Earlier this week, a KSR caller gave us a great research topic: the recruits that →
Football Season Coverage
By Nick Roush on ©April 27th, 2017 @ 6:45pm
Before top draft prospects make money off NFL contracts, they’re using their names to sign endorsements. Deals with shoe companies are inevitable, along with some from local businesses. Two draft prospects are using their unusual names to their advantage.
WKU offensive lineman Forrest Lamp will likely be selected in tonight’s first round. You might remember him from his touchdown catch in the WKU bowl game, but if you don’t, you probably remember Brick Tamland’s famous quote, “I love Lamp.” Forrest is sharing his love for lamps by promoting Lamps Plus, the nation’s largest specialty lighting retailer.
Michigan tight end Jake Butt is expected to be selected in the second or third round tomorrow night. Undoubtedly the best name in the draft, Butt is using it endorse Charmin toilet paper, a match made in heaven.
The NFL Draft begins tonight at 8:00 in Philadelphia.
Things will be a little quiet along the football front in the month of May. Players have the option to get away from the game for a while or stay in Lexington and continue to work out. June marks the start of the official summer training program. Let’s take a look at some goings on as the long offseason begins:
The Draft starts on Thursday with first round coverage beginning at 8:00pm. Rounds 2 and 3 are at 7:00pm on Friday. 4th though the 7th round kicks off at noon on Saturday. ESPN and the NFL Network will cover the event in its entirety. Kentucky’s Jon Toth and Boom Williams participated in the NFL Combine and have the highest likelihood of being drafted.
Center Jon Toth’s projection is all over the place. He could hear his name as early as Friday night or on Saturday in rounds 4-7.
-247 Sports 3rd round to the Dolphins
-Fox Sports 5th round to Chargers
-PFF 5th round to Dolphins
-NFL.com 6th round to Browns
-PFF ranks Toth 132nd out of its top 250.
NFL.com’s Bottom Line Analysis
“Toth is a tough, four-year starter. Will appeal to teams looking for centers who can operate in a power-based rushing scheme. While he’s better in a phone booth than on the move, he understands his limitations and does a good job of staying within himself. He’s not the best athlete at the position but his size, arm length, strength and consistency should outweigh that on the next level. Toth has the traits and ability to be an eventual starter in the NFL”.
Boom Williams’ draft status also varies. 23 running backs were selected a year ago. Williams is listed as the 21st best RB according to Mel Kiper and the 150th best available player. That equates to a 5th round selection. No other service ranks Boom in the Top 250 nor do they project him to be drafted.
Williams offers a diverse skill set and the old draft adage is applicable, “It only takes one team to fall in love…”. Will Boom hear his name called? I sure hope so but it wasn’t likely early on in the process. But, the situation appears to be trending up. Latter rounds are possible for Williams. He will certainly be a priority undrafted free agent if his name isn’t called.
NFL.com’s Bottom Line Analysis
“Scat back with outstanding burst who can create for himself in space, but is not about that life when asked to run between the tackles. Williams doesn’t have the blocking or hands to be a full-time third-down back and he lacks the decisiveness and vision necessary to handle snaps as a backup. While he does have plus athletic ability, Williams may be too limited in what he can offer a team from a roster flexibility standpoint”.
Depth Chart Podcast
You can listen here.
We discussed QB Jarren Williams’ decommitment. There were flagrant signs of this happening. In my opinion, “committed” prospects that use social media to enthusiastically announce additional offers and continue to make countless visits to other football programs present giant-waving red flags of uncertainty. We wish the young man the very best in future endeavors, but life and searching for a 2018 quarterback must go on. It’s not personal, it’s personnel is relevant in the Williams situation. As we’ve learned from recent history, quarterback recruiting can be a tricky proposition.
The longest offseason in sports begins now. The quieter the better.
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.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 26th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
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.
Remember cornerback Shaq Wiggins, the Louisville grad transfer? After a whole lotta drama, Wiggins is headed to a familiar foe: Tennessee. Wiggins announced the news on Twitter this morning, picking the Vols over South Carolina and Mississippi State, the latter of which Bobby Petrino initially blocked him from considering because that’s where former Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham now works.
I have made my decision and I will continue to finish my career at the University of Tennessee !!!!! 🍊
— Shaquille Wiggins (@ShaqWiggins6) April 26, 2017
During his careers at Georgia and Louisville, Wiggins had four tackles in games against Kentucky. See you on October 28 at Commonwealth Stadium, Shaq.
By KSR on ©April 25th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
Even though Kentucky’s spring football season has ended, football never sleeps on The Depth Chart Podcast, brought to you by Jack Kain Ford. The gang touches on a few football topics from around the Big Blue Nation before diving into the NFL Draft with friend of the program, Big Mike. A small sample of what you’ll hear:
— Freddie’s response to Jarren Williams’ decommitment: “NEXT!”
— A new term to enter into the football recruiting lexicon: “Underwear Olympics.”
— Spring game updates on 2017 Kentucky opponents.
— Picks for surprising UK wins and surprising UK losses this fall.
— Benny Snell’s CATSPYs snub.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
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.
A few takeaways:
— Do we need four coaches to receive awards? Coach Cal has won enough while at Kentucky. I don’t think he’d feel slighted if a year went by and he didn’t get the hardware from the athletic department.
— Benny Snell got snubbed. I love watching Malik Monk play basketball, but pardon me for being more excited about Benny Snell. We see freshman phenoms on the basketball court ALL THE TIME. What Snell did last season has only been done by a few UK football players, let alone a freshman. Which brings me to my next point…
— The basketball team doesn’t need any more awards. They’re treated like award-winners before they reach campus. They reach rockstar-status as soon as they get to campus, then receive more awards. I think they’re good on awards. Let the CATSPYs go to the rest of the hard-working athletes, not the ones that get all of the BBN’s love.
— Three Perfect Awards. Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator received the “Heart of a Wildcat” to perfectly encapsulate their Kentucky careers. The Blue Heart Award is given to those who persevere through injury, and there isn’t a better example than Alex Montgomery. Mr. Wildcat Jon Toth is everything you want in a student-athlete and tonight he earned his unwanted time in the spotlight.
The viral sensation Bad Lip-Reading made an appearance at this year’s CASPYs, and featured a variety of your favorite personalities in the UK Athletic Department.
Lamar Thomas gets things started, followed by appearances from John Calipari, Kash Daniel, Matthew Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox and many more. The best is saved for last: a special “performance” from Mitch Barnhart.
The 15th annual CATSPY awards are tonight, which means at about 7 p.m., your Instagram timeline will be flooded with pictures of your favorite Cats decked out in their formal wear. This year, UK is opening the show to the public, so if you’d like to go to Memorial Coliseum and see all the fun in person, tickets are $5. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. We’ll have a ton of coverage on KSR, but until then, let’s have some fun with predictions, shall we?
Benny Snell will upset De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk in the Male Rookie of the Year category
Okay, this one’s a little out there, but I couldn’t decide between De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk for Male Rookie of the Year, so I’m going with a player we can all agree will do great things at Kentucky: freshman running back Benny Snell. Snell rushed for a freshman school-record 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns and had a UK-freshman record five 100-yard rushing games. He ranked ninth overall and second among freshmen in the Southeastern Conference in rushing yards per game and all-purpose yards, while leading the SEC freshmen in scoring overall (78 points) and scoring TDs (13). He led the nation in rushing touchdowns by a freshman and ranked third nationally among freshmen in rushing yards. If all of that’s not enough, he’s dipping his toe into the music business as well:
Also up for Male Rookie of the Year: De’Aaron Fox (men’s basketball), Sean Hjelle (baseball), Malik Monk (men’s basketball), and JJ Williams (men’s soccer).
Malik Monk will win Male Athlete of the Year
Yes, I realize I just predicted that Monk would lose Male ROY to Benny Snell, but that’s also because he’ll take home a bigger prize of Male Athlete of the Year. Monk’s 47-point game vs. North Carolina in December was the performance of the year in UK Athletics, and his goodbye letter to the BBN after declaring for the draft ensures he will be remembered fondly. In fact, let’s watch the highlight reel one more time:
Also nominated for Male Athlete of the Year: Nick Anderson (track and field), Tim Duckworth (track and field), Napo Matsoso (men’s soccer), Tyler “Chip” McDaniel (men’s golf), Jacob Thomson (track and field/cross country), Jon Toth (football), and Evan White (baseball).
Makayla Epps will win Female Athlete of the Year
The Female Athlete of the Year category is stacked, but my vote goes to senior women’s basketball star Makayla Epps. Following in her father’s footsteps, Makayla became a home state hero, sticking with the program through highs and lows. Considering Makayla wore a championship belt during her introduction at Big Blue Madness, I’m sure she’ll accept the award in style.
Also up for Female Athlete of the Year: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (track and field), Ashley Dusek (volleyball), Isabelle Johansson (women’s golf), Mollie Korth (gymnastics), Katy Kunc (track and field/cross country), Meagan Prince (softball), Sha’Keela Saunders (track and field), Asia Seidt (swimming and diving), and Aldila Sutjiadi (women’s tennis).
Dominique Hawkins will dominate the Supporting Role category
Few players that have come through the program in recent years have been as beloved as Dominique Hawkins. One of two home state seniors on the roster, Dom infused the team with some much needed energy and hustle, earning a spot on the SEC All-Tournament Team. He should add another trophy to that mantle tonight.
Also up for Best Athlete in a Supporting Roll: Matthew Beach (swimming and diving), Laura Connor (women’s soccer), Stuart Ford (men’s soccer), Ali Galyer (swimming and diving), Cathryn Papasodora (rifle), Hailey Poland (gymnastics), and Shannon Smith (softball).
There will be one adorable moment between Derek and Keely
Because this is one of their last events as the
first second couple of UK Basketball. (They’re behind Cal and Ellen, of course.)
More awesome videos will emerge
One thing you can always count on from the CATSPYs is an awesome video or two from the KyWildcatsTV team. Last year, it was carpool karaoke:
The year before, an “Everything is Awesome” montage:
In 2014, we got to hear Dakari Johnson teach Mitch Barnhart some social media slang:
Man, I miss those guys.
Someone will sport suit capris and loafers
A post shared by Malik Monk (@ahmad_monk) on
At the College Basketball awards earlier this month, Malik Monk sported the popular suit capris and dress loafers that seem to be all the rage among pro athletes these days. Will Monk break out the same outfit for tonight? If not, I bet someone else will. Regardless, we will break down all the fashions in CATSPYs Fashion Police.
Today marks the first Saturday without Kentucky football or basketball since August. Until things kick back into gear this August, the athletic fields will be buzzing, filled with campers from across the Big Blue Nation.
Basketball and football camps start seven weeks from today on June 10. If you’re a football player trying to get noticed, playing in front of the coaches is a great way to start. See the entire schedule and register here.
John Calipari’s basketball camps tip-off the same weekend. The overnight and father/son events will create memories that last a lifetime. Spots are filling fast; register as soon as possible here or here.
- June 9 – 10
- June 16 – 17
- June 30 – July 1
- June 11 – June 14
- June 18 – June 21
New Western Kentucky football coach Mike Sanford is bold. During halftime of the Red/White Game, the first-time head coach announced the creation of a tradition never seen before in the athletic arena.
The Hilltoppers will “Raise the W” each week, something never done before in the history of sports*. The bold initiative from Coach Sanford is explained in the following press release.
At halftime of Saturday’s Red vs. White Spring Game, WKU Head Football Coach Mike Sanford introduced his ‘Raise the W’ initiative to signify the start of game week in Bowling Green beginning with the 2017 season.
The brainchild of the first-year head coach, the red flag features WKU’s varsity style ‘W’ which has appeared on lettermen jackets dating back to the 1920’s, and it will be raised each Monday by a selected Hilltopper on the basis of commitment to his teammates, the program and level of play from the previous week.
Area business and fans will be encouraged to also raise their own ‘W’ flag to help the Hilltoppers kick off game week in unison across town. Replica versions of the flag, which will fly in the south end zone of Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, will be available this summer.
The first W flag ceremoniously flew at halftime to the tune of WKU’s new football fight song, “Go Tops Go!”
“Hey Bowling Green, what do you say? The Tops are gonna win today!”
By Nick Roush on ©April 22nd, 2017 @ 6:00pm
A week from today the NFL Draft will come to a close in Philadelphia. More likely than not, Stanley “Boom” Williams will not hear his name called.
The Kentucky running back declared for the draft immediately after the TaxSlayer Bowl, forfeiting his final year of eligibility by signing with an agent. A 1,000-yard rusher in 2016, Williams was still just a borderline draft pick at the time of his decision. Since then his stock has not improved.
A top performer in the 20-yard and three-cone shuttle at the NFL Combine, his best 40-yard dash time was disqualified. The “Bottom Line” on his NFL.com Combine Analysis is not flattering.
Scat back with outstanding burst who can create for himself in space, but is not about that life when asked to run between the tackles. Williams doesn’t have the blocking or the hands to be a full-time third-down back and he lacks the decisiveness and vision necessary to handle snaps as a backup. While he does have plus athletic ability, Williams may be too limited in what he can offer a team from a roster flexibility standpoint.
Being an above-average scat back is Boom’s best shot at having an NFL Career, but the scouts don’t see those skills. In three years at Kentucky Boom only caught 38 passes, which is just an average of about one screen pass per game. To make matters worse, Williams did not do anything Earth-shattering at his Pro Day and he has limited experience as a special teams player.
As we enter the heart of mock draft season, Boom is nowhere to be found. Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, the two most well-known draft prognosticators, only predict the first two rounds, but ESPN does have a service that ranks every prospect. Williams is considered the No. 319 player overall. There are only 253 players selected in the NFL Draft.
Only a few outlets conduct mock drafts for all seven rounds. Of the following four, Boom was not featured in any mock drafts.
It’s difficult to foresee a home for Boom in the NFL Draft, but that’s ultimately for the best. As a free agent, he’ll get to choose the team that provides the best opportunity, rather than going to a team that chooses him. He’ll get a shot, but it probably won’t be through the NFL Draft.
The good news is the BBN has someone to cheer for in Philadelphia. Jon Toth will be selected somewhere in between the third and sixth rounds and nobody will be happier than Freddie Maggard.
Before the absurdity surrounding bowl rings took over the Twittersphere, most media outlets have dissected the spring game from every angle imaginable. I stated that the youngsters, or first-year contributors, were the storyline of the scrimmage on our Depth Chart Podcast. Let’s take a deeper look at Mark Stoops’ newcomers.
Linebacker Jamin Davis, WR Clevan Thomas, CB Cedrick Dort Jr., QB Danny Clark
— WR Clevan Thomas proved to be an efficient target over the middle. The rookie caught 3 passes for 28 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had an opportunity for another TD catch but was unable to hold on to the football in the end zone following contact. Thomas could find his way onto the fall depth chart at the slot receiver position this fall.
— LB Jamin Davis was moved into a starting role on the White team due to Jordan Jones’ spring game suspension. He made the most of the opportunity by leading all tacklers with 8 including a tackle for loss. Fellow linebacker Eli Brown showed growth at the same position. Davis is in need of weight and strength gains. But, he displayed an innate nose for the football and could play this fall if called upon. Jamin Davis is the future of Mark Stoops’ defense.
— CB Cedrick Dort Jr. took on a block from pulling guard Logan Stenberg. 6’6 320-pounds vs. 5’11 170. You do the math and guess the outcome. Dort shook off the results from the collision and broke up a pass on the next play. He wasn’t as heralded as other defensive backs in the 17 class. Pay little mind to those recruiting cycle prognostications. Most likely a redshirt season awaits, but his spring performance catapults him in the conversation to play as a true freshman.
— QB Danny Clark’s maiden voyage into college football started off with a bang. That bang was the noise that resonated from the true freshman’s cannon for an arm. Arm strength will never be a liability for Clark as he nearly decapitated Kayaune Ross on a short hitch route. He’ll learn touch and other nuances of the position. 2017 will likely be a redshirt season in which he can study under Stephen Johnson, Gunner Hoak, and Drew Barker. The kid has swagger for sure.
