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Football Season Coverage
A redemption tale for the ages took place tonight as the Auburn Tigers completed their journey from worst to first. One year ago the Tigers finished winless in the SEC and just 3-9 overall. Now, with a little help, they sit on the precipice of their second BCS title game in 4 years thanks to some good ol’ fashioned running the football. Auburn took down Mizzou in the Tiger clash in an offense orientated onslaught 59-42. New Heisman candidate Tre Mason ran the ball for Auburn a record 46 times for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Tigers would finish with 545 yards on the ground for a new SEC championship record. It’s an unbelievable story and an unbelievable season.
All eyes are now on Ohio State who currently trail 17-7 at the half. Who do you have in the BCS?
The Future is In Kentucky
Ladies and gentleman its the most wonderful time of the year in that county way out west at the Marshall County Hoopsfest. Cal, Kenny Payne, and Coach O caught an early flight (more on that later) and arrived in time to take in future Cat Devin Booker take on the top team in the state Ballard. Booker showed out for the staff as he finished with 40 points in a 92-71 loss. Booker wasn’t the only future Cat to have a big game against Ballard as Trey Lyles and Arsenal Tech took them on earlier in the day. Lyles finished with 27 points in an overtime win including a nice dunk featured on down the page. A nice showing for our future Cats.
Current Cats Get Grounded
After last night’s awful showing in Dallas you would think things couldn’t get any worse for the Cats. Then their flight home gets cancelled. Cal and company caught an early flight to do some recruiting but with winter storm Cleon leaving the big D crippled the Cats found themselves stuck. The last bit of news from the city had the Cats finding another flight available to get them home. Hopefully, they will get back in time to get some rest and practice in before the Broncos come to town this Tuesday.
Kentucky Volleyball Gets The W
While the boys continue to struggle on the hardwood it’s the women of UK who continue to get things done. A quick shoutout to the UK volleyball team who advanced to take on Michigan State tomorrow at 4. Get out to Memorial and support these ladies as the make another NCAA tournament run.
Surprise Recruits on Campus
According to Justin Rowland Marcelys Jones, a four star offensive lineman–currently committed to Ohio State- made his way to Lexington to take in the Cats.
Jones, who has been linked to Kentucky for some time now, is rumored to be a serious candidate to flip from Ohio State to Kentucky come National Signing Day. He has been on campus multiple times now and adding him to the offensive line mix would make for a possibly elite line to stand in front of Drew Barker in the coming years if everything pans out as it could. Also on campus was Marcelys Jones who is visiting through Monday. Jones is a 4-star OG who has also given his verbal to Ohio State. If the Cats could flip one or both it would be a major coup for Stoops and the staff.
So it’s been a tough cold weekend for just about everybody but tomorrow begins a new day and a new week. I’ll be back in the morning to try and move past the Baylor loss and start focusing in on Boise St. The team will get it all figured out, let’s just hope it is in time to land a good NCAA seed.
Much has been made about this football staff’s ability to recruit elite players away from the big dogs. Not nearly enough has been said about how well they have scouted some under-the-radar prospects before getting big bumps in their ratings. While Derrick Kelley has recently decommitted from Kentucky, when he chose the Cats, he was a name that came out of no where. Since then, he has received offers from some of the big boys in college football, including an offer from LSU earlier this week. Even if Kelley doesn’t rejoin the fold–which I believe he will assuming he make his visit next weekend as has been rumored–this sort of scouting will pay off.
Another player that has caught the attention of recruiting analysts after his play this year is Dorian Baker. Baker, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, received a fourth star from Rivals earlier this week. Kentucky fans who follow recruiting were very excited when Baker committed and it was clear that he was an underrated prospect. As football recruits often do (for whatever reason), Baker has decided to proceed with his visits despite being committed to Kentucky. Not to worry, however, as the only visit he currently has planned is taking place right now in Minnesota. I’ve been to Minnesota and if we think it is cold in Lexington this weekend, I can only imagine how miserable it would be to be touring that campus in the 2 degree weather that they are experiencing right now. Not to mention the Viking women that are roaming the campus up there. I don’t think the Cats will lose this one.
Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) of Rivals.com has reported via his Twitter account that two of the most highly-touted recruits in the nation will be officially visiting Kentucky this weekend. Marcelys Jones, a four star offensive lineman–currently committed to Ohio State–and Erick Smith, a four star safety are apparently in Lexington.
Jones, who has been linked to Kentucky for some time now, is rumored to be a serious candidate to flip from Ohio State to Kentucky come National Signing Day. He has been on campus multiple times now and adding him to the offensive line mix would make for a possibly elite line to stand in front of Drew Barker in the coming years if everything pans out as it could (a BIG if).
Erick Smith might be a newer name for some of us. Smith, a four star safety ranked among the nation’s top 150 prospects would be yet another jewel in the recruiting crown that Vince Marrow has been crafting since his arrival in Lexington. Adding him to an already stout secondary recruiting class would be an unheard of achievement here in Lexington and would prove yet again that even with the struggles that this staff faced this season, Kentucky has the right people in place. If Smith were to choose Kentucky, the Cats will have warded off Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and about a dozen other schools to secure his services.
[UPDATE]: Erick Smith did not make the visit to Lexington as earlier reported, however Marcelys Jones is on campus and will be through Monday.
Marcelys Jones is at Kentucky on official visit right now. Glenville teammate Erick Smith is not with him.
— Bill Greene (@BillBankGreene) December 7, 2013
With the football season reaching completion we can take a moment to look back at the season that it was. It was not that long ago that we were all in Nashville filled with hope about this New Era football team. However, it would not take very long to wake up from the dream to realize that it was going to be a pretty tough year. When you listen to all the radio shows and look at the blog posts, they would read something along the lines that the quarterback play would be the one thing that we would not have to worry about. Nevertheless, this would seem to be the Achilles heel for this young Wildcat team. While this was one of many problems, this would seem to be the most obvious. We knew that our defense would struggle and sputter at times, but this Air Raid style of offense would be able to keep us in games and make them interesting to go to. As an observer it was clear to see that our ducks were in a row on defense to the point where if our offense could put a drive together we could have been competitive. To look at other teams that we have lost to, it is clear to see that we could have been in those games if we had only had a decent offense. No one should buy this trash that it is the SEC defenses that were just too stifling to handle. To those people I point to the Western Kentucky game, Vandy game, and Florida game. These teams lost to worse teams than Kentucky, but it was because the players didn’t buy in to the fact that they are good enough yet. This is part of the culture that needs to change in the locker room. A lot of these guys have played for coaches that didn’t believe in themselves. *cough* Joker *cough*
With all of the negatives out of the way it is clear to see that Stoops was the right guy for the hire. I am not ready to give up on the Air Raid, but our run game for the next four years will be a force to be reckoned with. The Cats will have five legitimate running backs (as long as they stay committed and do not get any injuries) that any team in the NCAA would be happy to have. The most excitable guy in the backfield next season is Braylon Heard. This was a guy that absolutely tore it up his freshmen season at Nebraska, but left because he was not on the field enough. For some of you that don’t pay super close attention, this was when that the corn husker fans started to say that we were cheating.
With the back field looking pretty strong for next season we have to now look to the quarterback play. I’ll start by saying that I am not a coach, however I believe that you have to throw Barker in from the beginning. While it may be a little bumpy to begin with this is something that has to happen for this Wildcat team to grow. While we may not have the greatest wide out in the land we have plenty of solid guys that can catch the ball and will continue to develop. (Bearing that they don’t celebrate or look away during warm-ups)
The defense has work to do for the major reason that we are losing quite a bit. The interior of our defense will be taking the biggest hit with both of our tackles graduating. While we have red shirted some guys from the last class, these are still guys that do not have any game experience against the top SEC opponents. When you look at this season though, you can’t help but feel optimistic because of the coaching job that both Stoops and Elliot did with this squad in terms of coaching this defense into a somewhat respectable team. As fans we saw a secondary that was thought to be bad, turn out to make some good plays. Yes I understand that they did give up some big plays, but you have to understand that the expectations were low on this side of the ball. With Stoops’ guys coming in next year it will be exciting to see what they have learned and what type of players we will be getting for years to come.
