” Dakari laughed. “During the game, I’m always looking for my mom, so she’ll try to give me tips.”

No tips here. Not even on your dancing.


With Boom and Dorian Baker out, expect more JoJo and Javess


On today’s SEC Coaches’ Teleconference, Mark Stoops didn’t sound too worried about not having Boom Williams and Dorian Baker this week. Stoops said that at running back, he’ll stick with Braylon Heard and JoJo Kemp, with JoJo specifically being in the mix early on. “JoJo did a really good job at the end of the game, kind of salting that game away and getting some direct snaps and really having some great runs. We’ll try to get him in the mix right from the start,” Stoops said. “We’ll just have to spread it around a little bit.”

At wide receiver? Expect a healthy Javess Blue to step up once again. “Javess is back to full strength, he’s getting his wind back up underneath him, his legs underneath him and he’s healthy, so Javess will have to carry a big part of that load. With Dorian out, Rashad Cunningham will have to step up and do some big things for us as well.”

With the distractions behind them, Stoops said his team is ready to roll against South Carolina. “We’ll have our hands full, we’re excited to play and it will be a great atmosphere in Commonwealth this weekend, so our kids are up for the challenge and it’s been a great week of preparation so far.”

Pack Commonwealth. Beat Spurrier.

KSR Outtakes: When Ryan asked Marcus Lee about the time he felt him up


Vince Marrow says get your dice ready…

Dowell Twins, come on down?

Steve Spurrier says QB Dylan Thompson will play on Saturday

Steve Spurrier just wrapped up his time on the SEC Coaches’ Teleconference this morning, and said starting QB Dylan Thompson practice yesterday and will be able to go against Kentucky this weekend. Thompson sprained his neck during South Carolina’s loss to Missouri this past weekend. So far this season, he’s 109-179 for 1,359 yards, 12 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

Once again, Spurrier played nice and complimented Mark Stoops and his staff on the job they’ve done so far. In fact, he said Kentucky is “very capable of beating every team they play” this season. Whoa. What’s next, Spurrier starts wearing shirts on the beach??

Isaiah Briscoe was “very, very impressed” by Kentucky

Isaiah Briscoe is back in New Jersey after his official visit to Kentucky, which his EYBL coach Jimmy Salmon told Adam Zagoria left him “very, very impressed.” Briscoe visited both UConn and UK this past weekend, and Salmon said that while the “intimacy” of UConn appeals to him, he was wowed by “the machine” that is Kentucky basketball.

We finally have confirmation that Briscoe picked up a scholarship offer during his trip, and before he headed to Kentucky, Briscoe said that he would be comfortable not being “the man” at Kentucky if it helps him get to the NBA.“I might not be the man [at Kentucky], but I will shine,” Briscoe told ZagsBlog, “and the spotlight don’t gotta be all on me and I don’t need all the pressure on me. At the end of the day if we win, everybody’s going to reach their ultimate goal, which is to go to the NBA.”

Briscoe’s visits to UConn and UK gave him “a lot to think about,” and he has visits lined up to Missouri on October 11 and St. John’s on October 17. St. John’s is still considered the favorite in Briscoe’s Crystal Ball, but Kentucky has narrowed the gap to 38%/32%.