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Cats in the NFL

Marcus McWilson signs with the Raiders

mcwilson

Another former Wildcat has found a new home in the NFL.

Marcus McWilson, the former UK safety and one of Mark Stoops’ first big commitments at Kentucky, inked a deal with the Oakland Raiders today. The Youngstown, Ohio native shined at UK’s Pro Day back in March and that likely played a big role in his upcoming move to the Bay.

Here he is signing the contract with Vince Marrow by his side:

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

McWilson is the fifth former Wildcat to sign with an NFL team since the draft, along with Boom Williams, Ryan Timmons, JoJo Kemp and J.D. Harmon.


Boom Williams Sidelined with an Injury at Bengals Camp

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

Bad news for Boom and Bengals fans…

Bengals.com is reporting that Stanley “Boom” Williams pulled a hamstring just minutes into the Bengals’ workout on Friday. Prior to the injury, Boom was already in for an up-hill battle to make Cincinnati’s final roster.

Jeremy Hill will undoubtedly be the Bengals’ starter at running back, barring any injury heading into the season. Gio Bernard is their speed back, but he’s coming off of a season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn ACL. With the Bengals’ controversial addition of Joe Mixon in last week’s NFL Draft, that makes the locker room even more crowded. Don’t forget Cedric Peerman, who’s also listed as a running back, and is almost guaranteed a roster spot since he’s been Cincinnati’s special teams captain for years.

All that’s left is Boom. He certainly has the talent to make the final cut, but the Bengals simply don’t have the room. The best case scenario, at least for Boom to make the Bengals, would be for Bernard to start the season on the PUP list. That would open up a spot for Boom during the first 6-11 weeks of the season. After that, he could remain on the practice squad until camps re-open next year.

Unfortunately, Boom’s first opportunity to impress the Bengals’ coaching staff is no more. He’ll likely be sidelined for the remainder of rookie mini-camps, as he allows his hamstring to recover. Training camp in August will be huge for the former Wildcat.

HBO’s Hard Knocks possibly?


JoJo Kemp signs with an NFL team

@UKFootball

@UKFootball

Running back JoJo Kemp just became the latest Kentucky Wildcat to sign a free agent deal with an NFL team following this weekend’s draft. According to UK, Kemp has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Meanwhile, defensive back Blake McClain tweeted that he’s got minicamp try outs with the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins:

Here’s a running tab of which NFL Cats went were in the last few days:

  • Boom Williams: Signed with Cincinnati Bengals
  • JD Harmon: Signed with Cleveland Browns
  • Ryan Timmons: Signed with Chicago Bears
  • JoJo Kemp: Signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Blake McClain: Mini-camp try outs with Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins

Meanwhile, still no news on Kentucky’s top draft prospect, Jon Toth. Toth was considered the fourth best center in the draft by ESPN’s Todd McShay, but, mysteriously, went undrafted. There were rumors he was going to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, but those have since been shot down after rumblings of a potential injury. Hmm.

Stay tuned for more on Toth. In the meantime, congrats to JoJo, Blake, and all the other former Cats who have a chance at making a roster.


Monday’s Top 10: It’s Gonna be May

Good morning, everyone, and happy May Day. While the first day of May is traditionally celebrated with people dancing around a Maypole, nowadays, it’s usually greeted by one of your friends texting or tweeting you a picture of Justin Timberlake in his NSYNC days because you know, it’s gonna be May. I’m going to celebrate by attempting to stay in my chair all day because it hurts too much to walk. Saturday’s Rock ‘N Roll half marathon was brutal, guys. Thankfully, this chair’s got wheels.

Lots going on today, so let’s get to it.

1. UK landed a four-star football commitment last night

Mark Stoops and company got some big news late last night when four-star offensive tackle Darian Kinnard committed, becoming the seventh member of UK’s 2018 class. Kinnard is a massive get — literally. At 6’7″ 336 lbs., he’s a monster, and ranked the 17th best offensive tackle in his class by 247 Sports. The Cleveland, Ohio native picked the Cats over West Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Purdue, and he was also drawing interest from Ohio State.

Welcome aboard, Darian. Stay a while, won’t you?

2. Maybe that’s why Vince Marrow was so swaggy

Kentucky’s recruiting guru was a tweeting machine yesterday, putting a good spin on Kentucky’s disappointing NFL Draft (more on that in a minute). Marrow said Kentucky’s days of not having a player go in the draft are over:

Gotta love the big dawg’s confidence.

3. Cats in the NFL update

Saturday was a surprising day for the program as Kentucky’s two best NFL Draft prospects, Jon Toth and Boom Williams, went undrafted. Boom signed with the Bengals afterwards, but Toth still doesn’t have a home, which is truly bizarre given that he was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick. Yesterday, rumors circulated that Toth signed with the 49ers, but ESPN’s Field Yates shot that down, tweeting that Toth “will soon be fully healthy” and should sign with a team then. Wait, what? He was injured? That’s the first we’re hearing of that.

Meanwhile, Ryan Timmons signed with the Bears and JD Harmon with the Browns. Here’s hoping Toth finds a home soon. Whichever team lands him is getting a heck of a steal.

4. UK Baseball won their series with South Carolina

Nick Mingione’s squad continues its impressive rise, winning the series at South Carolina this weekend, the first time the Bat Cats have beaten the Gamecocks in Columbia since 1999. UK improves to 31-14, leading the SEC East with a 14-7 league mark and tying Western Division co-leaders Mississippi State and Auburn for the overall league lead. On Friday, they got their first win in the series in dominating fashion, beating South Carolina by an astounding score of 19-1, Kentucky’s largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent in school history. Do yourself a favor and watch the highlights below:

They’re getting it done, folks.

5. It was a big weekend for basketball recruiting

The spring live period continues, which means John Calipari was on the road to watch targets at Nike and Under Armour events in Indianapolis. Cal watched pretty much all of his 2018 and 2019 targets, including Marvin Bagley, Cameron Reddish, Javonte Smart, Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley, Moses Brown, and 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, who will visit UK later this week. I’ll have a more detailed rundown on the recruiting weekend for you later this morning.

6. Calipari found a home for his Air Jordan 8 Calipari Pack

Something tells me he’ll still sport a pair on the road on recruiting trips.

7. ICYMI, Hamidou Diallo got an NBA Combine invitation

On Saturday, five Cats received invitations to next week’s NBA Combine: Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, and, yes, Hamidou Diallo. Diallo is the only Cat left who declared for the draft but didn’t sign with an agent. The Combine takes place in Chicago May 9-14 and while Diallo has until May 24 to decide whether or not to stay in the draft, A LOT of that decision could weigh on his performance next week.

8. It’s Derby Week

Can you believe it’s already Derby week? I can’t, but it’s here, which means the city of Louisville will put its best foot (hoof?) forward this week. The draw is Wednesday morning at 11 a.m., and I’ll be honest, I haven’t done a bit of research on this year’s contenders. Thankfully, Chad Lashbrook and the folks at Twin Spires will be by this week to get us ready.

9. Rich Brooks is having a heck of a time on vacation

Nobody does retirement like Rich Brooks, who is currently fishing in the Bahamas:

Is there anyone cooler than Brooks in this picture?

The answer is no. Man is having the time of his life, and I’m super jealous.

10. The KSR Movie Bracket rolls on

The gang will wrap up the KSR movie bracket on today’s show, which means you’ve got an hour to mull over your picks:

— Shawshank Redemption vs. Top Gun
— Wolf of Wall Street vs. Titanic
— Pulp Fiction vs. Silence of the Lambs
— Rocky vs. Lord of the Rings
— Star Wars vs. Batman
— Goodfellas vs. Schindler’s List
— Saving Private Ryan vs. Jurassic Park
— Se7en vs. Forrest Gump

My Final 4: Shawshank Redemption, Rocky, Star Wars, and Saving Private Ryan. Gimme Rocky in an upset.


Jon Toth Not “Fully Healthy” Prior to NFL Draft?

@Jtoeth

@Jtoeth

Well this one’s really starting to be a head scratcher…

Jon Toth has yet to find a home in the NFL. After being projected as the 4th best center available in the 2017 NFL Draft, BBN was shocked to see Toth passed up 253 times. He was almost certain to be selected by somebody. However, here we are the morning after the draft, and now we have reports that Toth may not be “fully healthy”?

As surprising as it was to see him go undrafted, conflicting reports of Toth signing with the San Francisco 49ers have us even more confused. JD Harmon and Boom Williams were quickly signed, as teams immediately hit the undrafted free agent market upon the Draft’s conclusion.  Jon Toth had apparently signed with the 49ers during this rapid process, but NFL insider Ian Rapoport shot that down.

Then this morning, ESPN’s Field Yates says that Toth “will soon be fully healthy” and sign with a team soon.

This tweet even had our very own Freddie Maggard scratching his head…

There were no injuries publicly announced prior to the NFL Draft, but regardless of what it is, it seems to have hurt Toth’s chances of being drafted. You hate to see such a talented young man get passed up. Hopefully, whatever it is keeping Toth below 100%, it heals quickly and we can see him starting at Center once August rolls around.

We will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything, hopefully with news that Toth has signed with another team.


Boom Williams climbs up Mel Kiper’s big board

boom-will

The biggest name in NFL draft coverage has Kentucky’s own Boom Williams moving up his board on draft day.

Mel Kiper, the king of the draft, ranked Williams at No. 150 in his final rankings, which would be a fifth-round selection if the rankings hold up. That’s Williams’ best projection to date and the only one that has him anywhere close to being drafted.

Unfortunately, Kiper lists Jon Toth as his No. 278 overall prospect, which would mean undrafted for the former Wildcat center. Toth’s projections are all over the place, ranging from fourth-round pick to not selected. Toth is No. 169 in Todd McShay’s final rankings.

Neither Wildcat is expected to get picked up tonight or tomorrow, but Saturday is a big day for their football futures.

[ESPN: Mel Kiper’s Final Big Board]


The NFL Draft starts tomorrow, but don’t expect to hear any UK names until Saturday

The NFL Draft begins tomorrow night, but before you plan your night around it, one, don’t because it’s the most boring television event ever; and two, you probably won’t hear any Kentucky players’ names called until Saturday, which is when the fourth through seventh rounds take place.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Todd McShay ranked Jon Toth the fourth best center in the draft, which would be good enough to get him drafted in the fifth round. What about Boom Williams? McShay ranks him the 30th best running back in the draft, likely to go off the board in the seventh and final round. Those are the only two Cats listed in McShay’s rankings.

Meanwhile, McShay’s colleague Mel Kiper ranks Toth the sixth best center, Boom the 21st best running back, and JoJo Kemp the 60th best running back in the draft. Here’s hoping all three find a home, even if it means on a practice squad.

Good luck, boys.

[ESPN]


Toth a fourth-rounder in new NFL mock draft

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

The NFL Draft is only days away and your University of Kentucky Wildcats football team has one former player who is a sure-fire pick in the draft: the one and only Jon Toth, center extraordinaire.

In a new mock draft for FoxSports.com, draft guru Peter Schrager has Toth going in the fourth round to the Carolina Panthers with the 115th overall pick, some nine spots ahead of Wyoming’s Chase Roullier, another center in the draft.

FoxSports.com’s fourth-round projection for Toth is one of his better projections out there as many others — almost all, in fact — have him slotted in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds.

The good people at ESPN.com do not have a mock draft deep enough to project where Toth will go, but the website considers him to be the fourth-best center in the entire draft and the No. 170 available prospect.

If Toth does go in the fourth round or drop to one of the later rounds, he will have to wait until Saturday to hear his name called. This year’s first round is held Thursday evening, followed the second and third rounds on Friday.

If I’m him, I keep a close ear by the phone Friday night.


Via 247Sports

Happy Birthday, Winston Guy!

 

Via 247Sports

Via 247Sports

On this day, we’re wishing a happy birthday to one of the best Kentucky defenders in recent memory, Winston Guy. Guy was a 4-year contributor for the Cats, named to the 2nd-team All-SEC in his senior year, before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.

Hopefully, some of our current crop of Cats can follow in Winston’s footsteps. So happy birthday, Big Guy. Here’s a funny video of you jumping ridiculously high:

@JayWinkKSR


Stevie Johnson is back on the market

Stevie Johnson is back on the market

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Some unfortunate news today for one of our favorite football Cats. Veteran wide receiver Stevie Johnson was released by the San Diego Chargers today. Stevie has been with the Chargers for two years, but battled injuries throughout his time there, only appearing in 10 games in the 2015 season, hauling in 45 catches for 497 yards and three TDs. He was poised for a big year in 2016, but suffered a knee injury in training camp and had to miss the entire season.

Before playing in San Diego, Stevie spent a year with the San Francisco 49ers and six seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Over his career, he’s had 381 catches for 4,764 yards and 34 touchdowns. Hopefully he can find a new home soon.

 

You can’t say “Stevie” these days without adding “got loose,” so let’s watch his famous catch vs. Louisville in 2007:

 


AP Photo - Chris Keane

It’s almost time for Super Bowl LI(t), will Jacob Tamme get a ring?

AP Photo - Chris Keane

AP Photo – Chris Keane

It doesn’t matter if you’re rooting for the cheaters up North or the Cinderella story from the South, we can all come together for one thing today: Jacob Tamme.

The tight end won’t be playing in the game due to a season-ending shoulder injury from week 8 against the Green Bay Packers, but he will be cheering from the sidelines in Houston at 6:30.

So grab your buffalo dip and queso, get a spot on the couch and buckle in for what is sure to be one heck of a night. Make bets with your friends on the over/under of how many times “deflategate” will be mentioned, watch some overhyped commericals, prepare for the hot mess that is sure to be Lady Gaga’s halftime show and depending on the outcome, get photoshop ready for the inevitable crying Jordan/Roger Goodell memes if the Patriots pull it off.


Jason Getz - USA Today Sports

Taking a look back on the NFL season for former Cats

Jason Getz - USA Today Sports

Jason Getz – USA Today Sports

Jacob Tamme (Tight end), Falcons- Super Bowl 11-5

Tamme suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in week 8 against the Green Bay Packers and had to have surgery to repair it. Before getting sidelined, the tight end was tied for the Falcons’ second best scorer with three touchdown and fourth best with 22 receptions for 210 yards.

Bud Dupree (Linebacker), Steelers – AFC Championship loss to Patriots 11-5

Before getting trampled by the Steelers in the AFC Championship, Bud Dupree was having quite the season. Only playing in seven games after coming off an injury, Dupree combined for 24 tackles (only two less than his season total for 19 games last year) and 4.5 sacks.

Randall Cobb (Wide Receiver), Green Bay – NFC Championship loss to Falcons 10-6

David Welker | Getty Images

David Welker | Getty Images

Like Dupree, Randall Cobb and Green Bay ended their season in a blowout loss to the Falcons. Missing some regular season games due to injury, Cobb had a solid season with 870 receiving yards including seven touchdowns and 87 yards rushing.

Larry Warford (Guard), Detriot Lions – Lost to Seahawks in Wildcard Weekend

Warford started in all 15 games that he played in this season, however the Lions allowed for 40 sacks this season.

Za’Darius Smith (Linebacker)/Chris Matthews (Wide Receiver) Baltimore – Didn’t make playoffs

Smith: Combined for 20 tackles.

Matthews: Was on injury-reserve list, did not play. Entering post-season as a restricted free agent.

Wesley Woodyard (Linebacker)/Avery Williamson (Linebacker), Titans – Didn’t make playoffs

@UKStoopsTroops

@UKStoopsTroops

Woodyard: Combined for 57 tackles, 1 interception for a 21 yard takeback.

Williamson: Combined for 103 (!) tackles.

Danny Trevathan (Linebacker), Chicago Bears – Didn’t make playoffs

Appeared in nine games in his first season in Chicago and combined for 66 tackles.

 

Josh Forrest (Linebacker), LA Rams – Didn’t make the playoffs

Played in 10 games for the Rams first season in LA, combined for nine tackles.

 

Corey Peters, Arizona Cardinals – Didn’t make playoffs

In 15 games for the Cardinals, he had 21 tackles.

Stevie Johnson – San Diego (LA) Chargers – Didn’t make playoffs

Suffered season-ending knee injury in training camp.

 


Despite injury, Jacob Tamme making the most of the Super Bowl

Despite injury, Jacob Tamme making the most of the Super Bowl

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@LevineToilolo

If you’re a Kentucky fan, you should be cheering for the Falcons on Sunday night, not only because the Patriots are smug cheaters but because former Cat Jacob Tamme will be on Atlanta’s sideline. Tamme has been sidelined with a shoulder injury for half of the season, but he still made the trip to Houston with his team and, judging by his Twitter account, is making the most of the experience. Check out Tamme’s view of the send-off the Falcons got as they left Atlanta on Sunday:

Today was Media Day at the Super Bowl, and with few reporters hanging out at the Injured Reserve table, Tamme did a Q&A with fans on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 3.00.09 PM

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 2.59.35 PM

Tamme even tackled the toughest question of them all: is a hot dog a sandwich?

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 2.59.43 PM

Agreed. Glad that shoulder’s feeling good enough to hoist the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night.


Farrington Huguenin signs a deal with the Steelers

Good news: former Kentucky defensive end Farrington Huguenin just signed a reserves/future contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Huguenin was picked up by the Miami Dolphins after going undrafted last May, signing a three-year, $1.62 million contract; unfortunately, Huguenin suffered an ankle injury in early August and was waived. At Kentucky, he played in 48 games, recording over 90 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two recovered fumbles. He’ll join fellow former Cat Bud Dupree on the Steelers’ roster.

Congrats, Farrington!


Former Cats Prepare for NFL Conference Championships

nflcats

Are you ready for some football!? 

Welcome to Championship Sunday! The NFL’s best four teams are about to kickoff, playing to earn their spot in Super Bowl 51. Fortunately for the BBN, both games will feature former Wildcats.

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The first match-up will be the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers & the Atlanta Falcons. Randall Cobb has been a man on a mission during the 2017 playoffs, as he looks to continue his success against the Falcons’ defense. Cobb has 12 catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns so far this postseason. He had an amazing game against the Giants two weeks ago, where he caught all three touchdowns, one of which on a crazy “hail mary” pass.

Earlier this week, Falcons’ safety Ricardo Allen praised Cobb for his abilities on the field:

“He can do it all. He can get in the backfield. He was an ex-quarterback, so he can do double passes. He can play running back. He can play slot. He can play inside; he can play outside. He’s a screen guy. Just looking at him a little bit on TV, he kind of reminds me a little bit of Antonio Brown. He’s a good route-runner with good hands and a good intermediate guy. But he can also take you deep. He’s a short and deep-ball threat. He’s probably one of the best wide receivers Poole will go against this whole year.

While Allen mentioned rookie cornerback Brian Poole would be covering Cobb, it now looks like that task will move to Jalen Collins. With the Packers’ Jordy Nelson out with injured ribs, Cobb becomes their number one receiver. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on #18 today.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the field, Jacob Tamme will be sitting on the Falcons’ sidelines. Tamme suffered a season-ending shoulder injury back in November, after being a contributing player in Matt Ryan’s passing game.

The NFC Championship begins at 3:05 pm ET, with live coverage of the game on FOX.

The AFC Championship game will immediately follow the NFC’s. In this hard-nosed match-up, we have the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the New England Patriots. Much like Cobb, Bud Dupree has emerged as a major contributor for his team in the postseason. So far, Dupree has 10 combined tackles and one-half sack in the playoffs, but it’s his pressure on the QB that’s been crucial.

Who could forget that vicious hit on Matt Moore of the Miami Dolphins? Even though it was ruled illegal, it’s this style of play that gains attention around the league. Believe me, Tom Brady knows who wears #48 in black & yellow.

Speaking of Tom Brady, the Texans were able to pressure the elite QB into making mistakes last week. The Steelers’ 3-4 defense hope to continue that pressure. Dupree has been watching the tape, trying to learn how he can rattle the Patriots’ QB in similar fashion:

“We watched it, but they’re probably prepared for that so we probably have to take different angles,” Dupree said. “They’re too good a team to let something like that repeat. They do a lot of great things to systematically try to prevent him from being touched. You got to man-up and win your 1-on-1’s.”

The AFC Championship is set to kickoff at 6:40 pm ET, live on CBS.

Good luck to our former Cats!