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@Robinson_era

Ohio State Offers Wandale Robinson

@Robinson_era

Well, this changes things.

Wandale Robinson, arguably Kentucky’s top remaining recruit from the Commonwealth, officially received a scholarship offer from Ohio State, he announced this morning on Twitter.

Considered the No. 9 all-purpose back in the nation, the Frankfort native has been recruited by Ohio State for quite some time.  Two weeks ago Robinson told KSR, “Ohio State’s been on me really hard, but still has not offered me.  It’s kind of weird.”

Robinson’s recruitment appeared to be a two-horse race between Kentucky and Duke, but now that Ohio State has firmly entered the picture it will be exponentially more difficult for Vince Marrow to keep one of the Commonwealth’s best from leaving the state of Kentucky.  Marrow has taken top recruits from the state of Ohio for years.  Now Ohio State is out for revenge.


Miami Football Coach Unironically Complains About De-Commitments

Miami Football Coach Unironically Complains About De-Commitments

Todd Hartley is mad on the internet.

The Miami tight ends coach is a little salty after The U lost their second commitment in three days last night.  This morning he fired off the following not-so-subtle Tweet:

Funny, coming from The University of Miami.  It’s not like they just flipped Kentucky’s highest-ranked recruit to The U last Sunday.  Or that their four-star quarterback originally committed to Kentucky, de-committed, re-committed then flipped to Miami just before signing day.

Pot, meet kettle.


Ten Things KSR Learned about Nik Scalzo from a Conversation with his Coach, Matt DuBuc

Ten Things KSR Learned about Nik Scalzo from a Conversation with his Coach, Matt DuBuc

@NikScalzo

Last week Eddie Gran received a commitment from South Florida quarterback, Nik Scalzo.  An unheralded three-star recruit, we heard the Baker Mayfield comparisons and a few more anecdotes, but there’s much more to learn about UK’s next signal-caller.

To find out more about Scalzo, I sought somebody who knows him quite well, his coach at Cardinal Gibbons, Matt DuBuc.  After a 15-minute conversation with KSR, there are a few things that should make you excited to see Scalzo in Kentucky blue.

1. Air Raid Roots

Scalzo has been tagged as a dual-threat quarterback by 247 Sports, but that’s not necessarily the case.  Throughout his quarterbacking career, he’s led an Air Raid offense.  That tag can often be misleading, especially for Kentucky fans who recall the years Tim Couch fired up the sirens at Commonwealth Stadium.

DuBuc runs the same offense Hal Mumme operated at Kentucky, because he learned it from Mumme’s most successful disciple, Mike Leach.

“It is very similar.  I went to Texas Tech, so I know Mike Leach very well.  It’s very similar to the Air Raid he ran at Texas Tech and Washington State.” DuBuc told KSR.  “We’re running very similar things to what you saw when Leach was there, and Mumme, at Cardinal Gibbons.”

2. Scalzo Loves the Deep Ball

There are differences in the offense Scalzo runs and the one that Tim Couch ran at Kentucky.  The foundation of that offense was to get the ball into open space, often with short passes, then let playmakers make plays.

“That’s how I teach it, but unfortunately, he likes to take the big shots,” DuBuc said with a laugh.  “On almost every play we have a pre-snap read where we have a vertical route.  If he feels like we can win on that vertical route, he’ll take it.  We’re not necessarily dink and dunk.  The Air Raid’s evolved a little bit more in the last few years where there’s a lot more vertical throws within the diamond concept, but if you want to throw for a lot of yards in this offense, you gotta utilize the backs.  The backs are key.”

One of the running backs, Vincent Davis, is also a Kentucky target.  More on him later.

3. He’s Always Been Undersized

DuBuc first began training Scalzo when the quarterback was in middle school.  If he’s considered undersized now at 5’11”, you should have seen him then.

“He was a little 5’3″ kid when we started, but always had a really good arm and good feet, so I thought there was potential there.”

It did not take long for that potential to turn into production.

“His freshman year he threw for almost 2,000 yards on JV, and you could just tell — ball placement, moxie, athletic ability.  He had those things and he’s smart.  He came in here and got a 4.5 GPA.  He’s just done it the right way.”

He was only about 5’8″ in that first season.  As his game grew, luckily he did too.

4. The Comparisons to Mayfield, Manzeil are Fair

Following Scalzo’s commitment, many eyes rolled when he was compared to two of the last six Heisman Trophy winners.  I’ll admit, I was one of them, but DuBuc makes a good case for the comparisons.

“I think he’s very similar to Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manzeil.  I think he’s got a lot of their qualities as a playmaker.  The one thing in the Air Raid — Tim Couch was not really able to, when the pocket collapsed, he had to get it out or throw it away and play on second down.  Nik has that ability, even though we’re running the Air Raid, when things break down he’s able to continue the play, but look to throw and not to run.  He gets a lot of balls out there to guys that they can’t cover for more than three or four seconds.”

5. Not a Runner

Scalzo has the dual-threat tag.  His coach said it’s not because he’s going to run for 1,000 yards.  He’s quick enough to escape the pocket, but once that happens, he looks to throw instead of run.  That development of Scalzo’s game makes his coach proud.

“That’s natural for him.  We had to break him a little bit when he got here — like a wild pony and put a saddle on him — because a lot of times when things broke down early, he ran out.  I challenged him and in the later half of last year he really became a pocket passer.  He ran when he needed to, but he wasn’t looking to run.  He was looking to throw.  I think that’s where his game has really taken the next step.”

DuBuc added: “The thing with most quarterbacks at 5’11, when things break down they run.  This guy is looking to throw, and I think that’s why he’s thrown 50 touchdowns in two years.”

6. Eddie Gran is an Excellent Evaluator

Kentucky’s offensive coordinator has developed an outstanding reputation in South Florida.  DuBuc has the utmost respect for the longtime SEC assistant who has developed relationships at Florida’s top high school programs.

“Eddie Gran does a phenomenal job recruiting the schools.  He has a great eye for talent,” DuBuc said.

Where other schools only see Scalzo’s size, Gran sees a competent quarterback that can move an offense down the field efficiently.

Eddie I would say is not taking a risk.  He is taking the best player available.  I think a lot of teams think, ‘You gotta be 6-foot or you gotta be 6-1.’  I think Eddie’s really figured out that one inch on somebody’s height isn’t going to change the day.  Can they win?  Can they perform? Can they lead people?  Can they do the things necessary to move the chains?  He sees that in Nik.”

7. They Gotta Beat American Heritage

Cardinal Gibbons has one team keeping them from getting over the hump.  Coached by three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain, American Heritage was ranked No. 14 in the nation by the USA Today Super 25 at season’s end.  I’ll let DuBuc explain how they got there…

“We were 11-2 last year and lost in the third round to American Heritage 58-57 in triple overtime on a blocked extra point.  They ended up going 15-0 and winning the state championship with a running clock.  That’s a district game for us.  Nik and I in the two years I’ve been the head coach are 21-4, and all four losses are to American Heritage.  We definitely got them on our sights.”

Scalzo and DuBuc will have another shot at American Heritage on October 12.

8. Talented Teammates

Scalzo isn’t UK’s only recruit at Cardinal Gibbons.  Near the top of Gran’s recruiting board at running back is Vincent Davis.  A three-star prospect, he holds offers from UK, Boston College, Syracuse and a dozen others.

“Vince is a 10.7 100 meters.  He’s about 5’9″, 175 and can flat out guy,” DuBuc said.  “He runs very hard for a smaller back. He’s a guy that you gotta get the ball in his hands any which way.”

Scalzo’s tight end, Nikolas Ognenovic, has traveled to Kentucky with his quarterback.  The 6’5″ target rarely puts his hand in the dirt in Gibbons’ Air Raid offense, which essentially makes him another receiver, “but he’s 240 pounds.”

The other teammate Kentucky is recruiting, offensive lineman Jamari Williams, will choose between Kentucky and Louisville this Friday.

9. Where Scalzo Needs to Improve

Scalzo is far from a polished product.  The high school junior needs to improve on his decision-making, among other things.

“You kind of always use the word “maturity” for every player.  The maturity of understanding that you don’t have to take the deep shot.  You don’t have to force the ball.  You don’t have to run out of the pocket.  Those are all maturity things.

“I think he’s a pretty good student of the game.  By the time he gets up to you guys, he’ll probably be 6-foot 195, 200 pounds.  He’s a workout guy.  He works hard in the gym.”

10. A Playmaker

Nik Scalzo has come a long way since DuBuc first met the 5’3″ seventh grader.  He’s grown physically and mentally.  Scalzo was not handed a ticket to college football.  He had to work to earn his offer from Kentucky.  Scalzo was not born with god-gifted measurements, but he did receive one gift: the ability to make plays.

“He wanted to play in the ACC or SEC.  He got those opportunities because he makes plays.  That’s the bottom line.”

 


UK Football Offers Rising In-State Star

247

The Kentucky football team has extended a scholarship offer to the fastest-rising prospect in the region.

Entering the spring season, Jared Casey only had scholarship offers from Purdue, Toledo and Cincinnati. He transferred form Trinity to Ballard last year, but had to miss the entire season with a torn labrum.  He returned to football this spring on the camping circuit.  After taking home the linebacker MVP honors at the Rivals Camp in Nashville, the unranked recruit became a four-star prospect.

Now a consensus Top 20 linebacker in the country, Casey has picked up offers from Syracuse, Oregon, and Temple since the Rivals camp.  Vince Marrow could not ignore Casey.  Today the Big Dog visited Casey at Ballard and extended him a scholarship offer.  It’s Casey’s first SEC offer and just his second in-state offer, behind only EKU.

Casey grew up a UofL fan, and he’s taken unofficial visits to the Cards’ campus, but the Cats offered him first.

You can learn more about Casey’s development from WLKY’s Dan Koob, who visited him at school last week.


@JamariWilliams3

South Florida Kentucky Offensive Line Target Sets Decision Date

@JamariWilliams3

Kentucky could add another offensive lineman to the 2019 recruiting class this week.  Three-star offensive lineman Jamari Williams said on Twitter he will announce his college decision this Friday.

A 6’4″ 275-pound lineman from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Williams plays with Kentucky quarterback commit Nik Scalzo.  He holds more than 25 scholarship offers, but Williams’ decision is ultimately between two teams: Kentucky and Louisville.

Williams has proclaimed the Cats and the Cards as his leader at different points during his recruitment.  UofL most recently earned that title on April 24, about two weeks after he visited Lexington for UK’s spring game, a trip he described as “perfect.”  As of today, the banner of his Twitter profile is this:

@JamariWilliams3

It’s a safe bet that Williams will commit to Louisville, but Scalzo’s commitment to UK could have changed things enough to put him in blue.  Stay tuned to KSR this Friday to see who will win the recruiting battle.


Introducing Kentucky Football’s Top 2019 Targets: Kentucky

The Kentucky football team is gaining momentum just in time for peak summer recruiting season.

Mark Stoops has added four commitments since Sunday, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.  Two members of UK’s 2019 recruiting class — Eli Cox and Shawnkel Knight-Goff — are Kentucky kids.  The floodgates could be broken for more top prospects from the Commonwealth to commit to Kentucky.  Here are the candidates:

JJ Weaver 
Defensive End | 6-6 | 230 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | Moore Traditional
Highlights
ESPN 50 DE| 7 KY Top 247 23 DE | 6 KY
Rivals — | 8 KY 247 Comp. 35 DE | 6 KY

Weaver is not originally from Louisville.  A native of Broward County, Florida, home of Nik Scalzo and Jake Pope, Weaver moved to Kentucky in eighth grade.  Last week the defensive end took an unofficial visit to Kentucky last weekend.  He left impressed.

“UK is showing me the most love right now,” Weaver told Rivals’ Dave Lackford.   Once perceived as a Louisville lean, he shot down that notion and complimented Kentucky’s campus.  Playing in the SEC is a big draw, but UK isn’t the only SEC school after Weaver.  Georgia is also pursuing Weaver, along with Miami and Purdue.

If Weaver had to commit today, he’d probably pick UK, but he will wait until his birthday on November 30 to decide.  Until then, Vince Marrow will be talking to the elite defensive end frequently.

