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Cats in the NFL

The Name of the Game for NFL Cats: Stay Healthy


There are cliches in every sport, but like most things, football reigns supreme.  The reason why the coach-speaky cliches remain is that there’s truth to every one of them.

“One of the two most important abilities for any player in this league is durability and availability.”

It’s a reality all NFL players face, but one Randall Cobb has learned all too well over the last two years.  Cobb told ESPN his primary goal this season is to change his injury luck from bad to good.  The easiest way to control the seemingly uncontrollable: know when you can’t go.

“I’ve had a little bit of an issue with that the last couple years being banged up and missing a few games, trying to play through games I probably shouldn’t have been in. That’s something I have to try to do. I have to try to stay healthy and do everything that I can.”

Despite his recent rash of injuries, the Packers are willing to make Cobb a punt returner this season to get more touches.  He has three return touchdowns in his career, but none since 2012.

Another Wildcat needs to prove he can take returns to the house, or he might not make the roster.  Cincinnati Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons said prior to training camp, “It has to be one of his unique skill-sets,” in order for Boom to make the 53-man roster.  To show off those skills, Boom has to be healthy, which has not been the case.  Yesterday Williams left practice early with cramps, something that plagued him throughout his time at Kentucky.

To end on a positive note, Super Bowl Champion Danny Trevathan returned to the field for the first time in a limited capacity.  After inking  a $25 million deal with the Bears prior to the 2016 season, Trevathan ruptured his patellar tendon in late November.  They didn’t believe he’d be back in time for training camp, but yesterday Trevathan was able to participate in individual, non-contract drills with the linebackers.

“It felt so good to be back out there, man,” Trevathan told the Chicago-Tribune after practice. “I felt like I was back to my normal self. But (everyone) did a good job telling me to keep calm and just slow it down.”

It will be good to see Trevathan and all of the NFL Cats back on the field when the season kicks off September 10.

John Wall and Randall Cobb are headed to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame

John Wall and Randall Cobb are headed to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame

If you’re listening to KSR, you just heard DeWayne Peevy announce some big news. John Wall and Randall Cobb headline the 2017 UK Athletics Hall of Fame class, which also includes Collin Cowgill (baseball), Ralph Hacker (broadcaster), Sherry Hoover Bordner (cross country/indoor track/outdoor track), and Sarah Rumely (volleyball). The group will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend, Sept. 22-23, in conjunction with the football home game vs. Florida.

Check out bios of each member below, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Sherry Hoover Bordner, Cross Country/Indoor Track/Outdoor Track, 1986-89

A seven-time All-America honoree … Won SEC championships in the mile and on a pair of relay teams during her career … Set 10 school records during her career, including outdoor records in the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, 4×800 meter relay and the distance medley relay, and indoor records in the 1,500 meter run and 4×800 meter relay … Broke outdoor freshman record in the 800 meters and indoor freshman records in the 1000-yard run, 1,500-meter run and the mile … Member of the 1988 national champion cross country squad, which remains the only women’s national championship team at UK.

Randall Cobb, Football, 2008-10

Arguably the most versatile, dynamic playmaker in UK football history as a wide receiver, quarterback, punt returner and kickoff returner … First-team All-America as a junior … Two-year first-team All-SEC … Set SEC single-season record for all-purpose yardage (2,396 yards in 2010) … Set UK career record for touchdowns (37), although he played only three seasons … Clutch player who scored five game-winning fourth-quarter touchdowns in his career, vs. Arkansas, Louisville and South Carolina at home, also at Auburn and Georgia … Left UK after his junior season and was a second-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers … Has been a star wide receiver during his six-year career with the Packers, making the 2011 NFL All-Rookie Team and being selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2014 season … Returned to UK and finished his degree. 

Collin Cowgill, Baseball, 2005-08

One of the top players in Kentucky baseball history, paced UK from a last-place finish in 2005 to its first-ever SEC Championship in 2006 … First-team All-America in 2008 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, leading UK to a then-record 44 wins and a berth in the NCAA Tournament … Also first-team All-SEC by the league coaches … A two-time Academic All-America selection … Ranks among the UK career leaders in runs, homers, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, sac bunts, sac flies, hit by pitches and steals … Fifth-round pick by Arizona in the 2008 MLB Draft … Reached the majors in 2011 and has played for the Diamondbacks, the Oakland Athletics, the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians.

Ralph Hacker, Broadcaster, 1966-2000

Spent 34 years on the UK Radio Network … Served as the men’s basketball analyst for many years with legendary broadcaster Cawood Ledford … Following Ledford’s retirement, he took over play-by-play duties for eight years, including UK’s 1996 and 1998 national championship seasons … The play-by-play voice of the Wildcat football team for five seasons … Was president of HMH Broadcasting, building a prominent network that featured then-UK flagship station WVLK … Also hosted head coaches’ pregame and postgame shows, as well as the weekly “Big Blue Line” call-in shows … All totaled, he was on the radio call for three men’s basketball national championships, seven Final Fours and four football bowl games. 

Sarah Rumely, Volleyball, 2006-09

Only player in program history to be named SEC Freshman of the Year (2006) and SEC Player of the Year (2008) … Two-time AVCA All-American … Four-time All-SEC … Academic All-American third team … Led team to NCAA Tournament four times, including the Sweet 16 in 2009 … Finished career owning UK records in career assists (5,703) and aces (165) … 5,703 career assists also ranked fifth all-time in SEC history … Capped career ranking in the top 10 in sets played (3rd), block assists (9th), digs and attack percentage (10th) … Only player to record a triple-double in a match in program history (10 kills, 56 assists, 18 digs vs. Ole Miss) … Led team to No. 7 national ranking in ‘09 … Played professionally overseas … Currently an assistant coach at LSU.

John Wall, Men’s Basketball2010

First national player of the year in program history as winner of the Adolph Rupp Trophy … Named 2010 USBWA National Freshman of the Year … Consensus first-team All-American … 2010 SEC Player of the Year by Associated Press and SEC Coaches … SEC Freshman of the Year by the AP … First-team All-SEC … Named SEC Tournament MVP … Led UK to a No. 1 national ranking, SEC regular-season championship and the SEC Tournament championship … Set single-season assists record with 241 assists (broken 2016 by Tyler Ulis) … Averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists … First No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick in UK history … Four-time NBA All-Star through first seven seasons, averaging double-figure scoring every season … Tabbed third-team All-NBA in 2017 … Washington franchise career leader in assists and steals.

I think this calls for a little T-Rev, don’t you?


Checking in on NBA Cats in the Summer League

Checking in on NBA Cats in the Summer League

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cats continue to take over the NBA Summer League, three of them taking the court last night.

Skal Labissiere continues to make waves with the Sacramento Kings, helping lead them to a 93-87 win over the Phoenix Suns. Labissiere went for 12 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes last night, earning a starting position.

Of course, De’Aaron Fox did not play in last night’s game as he’s out for the rest of the summer league with a minor ankle injury.

For Philadelphia, Isaiah Briscoe earned a start while Aaron Harrison came off the bench in the 76ers 99-82 loss to Chicago. In 21 minutes, Briscoe was able to get six points, four assists and two rebounds. Harrison, on the other hand, gathered five points and three rebounds in 16 minutes.

Also on the 76ers roster was Alex Poythress who did not play.

These guys help make the Summer months without college basketball a little more bearable just for a while.

Avery Williamson to host KSR tomorrow

Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson will try his hand at carrying Tuesday’s Kentucky Sports Radio radio show. A former All-SEC selection in his senior season at Kentucky, Williamson will be on to tell old tales from his four seasons as a Wildcat and what’s it like playing professionally for the next Super Bowl championship team. (Go Titans.)

Be sure to give Avery a call to talk football or whatever is on your mind. He is excited to host and would love to hear from Big Blue Nation.

Ten o’clock Tuesday morning. Tune in.

Bud Dupree Reflects on Second NFL Season

Getty Images

Bud Dupree’s second NFL season was filled with obstacles, but the former Kentucky defensive end found a way to finish strong for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The preseason was filled with lofty expectations for the Steelers’ 2015 first round pick, expectations that could not be met thanks to a preseason injury.  Described as a groin/abdominal injury (a.k.a. hernia), Bud was placed on injured reserve.  He initially did not expect to play at all last year.

One of the hardest workers in the biz, Bud was able to return for the final seven games of the regular season.  It took three games for him to get his feet wet, but when he returned to the starting lineup, he returned with a bang.  Dupree had 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks in a snowy road game at Buffalo.  For the final four games of the regular season and three playoff games, he was a menace in the backfield, accumulating 35 tackles, 5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Hear how Bud overcame adversity to get his groove back in this interview with

Now Dupree understands his body and the Steelers defense.  If he can remain healthy, he can turn into one of the NFL’s best on the edge in 2017.

UKFootball | IG

Former Wildcat Todd Perry Inducted into KY Pro Football Fall of Fame


Former Kentucky offensive guard Todd Perry was one of six inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame last night in Lexington.

The Elizabethtown native was an All-SEC performer for Bill Curry in 1992.  A fourth round selection by the Chicago Bears, Perry spent eight seasons in Chicago and finished his 11-year career in 2003 after three years in Miami.  Before the induction ceremony, Perry caught up with his former teammate Freddie Maggard.

Perry wasn’t the only Wildcat honored last night.

Nick Haynes, Perry, Courtney Love and Mike Edwards via @UKFootball.

Mike Edwards, Nick Haynes, Courtney Love and Stephen Johnson were honored as members of the All-Commonwealth Team.  The quarterback could not make it to the event because Johnson is spending time in New Orleans, improving his game at the Manning Passing Academy.

The gang also ran into a sharp-dressed Marty Moore.

UKFootball | IG

The emcee of the event cleaned up pretty well.

Don’t worry Lexington drivers. This photo was taken by Amanda.

Sorry to include this unflattering photo of your bald spot Mr. Lemond, but I had to.  It’s in my contract.

UK Football | IG

Two Fantastic Stats About the NFL Cats

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At Kentucky Sports Radio, the blog never sleeps.  We blog till we fall.  However, finding original statistical concoctions in said blogs are few and far between.  That’s not the case at Pro Football Focus.

While I use my fingers to count how many days till football season, they’re crunching next level numbers.  Even though the Cats in the NFL don’t receive the same hype as the NBA Cats, they’re pretty damn good.

Defensively, UK’s linebackers are some of the best in the business.  The Cats have three of the ten best run stoppers in the NFL.  According to PFF’s Run Stop Rate, a metric I don’t entirely understand, Avery Williamson is at 10.6 percent, Wesley Woodyard is at 11.4 percent and Danny Trevathan is at 12 percent.  What those numbers mean, I do not know exactly, but I’m pretty sure it translates to “don’t run it their way.”

Offensively, two former Kentucky pass-catchers have some of the best hands in the League.  Last season, only five NFL players were targeted more than 30 times without a drop.  Two of them were Wildcats.  Randall Cobb had 60 catchable targets; he did not drop one.  Jacob Tamme’s season ended early, but before it was finished he proved he’s a sure-handed tight end, failing to drop one pass in 30 targets.  Hopefully some of this year’s Cats are taking notes.

98 days till football season.

Marcus McWilson signs with the Raiders


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:



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



Bad news for Boom and Bengals fans… 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



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?



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


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.