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Football

Football Season Coverage

Benny Snell will be live on KSR TOMORROW!

Snell Yeah! He’s already announced his first autograph tour around the state, but the good news doesn’t stop there. Benny Snell will be on Kentucky Sports Radio from 11:00-noon tomorrow, Monday January 7th. He’ll be joining the gang to talk the Citrus Bowl win, his record-breaking season and much more.

Don’t forget, he’ll also be kicking off his tour at our very own KSBar on Friday, January 11 from 6-8 p.m.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or sending a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264. Here’s how you can listen:

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4-Star Enzo Jennings lists Kentucky in Top-11

4-Star Enzo Jennings lists Kentucky in Top-11

Enzo Jennings has made his first round of cuts – and Kentucky made the list. Of course, the 2020 4-star prospect left 11 schools on his radar, but it’s still positive news for the Cats.

The Michigan native is listed as a 6-foot-2, 178-pound cornerback. He comes in just inside the top-100 players in the class nationally (No. 93) and ranks as the No. 11 “athlete” in the class. According to Jennings’ 247Sports profile, the top-four contenders for his commitment are Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Notre Dame, and he is being recruited by Steve Clinkscale, the Cats’ defensive backs coach.

To make it even more interesting, Jennings is also teammates with 5-star offensive guard Justin Rogers. His commitment, as of now, seems to be between Georgia and Ohio State, but Kentucky is still listed as a ‘warm” school on 247Sports (along with LSU, Michigan and Tennessee). And it looks like he still needs some help deciding:

Kentucky has several young guys coming through the pipelines for both of these positions, but they are losing key seniors, so it never hurts to pick up a few more highly-touted recruits. At the cornerback position, UK will lose Derrick Baity and Lonnie Johnson; at offensive guard, they’ll lose an All-American in Bunchy Stallings.

We’re still a long way away from getting ink-to-paper for these guys, and I know there are people out there who get worn out with football commits, especially in the age of the dreaded de-commitment. But these are two talented, out-of-state ball players from up north, and it means something they’re both still interested in Kentucky. A few seasons ago, we wouldn’t have been able to say that.


@MaggieDavisKSR


via UKAthletics

It’s move-in day for some future football Cats

via UKAthletics

Thanks to the relatively-new early signing period, several incoming football players are able to graduate high school early, enroll at UK in the spring and immediately begin practicing with the team. Last year, Terry Wilson and De’Andre Square were two of the five players who enrolled early, and it certainly paid off for them. After signing day in December, Mark Stoops told reporters he expected nine early enrollees.

At this point, at least two of these future Cats have already made their way to campus. With spring classes beginning Wednesday, Moses Douglass and Isaiah Gibson have both announced they are Lexington-bound.

Both players will play on the defensive-side of the ball and both will have the chance to contribute as freshmen next season. You can read-up on both of the newest wildcats HERE. And go ahead and show them some BBN love online – it’s hard moving away from home for the first time.


@MaggieDavisKSR


Boyle County’s Reese Smith picks up an offer from West Virginia

via @reesesmith_

The Cats have some more competition. Reese Smith, a three-star 2020 prospect from Boyle County, just picked up an offer from West Virginia. Kentucky offered Smith back in October, after Tennessee extended an offer in mid-September.

Smith announced the offer on his Twitter account:

The offer comes just days after Neal Brown accepted the WVU head coaching job. Remember, Brown also played football at Boyle County High School. Smith was formerly listed as a wide receiver, but is now listed as an “athlete.” As of now, Kentucky is recruiting him as a safety, while other schools, including Duke, are recruiting him as a slot receiver.

Last season, Smith finished with 53 receptions for 1,173 yards and 20 touchdowns. At safety, he had three interceptions in 2018, returning one for a 99 yard touchdown.

Sure, Neal Brown seems like a nice guy and they share that Boyle County bond. But the Cats just went 10-3, and the BBN does tend to love a Kentucky boy a little extra… Just ask Kash Daniel.


@MaggieDavisKSR


ESPN releases their final Top-25… And doesn’t include Kentucky

ESPN just released their final Football Power Index rankings for the season, and Kentucky didn’t make the list.

That’s right, after finishing 10-3 including Citrus Bowl win over Penn State, the computer-generated ranking system didn’t have Kentucky as a Top-25 program. The FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. To make matters worse, Kentucky beat four teams that made it onto the list: Missouri, Florida, Penn State and Mississippi State.

Let’s think about that.

No. 14 Missouri finished the season 8-5, including a 15-14 loss to the Cats.

No. 11 Florida also finished 10-3, but let’s not forget that 27-16 loss to Kentucky inside the Swamp.

No. 10 Penn State lost to Kentucky less than a week ago, finishing their season 9-4.

No. 9 Mississippi State fell to the Cats 28-7, finished with an 8-5 record and earned a top-10 spot.

See the complete Top-25 list here on 247 Sports

This Kentucky team is used to being disrespected. My guess? This will only continue motivating Kentucky into the spring season. While the FPI rankings don’t actually “mean” much, it still stings to be completely left off the list following such a spectacular season in the Bluegrass.

In the wise words of Vince Marrow:


@MaggieDavisKSR


Kentucky’s Historic Football Season by the Numbers

Kentucky’s spectacular 2018-19 football season took the program to heights seen only by few.  To reach the ten-win milestone, the Wildcats broke records and posted crazy numbers.  The following few are the best of the best.

Defense

7 — Kentucky’s scoring defense finished seventh in the country, allowing only 16.8 points per game.  The UK defense was the only power five unit to allow more than 24 points just once (Georgia).  Kentucky was 19th in the country in pass defense, allowing just 186.3 yards per game, and 23rd in total defense at 337.9 yards per game.  It’s the first time under Stoops UK’s defense has held opponents under 400 yards a game.  All are high watermarks for Mark Stoops’ defense.

7.8 — Penalties a game committed by Kentucky opponents, the fourth-most in the nation.

17 — Josh Allen’s new single-season sack record is the third-most in SEC history, trailing only Derrick Thomas in 1987 and 1988.  Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson topped Allen by only a half-sack.  Allen was credited with more sacks than 13 FBS teams, including Louisville, who finished the year with 11.

19 — Mike Edwards’ 317 career tackles are the second-most by a defensive back in school history.  He finishes 19th all-time and is the first person to join UK’s 300-tackle club since Danny Trevathan.

21.5 — Josh Allen’s tackles for loss were the second most in a Kentucky season, .5 behind Art Still.  The National Defensive Player of the Year led the SEC  in TFLs and was sixth in the nation.  Allen finished his career with 42 tackles for loss. I believe it’s the only Oliver Barnett career record he did not break.

24 — Career interceptions by Kentucky’s five senior defensive backs: Mike Edwards, Derrick Baity, Darius West, Christ Westry and Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Special Teams

3 — Lynn Bowden was one of three players in the country with two punt return touchdowns.  What makes the feat even more incredible is that he scored twice in only five returns.  He’s the first UK player since Derek Abney to return more than one punt for a touchdown in a season.

14 — In his first year punting, Max Duff was 14th in country, averaging 44.78 yards per punt.  Duffy’s two longest punts of the year, 67 and 65 yards, were in the Citrus Bowl.  With a dominant defense and a ball control offense, Duffy’s ability to flip the field directly impacted the scoreboard.

20 — Kentucky’s kickoff coverage was ranked 20th in the nation and second in the SEC.  The hidden yards gave UK’s defense another advantage.

Offense

4 — C.J. Conrad became just the fourth tight end and 28th player in school history to record more than 1,000 yards receiving.  He finished his career with 1,015 and was one touchdown away from tying UK’s career record for receiving scores by a tight end.

67 — Lynn Bowden broke Derek Abney’s record for receptions in a season by a sophomore.  He caught 34.5 percent of UK’s passes, the highest percentage in school history.  The only UK wide receiver with more receiving yards as a sophomore is Dicky Lyons Jr., who had 822 to Bowden’s 745.

67.2 — Terry Wilson’s completion percentage was the seventh-best among Power Five schools and the second-best in school history, trailing only Tim Couch’s 1998 season (72.3%).  Terry Touchdown is the first UK quarterback to accumulate at least 1,500 passing yards and 500 net rushing yards in the same season.

1,449 — Benny Snell ranked sixth in the nation in rushing yards to become Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher with 3,873 career yards. Snell’s 16 rushing touchdowns were good enough to be ranked ninth in America.  He now holds just about every UK rushing record.  He ranks 12th in the SEC in career rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns.  Snell Yeah.


Contract details of Neal Brown’s deal at West Virginia have been released

Stacy Revere | Getty Images

Yesterday afternoon, former Kentucky wide receiver and offensive coordinator officially made the head coaching jump from Troy to West Virginia.

Today, details of his new six-year contract have been released, and the former Wildcat has almost 20 million reasons to be excited about the new opportunity.

At Troy, Brown’s contract was worth $3,260,000 over four years, good for an average of $815,000 per year.

With West Virginia, the former Kentucky receiver and offensive coordinator’s deal will be worth $19,050,000 over six years, an average of $3,175,000 per season.

That’s good for a nearly 585-percent raise in salary from his last coaching job to this one. He’ll almost be making his entire four-year Troy coaching salary per year as a Mountaineer.

Diving even deeper, the first year of his contract will be worth $3,000,000, with $50,000 raises each year until 2024 when his salary reaches $3,300,000.

His buyout will be completely guaranteed his first two years as a Mountaineer, and then 75 percent every season after.

During the hiring process, West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons said Brown “checked all the boxes” he looked for in a head coach. From there, the decision to bring on the offensive guru from Danville.

“When I started this national search, I learned very quickly that he checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in our next football coach,” Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “There is no question that the Mountaineers are West Virginia’s team, and I know our fans are going to love his energy, passion, work ethic and excitement that he is going to bring our program.”

For Brown, it was an opportunity to join a program with a “long and successful history,” one he just couldn’t pass up.

“West Virginia has a long and successful history. I am looking forward to adding to that great tradition and strengthening our place in the Big 12 Conference and nationally,” Brown said. “We will work hard, play hard and do things the right way to make the people from the great state of West Virginia proud of their program. That will be a foundational element of our culture. I can’t wait to meet our team and get to work.”

Tradition and history aside, a total salary jump of $15,790,000 isn’t too shabby for the former Wildcat.

Congratulations and best of luck, Neal Brown!


A “THANK YOU,” to the 2018 Kentucky football team

Kentucky Football just finished 10-and-3 for the first time since 1977. I remember this past summer telling co-workers, friends and my dad about this program maybe having an opportunity to do something special this season. I told them it had to happen this year; this was it. If it didn’t happen this year, I didn’t know if it would ever happen because of all the talent we had coming back. Little did I know this team would go on to have a 10-win season while beating Florida (for the first time in 31 years), beating a very good, ranked Mississippi State team, beating South Carolina for the fifth year in a row, beating Missouri as the clock expired on a game-winning, CJ Conrad touchdown and most importantly, beating a blue-blood program like Penn State in a New Year’s Day Bowl Game.

Just like the majority of you readers, I have been a die-hard Kentucky football fan since my first trip to see the Cats play.  My first game was the UK-IU game in Bloomington, Indiana in 2003 (side note: I grew up in Southern Indiana and was born at the approximate kickoff time of an Indiana vs. Kentucky football game). My parents wanted to make it the annual trip every fall, whether it was in Indiana or in Lexington – unfortunately, the series would only last three more years. I remember rocking my Nike Jarred Lorenzen Jersey into Memorial Stadium that day and watching the Wildcats beat the Hoosiers 34-17.

Over the years, just like you, I have witnessed the heartbreakers in person, like watching the blue and white get beat by Western on a flea flicker in overtime at home.  Or watch them get embarrassed by Vandy by 40 at home. I even remember walking out of Commonwealth Stadium after we just got throttled by a No. 20 ranked Florida team during Stoops’ first season (which was expected because of our lack of talent) and hearing a fan yell out of his truck, “GREAT HIRE, BARNHART.” I was thinking “what an idiot.” My point is, I remember the bad times because there were more of them than there were good. When’s basketball season, right?

But I have also seen some gratifying wins. Like being in a packed Commonwealth Stadium with my dad to see Stevie get loose against the No. 9 ranked Cardinals in 2007.

Once I got to UK in the fall of 2015, the first thing I did was make sure I bought my student football season tickets. I was bummed with a 5-7 season, but at the time I knew the freshmen we had could be special. I sure didn’t know we’d have a defensive player of the year one day in Josh Allen, but I knew that 2015 class had great talent.

About three years ago I made a bucket list for myself: make it to every single SEC stadium for a Kentucky away game before I die. Previously I had been to Alabama, Missouri and Georgia. This year, I decided to travel 2,775 miles for this team – which included watching them lose to Texas A&M and Tennessee. But, on the bright side, I also got to see them end the streak in Gainesville, completely embarrass instate-rival Louisville and win in Orlando against the Nittany Lions.  It was something I didn’t know was plausible my freshman year.

I remember walking out of the Swamp that night with tears in my eyes thinking to myself “WE DID IT.” But also thinking, this season IS going to be special. I remember hugging random UK fans and getting the dirtiest of looks from the Gator fans because I couldn’t contain my excitement for this team. I knew every year beforehand with Stoops at the helm, if we could just get over the Florida hump, we were in for something special – and then it finally happened. Like the UF game, after the final second ticked off the clock in Orlando, I put on my sunglasses so no one else could see me let loose of some grown-man tears. The Cats did it. They capped off the special season with some hardware.

This season brought this fanbase and the state of Kentucky so much joy. Walking to class this fall while listening to the guys on KSR talk about this special team, I got the chills. This season will be talked about and discussed for years. It was as special as it gets for a Kentucky football fan. People need to take note of that – especially since we got to witness Benny break the all-time rushing record at UK and see Josh win every defensive award possible.

Matt has said in the past at times this fan base puts so much effort into its football program and gets very little in return, which I always agreed with because of how passionate we have proven to be. This year, we got everything back in return and more.

I genuinely do believe this program is here to stay. Yes, we will have down seasons with maybe a 6-6 record every now and then. But I think the negative “it’s just Kentucky football” saying is officially retired. As long as Stoops is still around, I believe this program is only going to continue up the ladder from here.

And it all started with the 2018 Kentucky Wildcats. So I want to THANK YOU, Benny Snell. THANK YOU, Josh Allen. THANK YOU, Kash Daniel. THANK YOU, CJ Conrad. THANK YOU, Lynn Bowden. THANK YOU, Terry Wilson. And THANK YOU, to the entire Kentucky football team for bringing us all such joy throughout this entire season.

But most importantly THANK YOU, COACH STOOPS.

A wise man once said, “WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED BRO.”

#CitrusBowlChamps


@Alex_Holder_KSR


Former Kentucky running backs coach accepts job at Louisville

Former Kentucky running backs coach accepts job at Louisville

Chad Scott, a former running backs coach at Kentucky, has officially signed on to join new head coach Scott Satterfield at Louisville. Once again, he’ll be leading the running backs.

Scott coached at Kentucky from 2013-2015, mentoring running backs including Boom Williams and Jojo Kemp. When Mark Stoops brought Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw on board to lead the offense, Scott was set to begin coaching the wide receiver position. But, before that could happen, Scott accepted a job at North Carolina. Scott also left Kentucky for UNC while he was a player for the Cats – he enrolled and played at Kentucky beginning in the year 2000, but he transferred to North Carolina before his junior season.

He returned to Chapel Hill to coach the Tar Heels from 2016-2018, leading the tight end position and serving as one of their main recruiters. That’s where this news could affect Kentucky – Scott is from Florida and has been known to recruit heavily from that area.

During his time at Kentucky, Scott was listed as the primary recruiter for players including Derrick Baity, Sihiem King, Jojo Kemp and Jeff Badet – all from Florida.

While Kentucky has found great success recruiting throughout the Sunshine State and would hate to see talent from there playing for the Dirty Birds, the Cats have something the Cardinals don’t: Vince Marrow.

Scott has also worked with Neal Brown at three different schools: Kentucky, Texas Tech and Troy.

His twitter bio still includes the UNC Athletics’ web site link, but it looks like Scott reacted to his new job with… a quote from Zayn Malik? The guy from the once-popular (among teenage girls) boy band One Direction?

Yep, he should fit right in at Louisville.


via UKAthletics

Congratulations are in order – Josh Allen is ENGAGED!

via UKAthletics

As if Josh Allen’s year hasn’t been great enough already… He’s officially engaged! Allen just announced the exciting news on his Instagram account. Take a look at that ring:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’M MARRYING THE LOVE OF MY LIFE AND SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!

A post shared by Father To Wesley DeVon Allen (@joshallen41) on

With his college football career officially over and the NFL draft quickly approaching, Allen must have felt it was the perfect time to pop the question to his long-time girlfriend. The two already share an adorable son, who Allen has frequently called his motivation as well as his reasoning for returning to Kentucky for his senior season.

I’m no ring expert, but based on the size of that rock, I’d say Allen has signed an agent and is already looking forward to making the big bucks. Good for him, and congratulations to the future Mr. and Mrs. Allen!