Aidan Robbins 
Running Back/Linebacker | 6-3 | 225 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | DuPont Manual
Highlights
ESPN 36 RB| 8 KY Top 247 48 RB | 9 KY
Rivals — | 10 KY 247 Comp. 62 RB | 10 KY

Robbins was once seen as a shoe-in to Vanderbilt, until Marrow got involved.  He took an unofficial visit to Lexington and now the Cats are sitting comfortably.  Matt House told the Manual athlete he could play linebacker too, but Eddie Gran wants Robbins at running back.  It looks like Robbins is seeking some advice from a pretty good one.

Robbins has already taken an official visit to Vanderbilt.  He’s set for officials at Missouri, Purdue and Kentucky before he makes his decision at the end of the summer.

Wandale Robinson  
All-Purpose Back | 5-9 | 180 lbs.
Frankfort, Ky. | Western Hills
Highlights
ESPN 33 ATH| 6 KY Top 247 6 APB | 7 KY
Rivals — | 9 KY 247 Comp. 9 APB | 9 KY

Arguably the state’s best athlete, the Frankfort all-purpose back will most likely play slot receiver at the next level.  Marrow is pitching him the opportunity to be the next Lynn Bowden.  The Cats made some serious headway after an unofficial visit last weekend, but 247’s Steve Wiltfong still believes Robinson will become a Duke Blue Devil.  Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State are also in the mix.  Expect to hear Robinson’s decision prior to the end of summer.

Milton Wright  
Athlete | 6-3 | 190 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | Christian Academy of Louisville
Highlights
ESPN 44 WR| 5 KY Top 247 3 ATH | 1 KY
Rivals 33 WR| 2 KY 247 Comp. 13 ATH | 3 KY

He’s the most mysterious recruit in Kentucky and the highest-ranked.  The wide receiver/athlete is the No. 55 player in America according to 247.  A quiet kid who doesn’t have a Twitter account, it’s impossible to read where Wright stands.  He also hasn’t really taken any visits; those will happen later this summer.  Wright has a final five — UK, UofL, Alabama, Purdue and Ohio State — but the favorite to win Mr. Football is a long way from making an announcement.

Demontae “TaeTae” Crumes  
Wide Receiver | 6-1 | 165 lbs.
Louisville, Ky. | Butler Traditional
Highlights
ESPN –| — Top 247 111 WR | 10 KY
Rivals –| — 247 Comp. 93 WR | 8 KY

The Butler wide receiver committed to Louisville just days after receiving a scholarship offer.  Once Kentucky and other offers started rolling in, Crumes realized he needed to see everything the recruiting process had to offer.  No longer a UofL commit, Michigan, Michigan State and Oregon have extended scholarship offers.  Even if UK doesn’t land him, the Cats’ offer effectively took away a player from Bobby Petrino.  Well done.

Potential Prospects

Jared Casey — The Louisville inside linebacker has flown under the radar.  He transferred form Trinity to Ballard last year, but had to miss the entire season with a torn labrum.  Last week he burst onto the recruiting scene by winning MVP honors for his position at the Rivals Camp in Nashville.  Oregon took notice and offered Casey.  Kentucky might not be far behind.

Trel Riley — A cornerback from Caldwell County, he only has offers from WKU and UT-Martin, but UK could enter the picture.

Langston Jackson —  Like Casey, the athlete from Henry Clay missed his junior football season with an injury.  Jackson recovered from a torn MCL to win today’s 3A State Title in the 100M.  He told the Herald-Leader that Dean Hood has been in touch.  Maybe Jackson is the next Charles Moushey?


@Jake_pope14

Enormous South Florida Offensive Tackle Commits to Kentucky

@Jake_pope14

The commitments continue to roll in for Mark Stoops.

Just two days after quarterback Nik Scalzo committed to Kentucky, the Cats picked up an offensive tackle to protect him.  Jake Pope, a 6’7″ 275-pound three-star offensive lineman from Ft. Lauderdale, announced his decision to come to Kentucky on Twitter.

@jake_pope14

Pope resides just down the road from Scalzo.  A right tackle at St. Thomas Aquinas, the private school frequents national rankings and consistently produces Power Five talent.

A top 100 offensive tackle, Pope also held offers from Virginia Tech, Michigan State, UCF, Pitt and N.C. State.  Pope is the sixth commitment in Kentucky’s 2019 class, and the 16th player from South Florida to commit to Kentucky over the last two years.

See Pope’s best work:


Nik Scalzo is “110-percent Committed” to Kentucky

@NikScalzo

Kentucky’s latest quarterback commit wants the Big Blue Nation to know he’s here for the long haul.

This morning a pair of interviews with Scalzo were released by Rivals’ Justin Rowland and SEC Country’s Joe Mussatto.  Each interview ended with a question about the previous UK quarterback pledges that de-committed.  Scalzo gave the same response to both.

“That’s not me. I stay true to my word,” he told Mussatto. “I’m 110 percent committed to Kentucky and I don’t care if Alabama comes to my door knocking. Nothing’s gonna change my mind. All the fans out there, just know that I’m not gonna do what these past quarterbacks have done these last few years.”

He went one step further with Rowland, and even took a shot at Alabama in his response. Rowland asked: “If Nick Saban calls you tomorrow and asks you to win his sixth, seventh and eighth national titles there, what would you say?”

Scalzo replied, “I would say, ‘I’m going to win a national championship at Kentucky.'”

Scalzo’s predecessors shared a similar sentiment while committed to Kentucky.  Mac Jones frequently Tweeted things along the lines of “100-percent committed,” while Jarren Williams said he was shutting down his recruitment after his second commitment to UK, even though he eventually flipped to Miami.

Take Scalzo’s comments for what you will, however, I have a feeling you’ll enjoy the interviews with the South Florida quarterback.  You’ll discover his father played football at Clemson, he’s an adrenaline junky who loves skydiving and much more.

[Rivals and SEC Country]


@NikScalzo

Why Nik Scalzo will (probably) not De-Commit from Kentucky

@NikScalzo

When the Kentucky football team receives early commitments from quarterbacks, fans don’t know how to react.  The last two times it did not take long for excitement to turn into disappointment.  This time, it should be different.

Mac Jones was the first quarterback Kentucky fans fell for.  Unheralded as an uncommitted recruit, he climbed the rankings shortly after his commitment to Kentucky in July of 2015.  The following spring he reaffirmed his commitment with an infamous hard-hat Tweet from UK’s campus.  Just a few months later, he flipped to Alabama on an official visit.

The decision soured many fans to football recruiting, but it was easy to rationalize.  “After all, it is Alabama.”  Stephen Johnson’s success and another highly-touted quarterback helped erase that bad memory, momentarily.

The day after Jones de-committed, Jarren Williams camped at Kentucky.  Not seen by power programs as a quarterback at the college level, when the Cats fell in love with his arm, he fell in love with Kentucky.  Williams committed two weeks later.

Williams’ initial decision sparked interest from the programs that once spurned him.  Like Jones, he grabbed scouts’ attention on the camp circuit and sky-rocketed to a four-star ranking.  He remained faithful through the spring, until about every SEC school extended a scholarship offer.  Williams de-commited from Kentucky in April of 2017, then recommitted six weeks later on Kentucky Sports Radio.

“I prayed about it and my heart has always been with Kentucky, so I’m making that move,” Williams told Matt Jones.  “I’m shutting it down. This is it now. I know where my heart belongs. I’m committed 100%. I’m shutting it all down.”

Two weeks before he was set to sign with UK, Williams flipped to Miami.

Those are just two reasons why Kentucky football fans are jaded with recruiting.  When news broke last night that Nik Scalzo committed to UK, instead of being overwhelmed with optimism, the decision was met with skepticism.  However, Scalzo is different from Jones or Williams.

Scalzo is like the previous two quarterbacks in some ways.  He plays in a high-level high school football league and has had plenty of success on the camp circuits.  Scalzo was spotted early by UK’s coaching staff as an unheralded recruit.  What happens next is what separates Scalzo from Williams and Jones.

Unlike his 6’3″ predecessors, Nik Scalzo is only 5’11.”  He may have the athleticism and arm talent of a four-star prospect, but he does not have the size.  Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney and Kirby Smart are incredible coaches, but they can’t coach size.  That’s exactly why Scalzo’s offer sheet is only 15 schools long and is filled with Ivy League and Florida directional schools.

Scalzo is not alone.  Johnny Manzeil was infamously recruited by Mack Brown to play safety, before the Texas high school football star caught Kevin Sumlin’s eye at Texas A&M.  Sumlin’s risk turned into a Heisman Trophy.  Texas Tech didn’t even risk a scholarship on Baker Mayfield.  He started as a true freshman walk-on before transferring to Oklahoma to win a Heisman and play in the College Football Playoff.

Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw were willing to risk a scholarship shortly after watching Scalzo throw for the first time, despite his lack of size and notoriety.  “Coach Gran believed in me before just about any other coaches did,” Scalzo told Justin Rowland after he received his UK offer.

Even if that risk does not pay Heisman-winning dividends, Gran’s early evaluation and Scalzo’s size all but ensure the power programs will not cherry-pick him from Kentucky before the early December signing period.  A lot can happen over the next seven months, but this time the quarterback commit should stick.


@NikScalzo

Who is Nik Scalzo? UK’s Latest QB Commit that draws Baker Mayfield Comparisons

@NikScalzo

Kentucky’s 2019 class now has a quarterback.  Nik Scalzo is an atypical recruit that could be the perfect fit for Kentucky.

The right-hander from Ft. Lauderdale first entered Kentucky’s radar last summer when Scalzo made the trip to Lexington for a camp at Kroger Field.  Undersized with little hype, the 5’11” athlete did just enough to catch Darin Hinshaw’s eye.

Between last summer’s camp and today’s commitment, Scalzo threw for more than 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns, earned 15 scholarship offers and is now considered the No. 16 dual-threat quarterback in America.

Evaluated Early

Eddie Gran has developed a knack for finding talent early in South Florida.  It’s what make Kentucky such a coveted destination.

“He was one of my first believers,” Scalzo told Justin Rowland after he received an offer at Kentucky’s Junior Day in February.  At the time, only a handful of small schools and Ivy Leaguers were interested.  Once Gran and Hinshaw got involved, it completely changed Scalzo’s recruiting outlook.  The offer from Kentucky all but sealed the deal, until Hinshaw visited Scalzo’s home four days ago.

A Winner

Scalzo has succeeded against some of the best competition the country has to offer.

A starter for Cardinal Gibbons since he was a sophomore, the only team Scalzo has not beat is American Heritage, the Power-Five talent producing perennial powerhouse that finished the season ranked in the top five nationally.  Scalzo led a tremendous comeback in the final quarter of the Regional Final, but fell to American Heritage in triple overtime to end his junior season.

Once the offseason hit, the Kentucky commit found more success on the camp circuit.  Last month Scalzo quarterbacked the South Florida Express in the Adidas 7-on-7 Championship in Torrance, California.  Dubbed by 247’s Steve Wiltfong as “one of the most talented 7-on-7 fields of all-time,” Scalzo threw a 40-yard touchdown in the championship game to bring home a title.

He LOVES the Baker Mayfield Comparison

It’s not just because he likes to plant flags at midfield after big wins, like he did following the Adidas National Championship.

Or because he shares an affinity for headbands.

@NikScalzo

Like Mayfield, Scalzo is an under-sized quarterback that plays with a chip on his shoulder.  Teams were hesitant to recruit Scalzo, so he had to work hard to prove to Kentucky that he was worth the scholarship.  He did that by using a skill-set that’s similar to the Heisman Trophy winner’s.  He runs plenty of RPOs, but is most explosive when he’s moving around in the backfield, slinging the ball to all corners of the football field.

Is it fair to compare Scalzo to the Heisman Trophy winner?  Probably not, but he embraces and welcomes the comparison (one UK’s coaches use) with open arms.

Talented Teammates

When point guards or quarterbacks commit early, they often pledge to recruit others to join their class.  Scalzo does not have to look far to find talented UK recruits.

Cardinal Gibbons’ offense features three players who hold UK offers: three-star tight end Nikolas Ognenovic, three-star running back Vincent Davis and three-star offensive lineman Jamari Williams.  Ognenovic and Williams are in the middle of a Louisville-Kentucky recruiting battle.  Playing with their high school QB at the next level might be just the advantage Kentucky needs.

A Wise Guy

Harvard, Cornell and Dartmouth weren’t recruiting Scalzo because he’s an idiot.  Last fall he posted a report card with a 4.92 GPA, a grade-point average that should be impossible.

There will be Speculation

Kentucky fans have been here before.  They remember what happened after Mac Jones Tweeted, “We’re building something great.”  They also remember when Jarren Williams committed, de-committed, re-committed, then de-committed again.  Those were the last two quarterbacks to commit this early in the process.

While many will wait to share their excitement until later, Stoops will continue to target quarterbacks early in the recruiting process.  Why?  Because they kind of have to.

“A lot of times you develop that relationship early and you get honed in with a certain guy,” Stoops said last fall shortly after Jarren Williams de-committed. “And the quarterbacks are always looking for that perfect fit and you as a program are looking for the perfect fit.”

Will this be the perfect fit for Scalzo and UK?  Only time will tell.  If the commit sticks, the Cats have a gunslinger who plays with a chip on his shoulder; the perfect person to lead the SEC’s perennial underdog.


BREAKING: 2019 three-star QB Nik Scalzo commits to KENTUCKY

@NikScalzo

Kentucky has found its quarterback for the class of 2019.

This afternoon, Florida three-star dual-threat quarterback Nik Scalzo made the decision to become a Wildcat.

He committed to Kentucky over the likes of Georgia State, Tulane, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Akron, among others.

Here was the announcement:

Kentucky’s newest commitment visited Lexington back in April, and co-offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw followed it up by visiting him in Florida last week to seal the deal.

Scalzo has earned Sun Sentinel first-team All-County honors each of the past two seasons. He threw for 2,065 yards and 23 touchdowns last season on 175-307 passing. His sophomore year, Scalzo managed 2,221 yards and 27 touchdowns, leading his team to the regional semifinals.

In an interview with the Sun-Sentinel, Scalzo said it’s a dream come true to play for the Cats in the SEC.

“They believed in me 100 percent, and they overlook my size and just see that I’m a playmaker,” he said. “It was always my dream to play Power-Five conference college football, and my dreams are coming true.”

According to Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal, the Kentucky coaching staff feels Scalzo may be a “Baker Mayfield twin.”

See for yourself with his highlights below:

Welcome home!


Today on KSR: A Fluid Football Recruiting Weekend

@jalengeiger

It was a busy weekend for Mark Stoops’ staff.  The Kentucky football team hosted elite in-state visitors, lost a commitment and picked one up all over a 48-hour period.

It all began on Friday when Wandale Robinson made a trip to Lexington.  The nation’s No. 9 all-purpose back from Frankfort has visited campus many times, but he told KSR this one was different, now that Vince Marrow is taking the lead in his recruitment.  “It changed things a lot because he recruits hard.  The stuff he tells me, it’s true whenever you sit down and look at it.”

The following day, Kentucky hosted another top in-state talent, J.J. Weaver.  The 6’6″ athlete from Louisville Moore is one of the top 25 defensive ends in the country.  Entering the weekend, Kentucky was behind in both recruitments.  Now sources tell KSR the Cats are frontrunners for both.

It wasn’t all roses for the Cats on Mother’s Day.  The day began with a de-commitment from Keontra Smith.  Kentucky made an early connection with the four-star safety, one few expected to last.  Considered a top 250 prospect, Smith played with five Kentucky Wildcats at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, Florida, but that connection quickly eroded after Miami offered Smith.

Once the Cats lost the safety to the Hurricanes, it took about six hours to find another defensive back.  Jalen Geiger of Columbia, South Carolina committed to Kentucky only a month after receiving a scholarship offer.  The three-star cornerback also held offers from Cincinnati, Boston College, Rutgers and many others.

Football recruiting is more fluid than almost any other thing we cover at KSR.  This weekend showed the many ups and downs, a preview of what’s to come this summer.

Bat Cats Shut Down in The Cliff’s Finale

Cliff Hagan Stadium did not get a perfect farewell.

The Bat Cats accomplished their overall goal this weekend — they won an SEC series in front of one big crowd after another.  However, injuries prevented UK from finishing the series with a win.  A pair of starting pitchers, Justin Lewis and Zach Haake, were sidelined with soreness in their pitching arms, forcing Nick Mingione into his bullpen early and often.  It resulted in an offensive onslaught.  Miss. State scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back, beating UK 18-8 in The Cliff’s regular season finale.

It did not have a pretty ending, but the game got off to an excellent start.  Fifty years of Kentucky baseball coaches were represented on the mound with the first pitch of The Cliff’s final game.

Shoutout to Coach Keith Madison. The KSR Baseball Podcaster was the only who got to throw out multiple first pitches this weekend at The Cliff.

Speaking of Cliff, the real Cliff Hagan was also on hand for his stadium’s final weekend.  He was a part of that first pitch and he removed the sign for the final time.

Go Syd Go!

Kentucky’s freshman track phenom has done it again.  Sydney McLaughlin broke another record yesterday, recording the fastest 400M hurdle time in collegiate history with 52.75.  What can’t she do?

UK Softball to Host Regional Tournament

@UKSoftball

The Kentucky softball team will begin their march to the Women’s College World Series at home.  Beginning this Friday, UK will host three others in a double-elimination tournament.  The winner advances to a three-game Super Regional series before marching to the WCWS.

The action at John Cropp Stadium begins Friday at noon when Notre Dame takes on Michigan.  UK’s opener against UIC will begin at approximately 2:30.  Tickets just went on sale.  You can find tickets for every session at UKathletics.com/NCAATickets.

JT is No. 1

A Kentucky native is the No. 1 golfer in the world.  After finishing 11-under at The Players’ Championship, Louisville’s Justin Thomas is now the world’s top-ranked golfer.  Not too shabby.

The Western Conference Finals Begin

It was a boring weekend without basketball.  Sure, the Celtics got the chance to crush the Cavs in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals, but nobody will remember that once LeBron starts trying again.  We’ll see if the Warriors actually have some competition when they travel to Houston tonight at 9:00 on TNT.


@jalengeiger

YAHTZEE! 2019 three-star DB Jalen Geiger commits to KENTUCKY

@jalengeiger

This morning, Kentucky four-star commitment Keontra Smith flipped his commitment to Miami (FL), and Vince Marrow wasn’t too happy about it.

“We only want guys that want to be here. Trust me BBN we are going to get it done,” he tweeted.

Just a few hours later, the Cats found their replacement.

Three-star cornerback Jalen Geiger has committed to KENTUCKY!

Geiger, a 6-foot-1 corner out of Columbia, SC, chose Kentucky over Cincinnati, Rutgers, and Boston College, among others.

The newest Wildcat visited Lexington back in April, and earned a scholarship from Kentucky soon thereafter.

Watch his highlights below:

Welcome home!


Vince Marrow throws not-so-subtle jab at Kentucky football’s recent decommitment

This morning, four-star Kentucky DB pledge Keontra Smith announced he would be flipping his commitment to the Miami Hurricanes.

Out of Hollywood, Florida, Smith had been flirting with the Hurricanes for months, visiting Miami back in January, Junior Day in March, and then again for an unofficial visit in early April.

Now, he’s officially headed to The U.

@IronMan794

Listed as a top-250 recruit in the nation, it’s a tough pill to swallow for Kentucky fans, though it comes at no surprise. As a native of South Florida, Smith has been a Miami fan his entire life, and it was the one school the Cats had to worry about in his recruitment. After an offer came, Smith’s flip was inevitable.

Nonetheless, at least one person on staff isn’t worried about the news in the slightest.

This afternoon, Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow had some not-so-subtle words for Smith, announcing on Twitter he only wants guys in Lexington that want to be here.

With Marrow’s ridiculous success on the recruiting trail in his time in Lexington, I’m going to trust him on his promise.

It was an expected move. What’s also expected, however, is Marrow bringing in another talented prospect to replace Smith in the very near future.

Go get ’em, Big Dawg.


Four-Star UK Commit Flips to Miami

@IronMan794

The highest-ranked player in Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class is heading elsewhere.  Four-star defensive back Keontra Smith announced this morning he will play for the Miami Hurricanes.

@IronMan794

The news is unfortunate, but no surprise.

Arguably the most-talented player from the Chaminade-Madonna pipeline that has brought five players to Lexington in the past two years, Smith committed to Kentucky early in the process.  Once Miami got involved, it was only a matter of time before the South Florida kid decided to play for The U.