While we leave the season a bit disappointed, it is clear to see that better days are ahead and we just have to keep our heads and hearts with this team. As fans you can’t think that we are going to become SEC contenders in the first season. With football it is more of a process than in any other sport. It takes a couple of solid recruiting classes before a team can become competitive, even more so in a conference like the SEC. Stoops and the coaching staff are most certainly putting in the work to make sure that we are getting the right guys in here to be a successful team in the future. Just stay with it and know that we will get better every year.
By Bryan the Intern on ©9:10 am
By now, you’ve likely heard Matt’s interview with Mark Stoops on yesterday’s show. Lots of great stuff from the head coach but I was particularly interested in 2 things: that Stoops says it is possible that Kentucky will hold 5 quarterbacks on roster next season and that it is possible Drew Barker could start Game 1 next year. Both of those little nuggets tell me 1 thing: Kentucky has a shaky QB situation, likely not much better than we saw this year. Which doesn’t mean it can’t work. Plenty of teams have had “game managing” QB’s able to lead their team to victories. But you have to have very good players around you. And Kentucky just didn’t this season.
What it makes me wonder is what will the offense look like next season? Because the QB situation will be similar, and Kentucky seems to be bringing in some very good running backs, giving that position maybe the most depth on the team. Just for a perspective, here is what the RB position could look like:
BRAYLON HEARD (JR-Transfer): 5-star transfer from Nebraska
DYSHAWN MOBLEY (JR): 300 yards in 2013, 143 yards against Tennessee
JO JO KEMP (SO): 482 yards in 2013, led team in rushing
BOOM WILLIAMS (FR): 4-star recruit
MIKEL HORTON (FR): 4-star recruit
That is 5 quality running backs. Who knows just how good the 2 new freshman will be, but it appears they could at least have as much impact as JoJo Kemp had this year. And that’s pretty good.
But of course we know that Neal Brown’s offense is generally a more pass happy offense. It is a misperception that the running game is ignored, but I think there is no doubt they ran the ball more often this season than normal in a Brown offense. But he did what he had to do to try and win games. And frankly, Kentucky had zero chance winning by throwing the ball often. Even less a chance than the way they actually called the game.
The problem is fans like passing. They loved Tim Couch and Andre Woodson and Jared Lorenzen slinging the ball around the field. They didn’t like Bill Curry running the option. And when Neal Brown came in, the thought would be the offense would become more exciting. The way I see it though, the roster might be more suited for a run-heavy game next season. Yes, maybe Drew Barker comes in and stars from the beginning, but that’s very unlikely. Even the top QB’s in the country struggle as freshman.
So what should the offense do next season? Assuming running back is the best position, should the offense be much like it was this year and more run heavy? And let’s hope UK just does it better. Or, should you go with the offense you want to run, throw the ball more and take your chances? I think coming into the 2014 season it will be the #1 question for that team. Who will play QB and what kind of offense will we see? As a fan, what do you want to see?
This morning, Mark Stoops called in to KSR to talk about his first season as Kentucky’s coach, the future of the program, and what he thought about UofL assistant coach Clint Hurtt’s comments about the Cats. Enjoy his interview above.
By N. Jourdan on ©2:41 pm
Yes my friends, Urban Meyer’s former trophy boy Tim Tebow is reportedly being sought after to help host the SEC Network’s version of “College Gameday” according to The BigLead.com. According to the sites sources, ESPN (who will own the SEC Network) would have Timmy co-host the show alongside current ESPN personality’s Reece Davis, and Alabama sports radio guru Paul Finebaum. The network is also searching for another former SEC great as well to round out the reported “Gameday” crew.
Now the move would probably be in Tebow’s best interest, considering his day’s as an NFL player are all but behind him now. However, I do think the once great quarterback would add a nice dynamic to the show alongside Davis and Finebaum. Plus, if the SEC is looking for another former player to join the crew, I think I know a man by the name of Mr. Wyndham who’d be more than glad to join in on the fun…
U of L assistant coach and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse rewards member Clint Hurtt recently took a jab at Kentucky football on his Facebook page when he wrote, “Alright I had some idiot Kentucky fan say to me we need to get ready for the Wildcats because their young players got better because they play in the SEC … I said correction you don’t play in the SEC you just participate. You only play when you actually WIN.”
It didn’t take long for Hurtt to delete the idiotic comment (via Bat-phone, I assume) but not before it made its way around the internet. On this morning’s radio show, Matt asked Mark Stoops about the message and his response, though very brief, was brilliant.
“Do you really want me to respond to Clint Hurtt?” Stoops asked. “That’s too easy of a target. Come on, Matt. I can’t respond to him.”
He said it one more time, just in case some of the listeners didn’t get the message.
“It’s too easy of a target,” he reiterated.
By saying he can’t response, Mark Stoops delivered a perfect response.
Next season the Kentucky football team will go through its 3rd season in a row without a definite starting Quarterback. Jalen Whitlow and Max Smith traded duties throughout the year in-between injuries, Reese Phillips and Patrick Towles took the year off with a redshirt, and “God’s gift to Kentucky football” Drew Barker is enrolling in the Spring and will be available for Spring practice. Barker has been the talk of the town throughout, but can a true freshman start at Quarterback for the Cats next year in the difficult SEC? “Absolutely,” was Coach Stoops’ answer this morning on Kentucky Sports Radio.
Coach Stoops also said that he does not expect any on the long list of 5 QBs to leave the team, making for an interesting competition during Spring practice.
During Mark Stoops’ first postseason interview this morning on KSR, Stoops said that all of his assistant coaches will be returning next season. The win/loss column does not depict it well, but Stoops is very pleased with his coaches’ performance, even giving one a promotion. Vince Marrow will now officially serve as the team’s recruiting coordinator. Marrow’s title is now rather extensive, adding to his role as tight ends’ coach and NFL liaison.
There’s plenty more juicy news coming soon, and don’t forget to listen to the full interview on podcast.
Fresh off his first season as Kentucky’s head football coach, Mark Stoops will come on the radio show tomorrow morning in the second hour (11 a.m. to noon) to talk about the season and where UK goes from here. It’s the first interview he’s granted since the season ended.
Got a question for him? Submit it in the comments section and Matt might ask it if it’s really, really good.
Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the fact that Mark Stoops’ first season as Kentucky’s football coach has come to an end, it’s time to start thinking about some of the players we have to say goodbye to, as well as some of the players we will be happy to see returning in the blue and white next year. Some turnover of the roster is to be expected now that Stoops has had more time to recruit the players he wants, while other Pre-Stoops era players have had a chance to evaluate whether or not the Kentucky program will still be a good fit moving forward. It’s also important to consider that some of Kentucky’s juniors will have decisions to make about whether the near future holds a senior season as a Cat or a venture into the NFL.
3 Players We’ll Miss:
Avery Williamson, Linebacker
Williamson was the leading tackler on the team, but was so much more than that for the Kentucky defense this season. Williamson was a positive leader and drew plenty of praise from Mark Stoops for his attitude and work ethic all season long. Williamson became a big time linebacker in the SEC and will be greatly missed next season.
Mister Cobble, Defensive Tackle
Donte Rumph, Defensive Tackle
Both Cobble and Rumph were key members of the defensive line this season, boasting plenty of SEC experience. Their size and experience will be missed, as well as their leadership qualities they developed as seniors.
6 Players We’ll Be Happy to See Return:
Jojo Kemp, Freshman Running back
Kemp led the team in total rushing yards from the running back position with 504 total yards on 100 attempts. Kemp averaged 4.8 yards per attempt and scored 3 TDs on the season. Although Kemp was relegated to splitting time at the RB position this season, he showed flashes of brilliance and big play making ability. Kemp should have himself in a great position to be one of the featured running backs in next year’s offense after gaining a year of plenty of SEC experience.
Ryan Timmons, Freshman Athlete
Timmons did a little bit of everything for the Cats on offense this year. Sometimes it was in the passing game, while other times he was used in the running game. The Kentucky coaching staff quickly realized that Timmons’ speed and ability to break open a big play at any moment made him a dangerous weapon in an offense that didn’t necessarily pack much punch. The future looks to be very bright for Timmons in a variety of forms in Kentucky’s offense.
Jason Hatcher, Freshman Defensive End
Due to some injuries and inspired play, Hatcher ended up getting plenty of early playing time this season behind the likes of Za’Darius Smith and Bud Dupree. You don’t always see guys at the defensive end position who are ready physically and mentally to play right away as a true freshman. Hatcher stepped up on a number of occasions and should only get better with more time to work on his body.
Javess Blue, Junior Wide receiver
Blue led the team in receiving yards with 586 total yards on 43 catches. Blue averaged 13.6 yards per catch, which is fairly impressive. Blue scored 4 TDs on the year to lead all Kentucky receivers, averaging 53.3 ypg. Although the receiving corps wasn’t necessarily a huge strength for Kentucky this season, hopefully some improved QB play in the future will help enhance the games of solid receivers such as Blue.
Nate Willis, Junior Cornerback
Willis wasn’t healthy consistently throughout the season, but Willis helped provide a much more formidable secondary than most Kentucky fans predicted heading into the season. The secondary was supposed to be Kentucky’s biggest weakness, and the defense overall throughout the season was better than anticipated. Willis arrived late due to taking care of some last minute eligibility issues. With a full off-season ahead of him, Willis is poised for a breakout year.
Blake McClain, Freshman Defensive Back
McClain was one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the entire year. McClain was not expected to come in and play such a huge role as a true freshman, but he did just did. McClain isn’t a huge guy, but he got himself in the right position on a number of occasions all season for the Cats. McClain ended up 4th on the team in tackles behind Avery Williamson, Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith. That’s not bad company. McClain ended up with 37 solo tackles and 22 assisted tackles.
5 Players We’ll Be READY to See for the first time/See Return:
Josh Clemons, Redshirt sophomore Running back
Clemons was poised to potentially be Kentucky’s next great playmaker after a strong freshman campaign. Clemons missed the 2012 season with a knee injury before suffering yet another major injury (achilles) causing him to miss this season as well. Only time will tell if Clemons can make a full recovery, but his potential was through the roof and hopefully he will find his way back on to the playing field.
Braylon Heard, Transfer Running back
Heard, a transfer from Nebraska, might be one of the most talented players Stoops brought into last year’s recruiting class. We just haven’t had the chance to really see him yet. Stoops has raved about Heard, who had to redshirt this season. Many believe that Heard could compete for the top running back position next season. Heard was successful at Nebraska last season, putting up over 300 rushing yards.
Ramsey Meyers, Freshman Offensive lineman
Meyers has received plenty of praise from Mark Stoops in his redshirt freshman season. Stoops believes that Meyers’ frame has improved enough to the point where he could move into a starting role next season.
J.D. Harmon, Sophomore cornerback
Harmon had to miss this season due to academic issues. Harmon was expected to be a key contributer in the secondary. Harmon should come back if he’s eligible and compete right away for a starting position. His athleticism is off the charts and he also has some experience.
Regie Meant, Freshman Defensive lineman
Meant, like Meyers, redshirted this year. Meant’s body has improved according to Stoops, who thinks he too can compete for a starting spot next year to help replace the likes of Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph.
2 Players We’ll Anxiously Be Watching:
Bud Dupree, Junior Defensive End
Za’Darius Smith , Junior Defensive End
Both Dupree and Smith are going to have to weigh their options about whether or not to stay for a senior season or put their names in the NFL draft. Both players will likely discuss the options with the coaching staff and get evaluated before making a final decision.
The moment Mark Stoops took over at Kentucky, the expectations already started to rise. The main reason they rose so quickly was the instant impact Stoops had on recruiting. Even with a limited time frame, Stoops managed to bring in key pieces that were now some of the team’s main contributors. This season Javess Blue and Ryan Timmons were the top two receivers, while Jojo Kemp was the leading rusher. All were persuaded by Stoops to join the Big Blue Nation during his first year on the job. It doesn’t stop on the offensive end either. Stoops, who is known for his defense, went out and signed two highly touted defensive ends in Za’Darius Smith and Jason Hatcher. They both had major impacts on the defensive end this season. After only his first season, fans can already see the impact Stoops has had on the program and can’t help but look forward to the future.
Now with a full season to work with, we get to see the true strengths of Coach Mark Stoops. Kentucky has never been a football powerhouse, but Stoops is trying to change that. What’s the first key to success? Wining the state battles. Louisville and Western may have gotten the best of the Cats this season, but Stoops is definitely putting in the most work off the field. According to Rivals.com, Kentucky is currently standing with the ninth ranked recruiting class, which sits atop Louisville and Western, who are ranked 19th and 91st respectively. The Cats have lured in a total of 25 commits thus far and are looking to add onto that number. Of the 25 commits, eight are ranked as 4-stars, which tops Louisville and Western who only have one four-star commit COMBINED. Let’s take a little closer look at the numbers.
Total Commits: 25
5 Stars: 0
4 Stars: 8
3 Stars: 16
Most Notable: Drew Barker. 4 star. QB. Burlington, KY.
Total Commits: 24
5 Stars: 0
4 Stars: 1
3 Stars: 21
Most Notable: Nilljah Ballew. 4 star. DB. Cincinnati, OH.
#87. Western Kentucky:
Total Commits: 14
5 Stars: 0
4 Stars: 0
3 Stars: 0
2 Stars: 14
It is pretty obvious how dominant Stoops has been compared to Charlie Strong and Bobby Petrino. Yes, Petrino is probably just trying to make Western a quick stop on his way to a better gig, but you still can’t take away what Stoops has done in his short time at UK. Coach Stoops is not only getting the best guys in our state, but he is also hitting the big states of Ohio, Florida, and Texas to find some great talent. Strong of course is hitting Florida hard as well, but that’s really about it. The combination of being in the SEC and Coach Stoops’ determination to turn this Kentucky football program around, have all been major tools to his recruiting success thus far. It is only a matter of time before Stoops has this team competing in the SEC. In Stoops we trust!
Rarely does a team have as much optimism with a record of 2-9 as Kentucky does this year. In the past 21 games, UK has won just four, with back-to-back loses to Western Kentucky and Louisville. The Wildcats have been the bottom-feeders for the last few seasons while Louisville is winning Sugar Bowls. Then you have WKU who is on the rise with a record of 7-4 with wins over the Army and Navy. But somehow the state of Kentucky football may be in better shape than Western and Louisville.
WKU has one of the best coaches in the country at the reigns, but that’s not such a great thing. Bobby Petrino got run out of Arkansas after the motorcycle crash controversy with a young woman who worked in the athletic offices. Arkansas was a top-tier program under Petrino, and you can bet that he isn’t satisfied with turning a Western team around. Bowling Green is nothing more than a pit stop for Bobby while he rides out the embarrassment from the situation down in Arkansas. Don’t be surprised if he’s gone after this season.
Louisville also has one of the best coaches in the country in Charlie Strong. He’s led Louisville to ALMOST perfect seasons, and just recently beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl, to most people’s surprise. But the University of Louisville is still underachieving, even with a Heisman caliber quarterback. As title hopefuls, the Cards knew with a weak schedule that they still may not get into the BCS Championship game with an undefeated record. An Alabama team with one loss is in a lot better shape than a Louisville team with one. But the talk of a championship is out of the picture, now, with the home loss to UCF on October 18th.
Kentucky, on the other hand has a young, unproven head coach, who looks like he left Florida State a year early and may miss out on winning a National Championship. Kentucky relies on beating teams like Vanderbilt to not get swept in SEC play, and always seems to be a few plays from an upset but can never get the job done. So why is UK in better shape than both WKU and U of L? Recruiting.
Recruiting is the key to success in most sports, especially in football. Basketball can completely recover with one recruiting class, like Cal did in his first year at UK with Wall, Cousins, and Bledsoe. But football takes time to develop players, and a strong freshman class does not guarantee success. It takes a coach three or four years to prove his self, because the only way to judge a football coach is by giving him time to create his own team from the ground up.
Why do I think that Petrino will be gone after this year? He’s not recruiting long term (no player signed above a two star). Why is Kentucky in better shape than Louisville? Stoops’ Class of 2014 is stronger than Louisville’s, and the signing of Matt Elam would only make this argument even more valid. Let’s breakdown the three schools’ futures:
- 7 players signed (all 2-stars)
- No player is ranked in his position
- 11 signed
- Top recruit: #29 DB, Nilijah Ballew
- Ten 3-stars, one 4-star
- 11 players signed
- Nine 3-stars, two 4-stars
- Top recruit: #15 DB, Darius West
Winner: Kentucky. The slight edge goes to Kentucky. With the same amount of players signed, UK has one more 4-star player which gives them the win in the defensive category. Also, Louisville’s top-recruit on defense plays the same position as UK’s and you can see that UK’s is 14 spots higher ranked than the Cards’. Even by the ESPNU rankings UK would still get the edge, with the main recruit being the #11 DE Denzel Ware.
- 6 players signed (all 2-stars), not counting one ATH
- Top recruit: #22 Center (by ESPN), Dennis Edwards
- 12 players signed, not counting two ATH
- Top recruit: #35 RB, Daniel Gresham (also signed #36 athlete)
- Ten 3-stars, two 2-stars
- 12 players signed, not counting one ATH
- Top recruit: #6 QB, Drew Barker
- Six 4-stars, six 3-stars
Winner: Kentucky. The numbers don’t lie here. Stoops has his leader of the future signed, while the Cards are without a single 4-star player on this side of the ball.
- 9 players signed from either Kentucky or bordering states
- All 2-stars
- 10 players signed from either Kentucky or bordering states
- Top recruit: Ballew from Ohio
- One two-star, eight 3-stars, one 4-star
- 12 players signed from Kentucky or bordering states
- Top recruit: Drew Barker
- Seven 3-stars, five 4-stars
Winner: Kentucky. Once again, the numbers make UK the obvious winner here. Even if Louisville were to shock everyone and grab Elam, they still wouldn’t be the winner, since Elam is the #2 recruit in Kentucky and Barker is #1.
Stoops is building an army of faster, stronger, and more talented players. If he keeps this up, Kentucky will start rising in the SEC ranks as well as taking the Governor’s Cup home where it belongs consistently. Just give it time.
*All ranks are by Rivals.com unless noted otherwise
It’s time to close the book on the football season, and in the latest KSR Minute, Matt Jones tells viewers who he think is to blame for Kentucky’s 2-10 season, and it’s not Mark Stoops. Matt says Joker Phillips is to blame for Kentucky’s struggles this year because of the lack of talent on the field, and it may take three years to get out of that hole.
Also, he wears a goofy hat.