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Wednesday’s Top 10, brought to you by the Mad Butcher of Panzano

Wednesday’s Top 10, brought to you by the Mad Butcher of Panzano

Photo by Grape Tours, the tour company we used in Chianti

In a tiny town in the middle of Tuscany lies one of the most colorful characters in the world: Dario Cecchini, the “Mad Butcher of Panzano.” We visited Dario in his legendary butcher shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, while touring the Chianti wine region, and being in his presence for just a few minutes was one of the most remarkable experiences of our trip. Dario’s family has been in the butchery business for eight generations, and now, he’s the most famous butcher on the planet. The 59-year-old first burst onto the foodie scene in 2001 when he held a funeral for “bistecca fiorentina” (a style of T-Bone steak famous in Florence) during the Mad Cow disease crisis, the plaque for which still hangs outside his shop:

Since then, the larger-than-life Dario has become a superstar, nicknamed the “Michelangelo of Meat,” and cooks for famous people around the world. We were lucky to catch him in his shop, although rumor has it he may have cut a trip to Los Angeles short so he could grill for the Obama family, who was also touring Tuscany when we were. Entering his shop is a visceral experience. The first thing that hits you is the smell: wonderful, aromatic, meat. The second thing that hits you is the small wine glass thrust into your hand, filled with local Chianti. From there, you’re ushered to a table overflowing with cold cuts, bread, olive oil, and quite possibly the most delicious spread I’ve ever tasted, which makes sense because it turned out be lardo. The party spills into the street, the Italians shouting over AC/DC (the only music Dario will play) while tourists look around and wonder what the heck they walked into. Our group ate a lunch across the street that was catered by the shop, and after eating more than my fair share of pasta all week, my body sang for the freshest thing it had seen in days: vegetables dipped in olive oil, which was mixed with Dario’s “Profumo del Chianti,” an herb salt. You better believe we brought some home with us.

So, should you find yourself anywhere near Florence, Italy, take a tour or drive yourself out to Panzano to meet Dario and try that lardo. And bring some me some more herb salt, please.

Now, on with the show.

1. The Super Regional vs. Louisville is sold out

If you were hoping to cheer the Bat Cats on in their first Super Regional ever, well, prepare to pay a lot on the secondary markets. All three games between Kentucky and Louisville are sold out, and considering the Cards are the host and had a day head start on selling tickets, I have a feeling that crowd will be mostly red. If you were lucky enough to secure a spot in Jim Patterson Stadium, do us all a favor and BE LOUD.

For the rest of us, the games will begin at high noon Friday (ESPN2), Saturday (ESPN), and Sunday (TBA).

2. If you haven’t yet, listen to the KSR Baseball Podcast

Hearing former UK Baseball coach Keith Madison reflect on the program’s historic accomplishment is so good, so good, so good. If you haven’t already subscribed to the KSR podcast feed, here’s how you can.

3. UK Basketball’s complete non-conference schedule was released

  • October 13: Big Blue Madness
  • October 20: Blue/White Game
  • November 10: vs. Utah Valley
  • November 12: vs. Vermont
  • November 14: vs. Kansas, Champions Classic, Chicago
  • November 17: vs. ETSU
  • November 20: vs. Troy
  • November 22: vs. Fort Wayne
  • November 26: vs. UIC
  • December 2: vs. Harvard
  • December 9: vs. Monmouth, Citi Double Cash Classic, New York
  • December 16: vs. Virginia Tech
  • December 23: vs. UCLA, CBS Sports Classic, New Orleans
  • December 29: vs. Louisville
  • January 27: at West Virginia

The SEC schedule will feature nine home games and nine away games, which were announced last week without dates. Kentucky will play Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Missouri twice (home and away); play Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State at home; and play on the road at Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina.

4. Players continue to arrive on campus

UK’s summer session begins today, which means the basketball and football teams are back on campus. Here’s Shai Alexander and Jemarl Baker moving in to their new home:

And PJ Washington hanging with some fans at the airport:

PJ Washington will be a fan favorite. Mark it down.

5. Dominique Hawkins is working out for the Sacramento Kings today

A day after the Kings hosted De’Aaron Fox, they will see Dominique Hawkins, who will work out alongside Donovan Mitchell (Louisville), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), Cameron Oliver (Nevada), Erik McCree (Louisiana Tech), and Jabari Bird (Cal). The Kings have the 5th, 10th, and 34th picks in the draft.

