Today marked the 15th and final practice of the spring for Kentucky football. Hard to →
Football Recruiting News
By Drew Franklin on ©April 14th, 2015 @ 10:30am
Tim Sullivan over at the Courier-Journal points out a big disadvantage in recruiting that hasn’t really been discussed since a change in legislation early this year.
Now, after putting it to a vote in January, the Power 5 conferences can increase the value of athletic scholarships to the full cost of attendance, meaning student-athletes on a cost-of-attendance scholarship will receive an additional stipend for personal expenses. That stipend varies from school to school depending on what the scholarship covers and what it actually costs to attend the university. The difference at Kentucky (the amount the student-athlete will receive for expenses) is substantially lower than other schools around the SEC, which could play a big role in the recruitment of a blue chip prospect.
As Sullivan writes, “If the University of Kentucky is to remain competitive in recruiting athletes, it may need the merchants of Lexington to raise their prices.”
Here are a few examples from around the league:
School, Old Scholarship/New Scholarship (Difference)
Kentucky, $21,464/$23,748 ($2,284)
Mississippi, $18,204/$22,704 ($4,500)
Mississippi State, $17,294/$22,420 ($5,126)
South Carolina, $21,414/$25,565 ($4,151)
Tennessee, $23,710/$29,376 ($5,666)
For a complete list of schools from the ACC and SEC, and a good quote from Oscar Combs, check out the Courier-Journal here.
Here’s some unfortunate news what I am not happy to pass along: four-star QB Austin Kendall has committed to Oklahoma:
— Austin Kendall (@A_Kendall11) April 7, 2015
Kendall decommitted from Tennessee and the Cats were thought to have a good shot with him, especially since his older brother is a walk-on wide receiver at UK.
Something tells me Bob Stoops will hear about this one at the next family gathering.
By Miss J.C. Ausmus on ©March 29th, 2015 @ 2:16pm
I am blessed to say that I have received an offer from Kentucky and I have committed! Officially a Wildcat! #BBN 🔵⚪️🔵⚪️🔷⚪️🔹
— Calvin Taylor (@CCT15_) March 29, 2015
Not to change the subject or anything, but Stoops just got a Yahtzee! The 2015 commitment comes from 6’9″ OL/DL Calvin Taylor out of Augusta Christian in Georgia. According to 24/7 Sports, Taylor was also offered by Temple and Charlotte before committing to the Cats.
If you are interested, click on the picture below to view his senior year highlight reel over on Hudl:
News coming from the UK football team just now. Ben Roberts of NextCats just tweeted out that Kordell Looney has committed to the Wildcats.
Three-star defensive tackle Kordell Looney has committed to Kentucky.,
— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) March 28, 2015
Stoops and company continue to go into Ohio and win recruiting battles, which is pretty impressive. Looney is the No. 35 recruit in the state of Ohio and comes in at 6’3″ and 286 pounds. UK was the first major school to offer Looney, but he marks the 10th commitment from the Buckeye State for the Class of 2016. Kentucky now has seven of the top 40 prospects in the state.
There’s still hope Austin Kendall will wear Kentucky blue one day now that he’s pulled his commitment to the University of Tennessee. Kendall, a four-star quarterback in the 2016 class, committed to the Vols back in November but has since taken an unofficial visit to Lexington and attended UK’s Junior Day last month. The Cats now have the momentum as he reopens his recruitment.
Kendall had this to say on Twitter this morning:
It’s worth noting, Austin’s older brother, Ryan Kindell, is a walk-on wide receiver at Kentucky.
Come on down?
After two months of heavy-recruiting, Stoops Troops’ transition into two months of Spring Practice. Before looking ahead, there’s one thing you can’t ignore when reflecting on recruiting: the height of UK’s young wide receivers.
Decommitments had plenty of people worrying in January, but it’s hard to worry whether or not “they still got it” when you see the
ratings size of of the Cats’ new recruits, especially at wide receiver. People make a fuss over ratings, but there are two things you can’t teach: size and speed. Here’s a look of what the Cats already have on the roster, and what’s to come in the future.
All products from the state of Ohio, they are big athletes that can only improve their stock (rating) with more attention at summer camps. Ross and Holtzclaw have the outside speed, whereas Rigg is already a solid 240-pound tight end with another year of high school to grow and develop.
C.J. Conrad is already on campus, and expected to be a presence on the field immediately. Tavin Richardson has a tweener build, probably more suited for tight end, but much depends on how is how body develops once he’s on campus. Greenwood was one of the best players in the DMV last year. Gosier was a late addition to the class, but with 4.5-speed from South Florida, he’s not just going to take up a roster spot, he’s going to compete to play.
After this Fall’s first open practice, I was prepared to dub Baker and Bone as the best duo of outside receivers in UK history. I bit my tongue — people LOVE telling the young guy he’s short-sighted — but these guys are realer than the chunk missing from the Real Deal Holyfield’s ear. Their confident personalities can appear cocky; perfect for guys that have to “go get it.” They also complement one another well: Baker gets open with his physicality, Bone with his length and athleticism. If Long has improved as much as people have said around the team, he’ll be a consistent contributor in the middle of defenses.
It’s silly to compare these guys to former UK greats, but here’s something important to consider: how many tall UK receivers have been vertically gifted? The short answer is not many. The best of the blue and white have been undersized overachievers: Craig Yeast (5’7″), Randall Cobb (5’10”), Dicky Lyons (5’11”), Derek Abney (5’10”), and (to my surprise) Keenan Burton (6’2″) and James Whalen (6’2″).
After doing some research, here’s a short list of the best UK wideouts 6’3″ and over.
That list looks short because it is. Even if you got back to Bob Windsor (6’4″) in the 60’s, there just aren’t a lot to choose from because “tall wide receivers” aren’t a thing at UK*. Chris Matthews (surprisingly) had better numbers than anybody. Stevie Johnson and Aaron Boone were the only wideouts with double-digit touchdowns in a season and Johnson was the only one to post more than 1,000 yards.
Just because Stoops’ new Troops are tall, doesn’t translate to onfield production, but it does mean that Stoops is addressing changes in the demographics of the game. After watching his DBs get Mossed on repeatedly last season, SEC football is go big or go home.
Or in Chris Matthews’ case, go big and go to the Super Bowl.
* By all means, remind me of any players you believe I missed.
Kentucky added yet another football commitment from Ohio today, this time in the form of 6-foot-5, 278 pound offensive lineman Luke Fortner. Fortner, a three-star offensive tackle, tweeted: “Committed to play football at the University of Kentucky! #BBN”
He also had offers from Cincinnati, Maryland and Marshall, among others.
Kentucky’s 2016 class now has 14 commitments, eight from Ohio and three on the offensive line.
By Zach Woosley on ©March 01st, 2015 @ 1:44pm
— Dakota Holtzclaw (@Dakota81Claw) March 1, 2015
According to Justin Rowland of RIVALS, the Cats received a commitment from Dakota Holtzclaw following his visit yesterday.
BREAKING (I think): Hearing Dakota Holtzclaw committed to #BBN. 6-foot-7 receiver. Visited yesterday.
— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) March 1, 2015
I asked Holtzclaw last night how visit went. He said great. Said coaches “pushed pretty hard” for commitment. Held off…Saturday. — Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) March 1, 2015
We know there was an offer thanks to Twitter…
— Dakota Holtzclaw (@Dakota81Claw) February 28, 2015
…and we know Dakota had fun at the basketball game.
Hungout with some of the Kentucky basketball team… I’ve never felt so short before😳
— Dakota Holtzclaw (@Dakota81Claw) March 1, 2015
Nothing official yet, and no YAHTZEE from Coach Morrow since Thursday, but the initial signals seem positive.
By Drew Franklin on ©February 28th, 2015 @ 7:20pm
A brief interruption from the basketball excitement…
Kentucky picked up a football commitment from Jaylin Bannerman, a three-star linebacker from… yup… Ohio. Bannerman is listed at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds and he had other offers Illinois, Miami OH and Toledo.
Here he is with soon-to-be first-rounder Bud Dupree…
By John Wilmhoff on ©February 27th, 2015 @ 8:00pm
Austin Kendall, a 2016 four-star QB from Waxhaw, North Carolina, committed to Tennessee last August. But after the Volunteers added three four-star QBs in the 2015 class, Kendall is reportedly reconsidering Kentucky. Austin is the little brother of UK walk-on WR Ryan Kendall. According to Cats Illustrated’s Justin Rowland, the younger Kendall expressed to him that it felt nice to feel wanted by Shannon Dawson and the UK staff.
According to Rivals, Kendall is the No. 3 pro-style QB in the country and the No. 27 player overall in the 2016 class. On a television appearance Wednesday with KSTV, Rowland said that he believed Kendall would be Kentucky’s top recruit of the Mark Stoops era. His Rivals ranking compares favorably to Drew Barker, who was the No. 5 pro-style QB and ranked No. 132 overall.
Other recruiting sites project Kendall lower, but he is a four-star prospect according to all four major services.
The Johnny Manziel look-alike made it to Lexington last weekend for a visit and the 247 Sports Crystal Ball projects a 38% chance that he ends up at Kentucky.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 26th, 2015 @ 8:15pm
Mark Stoops is wasting no time with his 2016 class. According to Justin Rowland, 3-star tight end Justin Rigg has committed to Kentucky. Rigg is from Springboro, Ohio, prime Vince Marrow country, and he’s considered the 28th best tight end in the country by 247 Sports.
At 6’6″, 240 lbs., Rigg is big, and accordingly, holds offers from Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Ohio, Pitt, Toledo, and West Virginia. He visited Kentucky for their Junior Day last weekend.
Rigg is reportedly UK’s #1 TE target, which explains why big Vince is so excited:
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) February 27, 2015
Welcome aboard, Justin Rigg. Can I call you Riggins?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2015 @ 5:05pm
Well, it’s been quite the day for UK’s 2016 football class. This morning, 3-star RB Benny Snell committed to Kentucky, and this afternoon, Ohio athlete Asim “AJ” Rose is following in his footsteps. AJ announced the news on Twitter moments ago:
— Lil Rose (@asim_rose) February 23, 2015
The 6’2″ 190 lbs. Rose is from Cleveland, Ohio and listed as an athlete, but will likely play running back for the Cats. He visited Kentucky for Junior Day this past weekend and has offers from Bowling Green and Toledo.
Welcome aboard, AJ. Here are his highlights:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 23rd, 2015 @ 2:04pm
YAHTZEE! According to Justin Rowland, 2016 3-star running back Benny Snell has committed to Kentucky. Snell is a 6′ 210 lbs. back from Westerville, Ohio with offers from Kentucky, Iowa, Cincinnati, Miami (OH), Toledo, and others. His offer sheet may not seem impressive, but if we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s to trust Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow with kids from Ohio.
Snell just confirmed the news on Twitter:
🔵I have came to the Decision to Commit To the 🔵University of Kentucky. #bbn Wildcats STAND UP🙌
— $hy BENNY (@benny_snell) February 23, 2015
Snell is Kentucky’s 9th commitment in the 2016 class. Watch him work:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 18th, 2015 @ 4:30pm
Drake Jackson is the cornerstone of Kentucky’s 2016 class. The Woodford county lineman is considered the best center in the country and has eagerly taken over the role of lead recruiter in his class, following in the footsteps of Drew Barker, Matt Elam, CJ Conrad, and Eli Brown.
Yesterday, Jackson picked up an offer from South Carolina to go along with the ones he’s gotten from Alabama, Ohio State, and Tennessee. Given the recent football recruiting slide, the news may have caused some Kentucky fans to panic, so Jackson took to Twitter to reassure the Big Blue Nation that he’s a Cat for good:
— Drake Jackson (@THE_DRAKE_52) February 18, 2015
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 16th, 2015 @ 4:30pm
While the rest of us were loafing around the house and snacking our way through Winter Storm Octavia, Ashland running back Quinton Baker was doing work. The former 2016 UK commit ran a 4.29 40-yard dash at the Battle of the Midwest Combine in Indianapolis this afternoon, the fastest time of any participant. According to 247 Sports’ Steve Wiltfong, Baker’s time was recorded by three different watches.
Baker committed to Kentucky back in October, but decommitted a month later; however, the Cats are still considered his favorite. So far, Baker has offers from Kentucky, Ohio, Ball State, and EKU, but interest will continue to pick up from the big guys if he keeps turning in times like that.
Here are some highlights to show you just how speedy Baker is: