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There’s a special football press conference scheduled for 1 p.m.

commonwealth-stadium-ksr

Well, here’s an interesting little tidbit for an otherwise slow Monday morning. UK has just called a press conference for 1 p.m. this afternoon to announce a “major corporate partnership involving the University of Kentucky, UK Athletics and JMI Sports.” The press conference will take place at the Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building, and from what we’re hearing, will be tied to the football program.

Hmm…corporate partner and football. Does this mean the naming rights for Commonwealth Stadium have been sold? If so, please let it be something halfway cool and not lame.

Leave your best guesses in the comments. We’ll have a live stream of the presser at 1 p.m. for you.


Monday’s Top 10: It’s Gonna be May

Good morning, everyone, and happy May Day. While the first day of May is traditionally celebrated with people dancing around a Maypole, nowadays, it’s usually greeted by one of your friends texting or tweeting you a picture of Justin Timberlake in his NSYNC days because you know, it’s gonna be May. I’m going to celebrate by attempting to stay in my chair all day because it hurts too much to walk. Saturday’s Rock ‘N Roll half marathon was brutal, guys. Thankfully, this chair’s got wheels.

Lots going on today, so let’s get to it.

1. UK landed a four-star football commitment last night

Mark Stoops and company got some big news late last night when four-star offensive tackle Darian Kinnard committed, becoming the seventh member of UK’s 2018 class. Kinnard is a massive get — literally. At 6’7″ 336 lbs., he’s a monster, and ranked the 17th best offensive tackle in his class by 247 Sports. The Cleveland, Ohio native picked the Cats over West Virginia, Penn State, Maryland, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Purdue, and he was also drawing interest from Ohio State.

Welcome aboard, Darian. Stay a while, won’t you?

2. Maybe that’s why Vince Marrow was so swaggy

Kentucky’s recruiting guru was a tweeting machine yesterday, putting a good spin on Kentucky’s disappointing NFL Draft (more on that in a minute). Marrow said Kentucky’s days of not having a player go in the draft are over:

Gotta love the big dawg’s confidence.

3. Cats in the NFL update

Saturday was a surprising day for the program as Kentucky’s two best NFL Draft prospects, Jon Toth and Boom Williams, went undrafted. Boom signed with the Bengals afterwards, but Toth still doesn’t have a home, which is truly bizarre given that he was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick. Yesterday, rumors circulated that Toth signed with the 49ers, but ESPN’s Field Yates shot that down, tweeting that Toth “will soon be fully healthy” and should sign with a team then. Wait, what? He was injured? That’s the first we’re hearing of that.

Meanwhile, Ryan Timmons signed with the Bears and JD Harmon with the Browns. Here’s hoping Toth finds a home soon. Whichever team lands him is getting a heck of a steal.

4. UK Baseball won their series with South Carolina

Nick Mingione’s squad continues its impressive rise, winning the series at South Carolina this weekend, the first time the Bat Cats have beaten the Gamecocks in Columbia since 1999. UK improves to 31-14, leading the SEC East with a 14-7 league mark and tying Western Division co-leaders Mississippi State and Auburn for the overall league lead. On Friday, they got their first win in the series in dominating fashion, beating South Carolina by an astounding score of 19-1, Kentucky’s largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent in school history. Do yourself a favor and watch the highlights below:

They’re getting it done, folks.

5. It was a big weekend for basketball recruiting

The spring live period continues, which means John Calipari was on the road to watch targets at Nike and Under Armour events in Indianapolis. Cal watched pretty much all of his 2018 and 2019 targets, including Marvin Bagley, Cameron Reddish, Javonte Smart, Romeo Langford, Immanuel Quickley, Moses Brown, and 2019 stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, who will visit UK later this week. I’ll have a more detailed rundown on the recruiting weekend for you later this morning.

6. Calipari found a home for his Air Jordan 8 Calipari Pack

Something tells me he’ll still sport a pair on the road on recruiting trips.

7. ICYMI, Hamidou Diallo got an NBA Combine invitation

On Saturday, five Cats received invitations to next week’s NBA Combine: Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, and, yes, Hamidou Diallo. Diallo is the only Cat left who declared for the draft but didn’t sign with an agent. The Combine takes place in Chicago May 9-14 and while Diallo has until May 24 to decide whether or not to stay in the draft, A LOT of that decision could weigh on his performance next week.

8. It’s Derby Week

Can you believe it’s already Derby week? I can’t, but it’s here, which means the city of Louisville will put its best foot (hoof?) forward this week. The draw is Wednesday morning at 11 a.m., and I’ll be honest, I haven’t done a bit of research on this year’s contenders. Thankfully, Chad Lashbrook and the folks at Twin Spires will be by this week to get us ready.

9. Rich Brooks is having a heck of a time on vacation

Nobody does retirement like Rich Brooks, who is currently fishing in the Bahamas:

Is there anyone cooler than Brooks in this picture?

The answer is no. Man is having the time of his life, and I’m super jealous.

10. The KSR Movie Bracket rolls on

The gang will wrap up the KSR movie bracket on today’s show, which means you’ve got an hour to mull over your picks:

— Shawshank Redemption vs. Top Gun
— Wolf of Wall Street vs. Titanic
— Pulp Fiction vs. Silence of the Lambs
— Rocky vs. Lord of the Rings
— Star Wars vs. Batman
— Goodfellas vs. Schindler’s List
— Saving Private Ryan vs. Jurassic Park
— Se7en vs. Forrest Gump

My Final 4: Shawshank Redemption, Rocky, Star Wars, and Saving Private Ryan. Gimme Rocky in an upset.


Picture from @UKFootball

Ryan Timmons Picked Up by the Chicago Bears

Photo by @UKFootball Twitter Account

Photo by @UKFootball Twitter Account

In more UK Football news…

Ryan Timmons has been picked up by the Chicago Bears during the Free Agent signing period.

Timmons joins Boom Williams and J.D. Harmon as players who’ve received free agent offers.

I don’t think anyone’s enjoying seeing our Cats and our fellow SEC players getting to play in the NFL more than Vince Marrow. Just take a look at a few of his tweets:

The man seems pretty confident and, I don’t hate it.


Where Former Kentucky Football Stars Landed in NFL Free Agency

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Kentucky’s streak of nine consecutive years with an NFL Draft pick was snapped today, but that will not keep a few talented former Cats out of the league.  The free agency market is open for business and these Cats are wasting no time finding a team.

Jon Toth

The former Kentucky center is heading to the San Francisco 49ers.  It was a bit of a shock that the Team Captain who started 47 of 48 games was held out of the draft.  A former two-star prospect, Toth is in familiar territory, fighting to prove himself.

UPDATE: According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Toth has not signed with the 49ers and is still a free agent.

J.D. Harmon

The defensive back and product of Paducah Tilghman Tweeted that he’ll be joining the Cleveland Browns.  Normally people don’t choose to go to Cleveland, but Harmon has the skill set and athleticism to make the roster as an impact player on special teams.

Boom Williams

According to this report, Boom Williams has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.  The BBN may not have to go too far to see a Boom next year.

This list will be updated throughout the night.  


Cats Shut Out in the NFL Draft: What’s Next?

KSR-football-7979

Kentucky had zero players taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. Only one Wildcat was projected to be selected and Jon Toth never heard his name called. Prognostications were all over the place for the center. Starting in the 3rd round all the way through 7 and further, analysts varied in their assessment of the center that started 47 consecutive college games.

The Toth situation was surprising and somewhat discouraging. A team captain, 1st Team All SEC selectee, and Rimington Trophy Watch Lister checked all the blocks to be selected; but that didn’t happen. The knock on Toth was that he lacked elite athletic skills. But, production, leadership, intangibles, and consistency were all through the roof, but not enough.

In addition, the center position is a tricky evaluation and several in the league rose from the ranks of the undrafted. A former 2-star prospect; Toth will need to prove himself all over again on the professional level. Don’t feel sorry for Jon Toth. The Indy native took advantage of a free education and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Boom Williams declared for the draft immediately after the Taxslayer Bowl. Most likely that decision was made long before Jacksonville. Only ESPN’s Mel Kiper had Williams slated within the parameters of being chosen with every other analyst having him ranked outside the Top 300 list of draft eligible players.

Revisionist history will say that the junior running back should have returned to Lexington for his senior season. He could have been a catalyst for an offense that exploded onto the national rushing category scene in 2016 and completed his degree while improving on skills that could have boosted his status in the 2018 Draft. Like Toth, Boom will get a chance to prove his worth.

What’s Next?

Undrafted free agency for all. Phones are most likely already ringing as teams will be attempting to sign Toth, Williams, McWilson, Harmon, and others.

2018 may see Wildcats drafted. If so, expect potential early departures from Jordan Jones and Mike Edwards. Again, a disappointing process for the BBN.

It’s not personal, it’s personnel.


The NFL Draft Ends Without a Selection from Kentucky

The 2017 NFL Draft came and went and not a single Wildcat was picked.  It’s the first time all Cats have gone undrafted since 2007.

Shortly after the season, center Jon Toth was projected between the third and sixth rounds.  In the final week, he started to slide, but many believed his spot in the draft was secure.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  To make matters worse, with the 25th pick in the last round the Texans selected another center,  Kyle Fuller from Baylor.

Boom Williams was considered a fringe draft selection when he decided to forego his final season of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft after the TaxSlayer Bowl.  He gained some late momentum, potentially earning a late spot in the draft, but his name was never called.

As late round picks, it actually might be advantageous that they both fell out of the draft.  Now they can each choose the place that fits them best in free agency.  Still, it hurts that a Louisville long snapper got selected in the sixth round but that Cats couldn’t get a draft pick.


More Chair-Backs are Coming to Commonwealth Stadium

More Chair-Backs are Coming to Commonwealth Stadium

commonwealth-stadium-ksr

Things are getting a little nicer for fans who sit near the top of Commonwealth Stadium.  UK announced that 6,000 chair-backs will be installed in the upper deck of the stadium’s south side between sections 221-231.

When Commonwealth Stadium was renovated two years ago, chair-backs for everyone was put on the wait list.  Slowly but surely, UK has installed more comfortable seats for the common man, the biggest complaint from most fans.

The new seats will not alter season ticket prices.  Just under 31,000 Kentucky football fans (30,688) have renewed their season tickets for the 2017 season.  To get yours visit UKFootballTix.com.


Two NFL Draft Prospects are Using their Unique Names to Make Money

@6abc

@6abc

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.

@chetan

@chetanrakieten

The NFL Draft begins tonight at 8:00 in Philadelphia.


Pre-NFL Draft Offseason Football Notes

Pre-NFL Draft Offseason Football Notes

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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:

 

NFL Draft

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.

Toth Projections
-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”.

Bryan Lynn | USA Today

Bryan Lynn | USA Today

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.


Boom Williams climbs up Mel Kiper’s big board

boom-will

The biggest name in NFL draft coverage has Kentucky’s own Boom Williams moving up his board on draft day.

Mel Kiper, the king of the draft, ranked Williams at No. 150 in his final rankings, which would be a fifth-round selection if the rankings hold up. That’s Williams’ best projection to date and the only one that has him anywhere close to being drafted.

Unfortunately, Kiper lists Jon Toth as his No. 278 overall prospect, which would mean undrafted for the former Wildcat center. Toth’s projections are all over the place, ranging from fourth-round pick to not selected. Toth is No. 169 in Todd McShay’s final rankings.

Neither Wildcat is expected to get picked up tonight or tomorrow, but Saturday is a big day for their football futures.

[ESPN: Mel Kiper’s Final Big Board]


The NFL Draft starts tomorrow, but don’t expect to hear any UK names until Saturday

The NFL Draft begins tomorrow night, but before you plan your night around it, one, don’t because it’s the most boring television event ever; and two, you probably won’t hear any Kentucky players’ names called until Saturday, which is when the fourth through seventh rounds take place.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Todd McShay ranked Jon Toth the fourth best center in the draft, which would be good enough to get him drafted in the fifth round. What about Boom Williams? McShay ranks him the 30th best running back in the draft, likely to go off the board in the seventh and final round. Those are the only two Cats listed in McShay’s rankings.

Meanwhile, McShay’s colleague Mel Kiper ranks Toth the sixth best center, Boom the 21st best running back, and JoJo Kemp the 60th best running back in the draft. Here’s hoping all three find a home, even if it means on a practice squad.

Good luck, boys.

[ESPN]


Louisville’s Shaq Wiggins headed to Tennessee

Image via GoCards.com

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.

During his careers at Georgia and Louisville, Wiggins had four tackles in games against Kentucky. See you on October 28 at Commonwealth Stadium, Shaq.


The Depth Chart Podcast Prepares for the NFL Draft

depth-chart-jack-kain-ford

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.


Toth a fourth-rounder in new NFL mock draft

Mark Zerof | USA Today

Mark Zerof | USA Today

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.


Kentuckymbb|IG

Winners from the 15th CATSPYs

Kentuckymbb|IG

KentuckyMBB | IG

Community Service Award
Alex Carter (women’s soccer)
Sean Gunn (men’s swimming and diving)
Female Rookie of the Year
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (women’s track and field)
Male Rookie of the Year
Malik Monk (men’s basketball)
Bill Keightley “Assist” Award
Ryan Clark (men’s basketball)
Blue Heart Award
Kole Cottam (baseball)
Alex Montgomery (football)
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Danielle Galyer (women’s swimming and diving)
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Paul Sime (men’s soccer)
Female Academic Team of the Year
Women’s tennis
Male Academic Team of the Year
Men’s golf
Scratch Award
Paige Poffenberger (women’s basketball)
Supporting Role
Dominique Hawkins (men’s basketball)
Heart of a Wildcat
Makayla Epps (women’s basketball)
Evelyn Akhator (women’s basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year
Sha’Keela Saunders (women’s track and field)
Male Athlete of the Year
Jacob Thomson (men’s track and field)
Coach(es) of the Year
Mark Stoops (football)
John Calipari (men’s basketball)
Lars Jorgensen (swimming and diving)
Edrick Floréal (track and field)
Female Team of the Year
Women’s swimming and diving
Male Team of the Year
Men’s basketball
Miss Wildcat
Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)
Mr. Wildcat
Jon Toth (football)

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.