Yesterday, Bam Adebayo and Isaiah Briscoe worked out for the Detroit Pistons (12th pick), while Malik Monk visited the Phoenix Suns (4th, 32nd, and 54th picks). De’Aaron Fox will work out for Phoenix later this week, but apparently his workout in Sacramento went so well that the Kings are considering trading their 5th and 10th picks to Philadelphia in order to ensure they get Fox at #3. Oh boy.

6. Alvonte Bell was dismissed from the team

The defensive line suffered a big blow yesterday with the news that senior defensive end Alvonte Bell has been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. That one hurts because Bell was a projected started at a spot that sorely needs depth. For more on what Bell’s dismissal means going forward, check out Freddie’s recap of the Governor’s Cup luncheon.

7. Mark Stoops had some interesting comments about Matt Elam

“He and I (Matt Elam) had a sit-down in mid-April about some things he needs to do. And, you know, it’s up to Matt. Matt is a good worker and does good things and everything that’s expected of him when he’s with us. There are sacrifices you have to make when you’re away from college and you’re away from your coaches. That’ll be up to Matt.”

This will be Elam’s senior season, meaning he’s running out of time to make the impression he needs to in order to get an opportunity on the next level.

8. Stoops picked up a kicker named Chance Poore

Get ready for a whole lotta puns because Stoops just landed Chance Poore, the top-ranked kicker in the state of South Carolina. Apparently his chances of landing 40-yarders won’t be poor because he’s been hitting them since age 13. Please let that be the only pun about him I ever write.

Anyways, Chance is the 10th member of UK’s 2018 class. Welcome.

9. Scooter Gennett made history last night

The Cincinnati Reds second baseman hit four home runs, tying the MLB record, and finished with 10 RBIs, tying a franchise record, in the Reds’ 13-1 rout of the Cardinals last night. He’s only the 17th player to hit four home runs in one game in major league history, quite the feat for a player who was claimed off waivers in late March and only had three home runs this season going into last night.

10. Happy birthday, Fake Barney!

June is a big birthday month at KSR, and today, we celebrate our favorite fake purple dinosaur, Fake Barney. My OTT podcast compadre and his Baby Bop are expecting their first baby in September, and if not for stupid Luke Maye, he would be having a record year. Enjoy the day, Barnes.

Radio in an hour…


Governor’s Cup Luncheon News and Notes

Governor’s Cup Luncheon News and Notes

Mark Stoops and Bobby Petrino coexisted in the same room for the annual Governor’s Cup press conference, held at the Frankfort Country Club on Tuesday.

The event surrounds a golf tournament and preceded Monday night’s reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

Each year the Governor’s Cup honors former Wildcats. This year’s honorees were former linebacker Marty Moore, former wide receiver/kick returner Derek Abney, and former running back Doug Kotar.

Several on Twitterville question why the two-day affair continues to exist, given the fact that the Cats and Cards don’t meet on the gridiron until late November. One of the answers is charity. Funds are raised and distributed to the Dare to Care and God’s Pantry Food Banks. Thus, I hope the event continues on indefinitely.

But back to football. A leaner version of Mark Stoops addressed the gathering and provided some insight into the Kentucky Football program.

Some interesting tidbits were:

 

— Drew Barker has been cleared for full-go workouts.

Barker is back and ready compete for the starting quarterback job after being limited during spring practice. He’s diligently worked to expedite rehabilitation. I’m personally happy for the former starter.

— Open competition exists at all positions including quarterback.

Mark Stoops confirmed his stance that every position is open for competition and that includes his signal callers. “Quarterbacks are no different even though everybody likes to write about it. You have to earn it every day.”

It appears that there will be a three-way competition. “Don’t discount Gunnar Hoak as well.”

— Not all the freshmen have reported.

The Cats reported to the Joe Craft Football Training Center on Monday. Summer school starts this week. When asked if all his newcomers are on campus; Stoops said, “Not all of them were there (team meeting) this morning.” He continued, “We expect all but two or three to be here for this summer.”

“Two or three” is a loaded statement and has the BBN feeling a tad bit anxious. Which two or three? Speculation abounds. This is an ongoing situation.

— Alvonte Bell is no longer on the team.

If you’re a regular listener of the Depth Chart Podcast then you’re familiar with the term “Suspension Season”. This refers to the period of time that starts when players report for summer workouts and continues all the way up until September openers. This is a dangerous stretch for suspensions and dismissals and is common across college football.

Preseason magazines and May-June predictions are fun, but “suspension season” has the tendency to alter rosters throughout the summer months. Stoops announced on Tuesday that senior DE Alvonte Bell has been dismissed for violation of team rules.

Ouch, here we go again. Regie Meant’s unexpected departure a year ago significantly impacted the front seven. Only time will tell how much the Bell situation will influence the DL depth chart and rotation. Kentucky’s lack of an organic, defensive line pass rush is the most pressing deficiency for the 2017 Wildcats. Bell was a projected starter and his absence will only magnify that personnel question mark.

Sophomores TJ Carter and Calvin Taylor will join junior Kengera Daniel in the fight for the starting role. I’d also expect a true freshman or two to compete for the spot. Josh Paschal, Jordan Wright, and Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald will get early, fall camp looks.

Mark Zerof | USA Today

— It’s now or never for Matt Elam.

Mark Stoops, “He and I (Matt Elam) had a sit-down in mid-April about some things he needs to do. And, you know, it’s up to Matt. Matt is a good worker and does good things and everything that’s expected of him when he’s with us. There are sacrifices you have to make when you’re away from college and you’re away from your coaches. That’ll be up to Matt.”

Translation: The team sorely needs Matt Elam. He possesses the tools to be an upper-level, SEC defensive lineman. If he reaches his full potential or not is solely up to the senior from E’town. In other words, it’s now or never.

The Depth Chart Podcast will be taking a week off as we focus on the baseball Cat’s quest for Omaha. Let’s all get behind this team.


Defensive end Alvonte Bell dismissed from the team

Kentucky will be without Alvonte Bell, a projected starter on the defensive line, this coming season. The senior defensive end was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules, Mark Stoops announced Tuesday afternoon.

Bell originally signed with Kentucky in 2013 when Joker Phillips was the head coach, before going to junior college for a couple of years. He finally arrived in Lexington in 2015, sat out that year as a redshirt junior, then played in 12 games last season with four starts. He finished 2016 with 27 tackles and one tackle for loss.

His dismissal is a huge blow to defensive end depth.


Drew Barker cleared for summer activities

Mark Stoops is speaking to the media at the Governor’s Cup Luncheon in Frankfort today and he just dropped a little injury update on his former starting quarterback, Drew Barker.

According to Stoops, Barker has been cleared to begin normal summer activities with his team, which began in the weight room on Monday. However, the staff cannot watch Barker or the other quarterbacks throw the ball until next month.

In other injury news, Stoops said freshman running back Bryant Koback is still rehabbing the leg injury he suffered in his senior season of high school last fall, but they expect him to be ready to go in a few weeks.

Freddie Maggard will be by with more from Stoops’ comments a little later today.


The basketball team is starting to arrive in Lexington…

The basketball team is starting to arrive in Lexington…

Summer classes start this week, which means the UK Basketball and Football teams are on their way to Lexington. Tweets and pictures have started to trickle in, starting with Jarred Vanderbilt:

If you hurry, you might catch Kevin Knox arriving at the Bluegrass Airport:

On the gridiron side, the 2017 class is rolling in:

We’ll keep adding to this list as the day goes on. Welcome to Lexington, fellas!


Jarren Williams selected as a final Elite 11 quarterback, will compete in The Opening

2018 quarterback commit Jarren Williams must have turned in one heck of a performance at The Elite 11 Finals this weekend because this morning, he was selected as one of the final Elite 11 quarterbacks that will participate in the 7-on-7 tournament at The Opening Finals at the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon June 28-July 3. Williams is only the second Kentucky commitment to make the Elite 11 in the Stoops era following Drew Barker back in 2013; even better, he’s the only SEC commit to make the final list.

The honor follows Williams’ bump from a three-star to a four-star in Rivals’ rankings last week. This weekend, he drew rave reviews at The Elite 11 Finals.

“The Kentucky commit left a lasting impression on Sunday afternoon,” Bleacher Report’s Morgan Moriarty wrote. “He had one of his strongest days, while showing command and quick decision-making.”

“Kentucky QB commit Jarren Williams, from Atlanta, just keeps getting better,” SB Nation’s Bud Elliot wrote. “He looks to have tightened up his motion a bit and put on some muscle. Premier programs are still coming after him, but he told me he is solid to Kentucky after recommitting in May. I look for Williams to continue to rise in the recruiting rankings if he can carry his Friday performance into the weekend.”

According to Justin Rowland, Williams will visit Kentucky June 10-11 before preparing for the Elite 11 Finals. In the meantime, let’s enjoy his highlight reel:

 


@ShawnMcKenzieSN

Game Four’s Monday Morning Wakeup

@ShawnMcKenzieSN

Greetings, friends. Long time no type. I’m back from my two-week adventure in Italy, during which I ate lots of pasta, drank lots of wine, and generally did my best to forget about UK Sports for a while…until Ryan Lemond’s creepy laugh woke me up one night to tell me Hamidou Diallo was coming back to school. (As you might imagine, going back to sleep after that was impossible.) I’ll share bits and pieces from my trip over the next week, but right now, a much more important matter is upon us: Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Being abroad when the Nashville Predators won the Western Conference Finals was tough, as was getting home just in time to witness their humiliating loss in Game Two; that’s why Saturday’s 5-1 win was so sweet. I’ve lived in Nashville for 11 years now, and I’ve never witnessed a more amazing day in the city. Over 50,000 fans flooded the streets downtown, forcing police to close down two additional blocks of Broadway all the way to the river. For once, there were more locals than tourists downtown as Preds fans pushed out bachelorette parties and staked their claim to hear Alan Jackson’s free concert and swap guesses as to who will sing the national anthem (Martina McBride) and how many catfish would hit the ice (by my count, three). The Preds responded, turning in a crucial 5-1 win to move the series to 2-1. Even though it’s a Monday, I expect the atmosphere will be equally as rabid leading up to an essential Game Four. I got my fill of the chaos downtown on Saturday, but will be cheering from my lucky seat here in East Nashville. Join me at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports. We got this.

In the meantime, here’s what we’ll be talking about today:

1. UK Baseball will play NC State for a spot in the Super Regional tonight

The Bat Cats got back on track in the Lexington regional with two huge wins yesterday, the first over Indiana and the second over NC State to force a final showdown with the Wolfpack tonight. The winner will advance to the Super Regional in Louisville to face the Cardinals. The game starts at 7 p.m. at The Cliff, and while you should do absolutely everything you can to be there to cheer them on in person, it should be televised, although the channel has yet to be determined. We’ll keep you updated.

2. Coach Mingione got a little emotional in the postgame presser

How much would a spot in the Super Regionals mean to this program and its players? Nick Mingione teared up when talking about his senior centerfielder Marcus Carson last night:

How can you not love Mingione? Speaking of baseball…

3. How about my Davidson Wildcats?

My other Wildcats knocked off 2-seed North Carolina last night to win the Chapel Hill Regional in what D1 Baseball’s Aaron Fitt called one of the biggest upsets in college baseball history. Between the Preds winning Saturday, both sets of Wildcats winning Sunday, and Steph Curry doing his thing in the NBA Finals, it was certainly a great weekend to be a Wildcat. Watch the awesome winning moment below:

4. Calipari was in NYC this weekend

After stops in Destin for the SEC Spring Meetings and Pittsburgh for Game Two of the Stanley Cup Finals, Calipari was in NYC this weekend to take his son Brad to a Mets/Pirates game:

Something tells me Cal will be back in Pittsburgh for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Thursday night.

5. 17 Days until the NBA Draft

Believe it or not, there are only 17 days until the NBA Draft in New York, and while I was gone, it seems buzz continued to grow around De’Aaron Fox. Fox impressed at the Catalyst Sports Pro Day this weekend, prompting some to suggest that the Lakers may pass on Lonzo Ball and take Fox instead with the second pick. We saw this as the season went on, but Fox’s shooting continues to improve, as you can see in this video from his Pro Day workout via Draft Express:

After the workout was over, Fox was back in the weight room to put in more work:

Make the right choice, Magic.

6. I had the best risotto in the world in Burano

Should you ever find yourself in Venice, Italy and overwhelmed by the crowds, do yourself a favor and hop on the ferry to Burano, a small fishing island about 40 minutes outside the city. Known for lace and brightly painted buildings, Burano is an amazing oasis, made even more so by the seafood risotto at Da Romano. My husband and I first heard about the dish on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” and made the trek solely to try it; we were not disappointed. Prepared delicately with “go,” a local fish, it was simply perfection, especially when paired with the house white wine and this view:

Sigh. Before I hop on a plane back to Venice, let’s keep going.

7. The Governor’s Cup Luncheon is tomorrow

For some reason, the Governor’s Cup luncheon is still held in June even though the rivalry showdown takes place in November, but alas, this year’s version takes place tomorrow afternoon at the Frankfort County Club. That means awkward photo opps between Mark Stoops and Bobby Petrino, plenty of pictures of the trophy, and hopefully a little bit of swaggy trash talk. Usually, this event is a bore, but it sure is nice to come in as the winner after last season’s upset for the ages.

Speaking of…

8. The UK Football Women’s Clinic is set for July 22

Period jokes aside, last year’s women’s clinic was a great way to get ready for football season, and from what I hear, the folks at UK have even more tricks up their sleeves for this year’s event, which will go down in the Woodford Reserve Club at Kroger Field on Saturday, July 22. The registration fee is $75, which includes a gift, t-shirt, lunch, and all the pictures with Freddie Maggard you could dream of. For more information, visit ukathletics.com/camps.

9. Wonder Woman was awesome

I’m not a huge superhero/comic books fan, nor do I expect a lot from Hollywood when it comes to females in leading roles, but I absolutely loved Wonder Woman. I came in not knowing a lot about the character other than her accessories have powers, but director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot brought a story many have struggled with to life. I left the theater ready to rumble and happy that finally, little girls have a heroine that’s just as badass as Batman, Superman, or the countless other male superheroes. Do yourself a favor and go see it.

10. One hour until the gang discusses Shannon’s win over Tony Vanetti in OVW

If you haven’t seen the pictures and videos of Shannon wrestling in a speedo, consider yourself warned:

Tune in to hear the gang break it down one hour and six minutes from now.


@UKFootball

Kentucky football announces date for women’s clinic

Steve Clinkscale goes through drills at the 2016 Women’s Clinic

Kentucky football announced the 2017 Women’s Clinic will be held on Saturday, July 22.

Registration is now open and fans can do so by following this link. The $75 fee includes gifts, a t-shirt and lunch. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Woodford Reserve Club on the mezzanine level of Kroger Field.

@UKFootball

The clinic will include a fashion show with the players, which is always a fan favorite, prize give-aways and drills with the coaches on the field.

WKYT’s Jennifer Palumbo will emcee the event.

 


Cole Cubelic Says UK Will Finish in Top 3 of SEC East

Cole Cubelic Says UK Will Finish in Top 3 of SEC East

Former Auburn Center and current SEC Network Analyst Cole Cubelic spent part of his Sunday praising the Kentucky Football team on Twitter. The Offensive Line Guru is buying what Mark Stoops & staff are selling as he believes the Wildcats will finish in the top 3 of the SEC East.

Cubelic received plenty of backlash for his prediction, but he did not back down from angry Tenneesee fans:

As a long time Kentucky football fan it is cool to see the team talked about in such high regard during the off-season.

I don’t know about you all but I’m ready for September 2nd @ Southern Miss.


Freshman 15: Lynn Bowden

Freshman 15: Lynn Bowden

With 90 days until the first football game of the new season, it’s time to start familiarizing ourselves with next year’s freshmen. Considered one of Mark Stoops’ top recruiting classes during his time at Kentucky so far, this year’s team has the chance to be special. Leading the pack is Lynn Bowden.

Recruited as simply an “athlete” for the team, four-star Bowden played quarterback for his high school football team. He comes to Lexington from Youngstown, Ohio – which also brought the Wildcats Courtney Love and Jordan Jones. Bowden will likely be listed as a wide receiver at UK, but coaches and scouts agree that he can do much more than that. Most notably, Bowden has been compared to former Wildcat Randall Cobb, who also filled various roles for the Cats after serving as his high school’s quarterback.

“Lynn is one of the most explosive high school athletes we’ve signed at Kentucky,” said Coach Mark Stoops. “He’s extremely dynamic with the ball, a play maker who can play multiple positions.”

Bowden, the runner-up for Mr. Football in Ohio, ended his senior season rushing for 2,277 yards, throwing for 1,366 yards and accounting for 57 total touchdowns. He finished as Ohio’s sixth all-time rusher (7,387 career yards) and 10th in rushing touchdowns (91). The 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete was ranked No. 3 in Ohio and No. 157 nationally by 247Sports.

According to Vince Marrow, Kentucky “signed the best player in Ohio,” and they got him over Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Nebraska. “Lynn Bowden is the best player in Ohio. Ohio was very loaded. We got what we wanted out of Ohio from top to bottom,” Marrow said.

“He’s the type of guy where he changes the digits on the scoreboard,” Stoops said.

But, if need be, Bowden could also make the transition to defense. Secondary coach Steve Clinkscale said Bowden would also make a “great corner, safety, wherever you put him at.”

This immense versatility creates the hope that Bowden will be able to take some of the pressure off Benny Snell, especially coming out of the Wildcat formation.

“He’s a guy who can throw it well enough out of the Wildcat to keep defenses honest,” said Scout.com analyst Bill Greene. “Him with the ball in his hands, it’s just amazing.”

This amazement might not be limited to the pigskin – Bowden also shines with a basketball in his hands. During his senior year of high school, Bowden averaged 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. When asked if he would consider walking on for the men’s basketball team, Bowden wasn’t opposed.

“If Coach Stoops approved of that, I like to keep myself busy, so you can look out for it,” Bowden said of walking on for Coach Calipari. “I like to stay active, so if that were to be something that happened, I would be happy about that too.”


@MaggieDavisKSR


Rich Brooks Needs You to CAPTION THIS

Rich Brooks shares stories from the golf course, fantastic pictures of fish and beautiful scenery on his Twitter account, encapsulating what many imagine as a perfect retirement life.  Everyone once in awhile, he throws in a screwball to keep us on our toes.  This is the Tweet that does not belong.

Big Blue Nation, it’s time to caption this spectacular picture.

While you’re thinking of excellent captions, I’d like to take this opportunity to laugh at Buch Jones’ expense.  I’m not sure why, but this raccoon photoshopped as the Champion of Life makes me laugh, and laugh and laugh some more.

@Beer_Nye

@beer_nye

@Beer_Nye


South Point Sets Over/Under for UK Football Wins in 2017

Earlier this week we shared some of the early spreads for this fall’s Kentucky football games.  Now South Point Casino has college football season win totals for each team and the Cats’ number might surprise you.

Vegas set UK’s over/under win total at seven (the under is -120).  The same number of wins from a year ago, the Cats upset of Louisville negated their upset loss to Southern Miss.

If you don’t believe the Cats will be improved, consider this: Kentucky will return 17 starters in 2017, nine on defense and eight on offense, tied for third-most in all of FBS.  This year’s schedule also sets up favorably for the Wildcats, considered the tenth most difficult in the SEC by CBS, their 2017 opponents won just 51.97 percent of their games in 2016.

With all that being said, it’s still tough to bet the over when it’s set at seven.  The last time Kentucky won eight regular season games it was 1984.  But if you can find the Cats anywhere below seven, consider the money free.

Click here for more college football Over/Unders.


AWilliamson54 | IG

It’s Camping Season for Current and Former Wildcats

AWilliamson54 | IG

School’s out, which means it’s time for kids to head to Summer Camp.

Whether it was on the shores of Lake Cumberland or in a gym with Derek Anderson, my favorite part about summer was heading to camp.  Now former and current Wildcats are dong what they can to give children a summer they’ll never forget.

Avery Williamson told Titans reporter Jim Wyatt why he runs an annual camp for the Boys and Girls Club.  “If I can say something to influence the kids and motivate them to be great, that’s what I want to get out of it.”

@JwyattSports

Williamson’s Titans teammate, Wesley Woodyard, held a free youth football and cheerleading camp today at Tates Creek High School in Lexington through his 16 Ways foundation.

@16Ways

While back at home during the month of May, a pair of current Wildcat sophomores took some time to provide kid in their community with words of encouragement.  Not coincidentally, Benny Snell and Kash Daniel are two leaders among the underclassmen.

@WCHS_Football

@PHSTigerHoops

Football players aren’t the only ones involved.  Jamal Murray returned to Canada for a pair of clinics in Kitchner and Toronto.

@BeMore27

Jarrod Polson held a clinic in town and received a surprise visit from Josh Harrellson.

@jpolson05


Running Back Decisions Will Greatly Impact the SEC East

Running Back Decisions Will Greatly Impact the SEC East

We continue our SEC East discussion by analyzing NFL Draft decisions made by five running backs. Their choice to either stay in school or for early departure to the NFL will substantially influence the division’s outcome. Let’s take a look: 

RETURNED TO SCHOOL

Nick Chubb-Georgia

 2016 Results: Finished 8th in the SEC with 224 carries, 1130 yards, and 8 TD’s.

Decision’s impact on the Dawgs: Momentous; both for Kirby Smart’s hopes for a conference title and for Chubb. He’s second on several Bulldog statistic columns: most yards in a game (Hershel Walker 283, Chubb 266) and most rush yards in a season (Walker 1891, Chubb 1547). Furthermore, Chubb’s 3424 career mark is good enough for second in school history; 2,017 yards behind Herschel Walker.

Sony Michel-Georgia

2016 Results: 152 carries, 840 yards, and 4 TD’s.

Decision’s impact on the Dawgs: Momentous part two. Along with Chubb, Michel gives the Dawgs the best 1-2 punch in all of college football. Sorry Tide fanatics. The duo’s overall influence propels Georgia into a potential SEC Championship and National Playoff contender.

Ralph Webb-Vanderbilt

2016 Results: SEC’s 5th leading rusher. 250 carries, 1283 yards, 13 TD’s.

Decision’s impact for the Commodores: Everything. Webb has been the focal point of the Vandy offense for several years. Vanderbilt is poised to have a promising season based off Webb’s decision to return to Nashville.

DECLARED FOR THE NFL DRAFT

Stanley “Boom” Williams-Kentucky

2016 Results: SEC’s 7th leading rusher with 171 carries, 1170 yards, and 7 TD’s.

Draft Status: Undrafted. Williams rolled the dice but was not selected. He did sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Decision’s impact on the Cats: Pending. The Boom Williams-Benny Snell Show was fun to watch for the BBN as the Wildcats rushed for 3,044 yards in 2016. Williams was the Cats’ homerun threat. Now, offensive coordinator Eddie Gran must find Snell a running mate. The pool is not empty with AJ Rose, Sihiem King, and Bryant Koback pushing to fill Boom’s void.

With a Top 3, SEC offensive line returning; “What could have been” will be a saying that could resonate for all parties involved. Boom left the program 1,324 yards shy of Sonny Collins’ all-time career rushing record.

Alvin Kamara-Tennessee

2016 Results: 103 carries, 596 yards, 9 TD’s in an injury shortened season.

Draft Status: New Orleans Saints’ third round selection.

Decision’s impact on the Volunteers: Severe. Kamara appears to have made the correct decision to enter the NFL after being injured last season. But, the Volunteers will sorely miss his services as he was arguably the hottest SEC RB in the final games of 2016. Butch Jones started last year with the formidable punch comprised of Jalen Hurd and Kamara. Hurd transferred from the program; the latter is now a pro. Couple that will the departure of QB Josh Dobbs and WR Josh Malone; the question posed in an earlier KSR post stands clear. Who’s going to score the touchdowns?

What does all this mean?

These decisions are arguably the division’s most pressing offseason storylines. Chubb-Michel’s surprising decision to return could hand the Dawgs an Eastern title. Ralph Webb’s call to stay in Nashville catapults the Dores into a legitimate threat to win on any given Saturday. Boom Williams’ exit took a jab away from a program with a puncher’s chance to reach Atlanta. Alvin Kamara’s professional declaration was the final exiting piece of a once potent offensive skill group on a team that may struggle to score touchdowns.

Five decisions, four teams, one East title chase prominently impacted.

UP NEXT: All things Governor’s Cup from Frankfort.


The Depth Chart Podcast with Mark Higgs

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This week it’s another edition of Freddie Maggard’s “Has Beens” series on The Depth Chart Podcast.  Chris Chenault returns with his roommate, Jay Dortch, to bust the chops of former UK great Mark Higgs.  One of the best to ever run the football at the University of Kentucky, his old teammates spend more time teasing him then praising him for his long list of accomplishments.  Highlights:

—  The time Higgs crossed Chenault’s dog, 45.

—  Their summer jobs, and how Higgs got the easiest.

—  Where Benny Snell stacks up against the best running backs in the SEC.

—  Can Kentucky hit the over of six wins in 2017?

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.