Defense – DT Ja’Quize Cross, DT Kordell Looney, Nickel/Safety Tobias Gilliam, DE/LB Jaylin Bannerman, DE/LB Jamar “Boogie” Watson, CB Kei Beckham, CB Zy’Aire Hughes, MLB Roland Walder, FS Davonte Robinson
Offense – QB Gunnar Hoak, C Drake Jackson, G Luke Fortner, TE Justin Rigg, RB AJ Rose, G Tate Leavitt
— We have to start this category with the spring game’s most valuable player, Jamar “Boogie” Watson. A week prior to the spring game the media witnessed his emergence in an open practice as he more than capably filled the starting DE/OLB role vacated by Denzil Ware. Watson was all over the field and was the defense’s leading havoc stat producer. What the BBN saw last Friday was merely more of the same. Watson will be called upon to become a designated pass rusher. The former 2-star from DC’s future is limitless.
— QB Gunnar Hoak put on a show: 16-24, 174 yards, 2 TDs. His spring game a year ago provided a glimpse, last Friday solidified impressions of the offense’s future. Just when that future begins is the question. Hoak could step in and play immediately. He does not possess Clark’s arm strength but relies more on anticipation and timing to complete passes. Gunner Hoak will be a starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky.
— TE Justin Rigg is Vince Marrow’s guy. More athletic than originally projected, the redshirt freshman caught 2 passes for 21 yards. Rigg is a solid third TE for Eddie Gran.
— RB AJ Rose is fast. GPS tracker measured a spring practice run at 21 mph which is faster than any RB from 2016. Rose showed enough to excite even though his spring game was cut short due to a neck injury. I’d imagine a Wildcat package will be installed to fit the high school quarterback’s skill.
— Guard Luke Fortner and center Drake Jackson were critical pieces on the White team’s offensive line. Both will be a part of a two-deep OL in 2017. OL coach John Schlarman indicated that guard Tate Leavitt showed strides in spring practice. He will need to continue that momentum into the offseason to move into a highly competitive rotation.
— Defensive backs Tobias Gilliam, Davonte Robinson, Zy’Aire Hughes, and Kei Beckham will provide depth and push starters in fall camp. Safeties Gilliam and Robinson fill a position of need following the departure of Marcus McWilson and Blake McClain. Beckham intercepted a Stephen Johnson pass in the scrimmage and joins a talented group of cornerbacks. Zy’Aire Hughes was moved from receiver to cornerback. That transition payed dividends in the form of a forced fumble. Hughes is an upper-level athlete and too talented to keep off the field in some capacity.
— Another position of need is defensive tackle. Kordell Looney’s 4 tackle, 1 QB sack, 1 QB hurry, and 2 tackles for loss performance was an indication of what’s to come. The best defensive lineman in the game was Adrian Middleton. Second best was his backup Kordell Looney.
— Linebacker Roland Walder quietly registered 4 tackles. OLB Jaylin Bannerman joins Boogie Watson at DE/OLB.
What does all this mean?
Not a great deal in all actuality because the spring game was well, just a scrimmage. Both true and redshirt freshman currently on the roster have a long way to go. But last Friday provided an obvious sign that young talent is present on Kentucky’s roster; significant contributions will be made from some that are listed above. However, the future is now for the Wildcats. A critical offseason preparing for an urgent season starts now.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 21st, 2017 @ 1:00pm
Earlier this week, Kentucky football players received bowl rings even though they didn’t win the TaxSlayer Bowl, a move which has drawn some heat online. I’ve already gone over why the players getting rings is completely normal, but Mark Stoops put it best in an interview on “Full Ride,” a show on Sirius XM College Sports this morning.
“Our players — we have bowl games and we have money allotted to bowl games so they can get what they want,” Stoops said. “I could care less what they get. They want a ring? We’ll get a ring. They want a t-shirt, we’ll get a t-shirt. They want a sweatsuit? We’ll get that. That’s for those guys to decide. So, I really don’t give a crap what anybody else says.”
YEAH. SASSY STOOPS. Hear the clip for yourself below: