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Football Recruiting News

Former Top-100 player transferring to Kentucky

(Isaiah Hole, 247Sports)

While we may be bidding farewell to one of Kentucky’s football coaches, according to Justin Rowland of Rivals.com the Wildcat’s will be welcoming Michigan transfer, Brian Cole to the program.

According to several reports, Cole was in Lexington this weekend on an official visit to the university, and he couldn’t have picked a better time. The football program also hosted several highly touted and still-uncommitted prospects during the program’s junior day festivities.

The former Wolverines receiver/ defensive back was released from Michigan’s football program last month and has been reportedly eyeing Kentucky, Pitt, Arizona and Arizona State as his next destination.

While the situation and the exact terms surrounding Cole’s release from Michigan is still unclear, the wide receiver will likely have to sit out the 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules, regardless. Cole saw time in three separate games this past season as both a wide receiver and on special teams – enough to be considered a true sophomore going into 2016. However, Cole could choose to redshirt which would make him eligible to play in the 2017 season for the Wildcats alongside an impressive class that includes Florida quarterback Mac Jones, Ohio athlete Russ Yeast and Lexington quarterback Walker Wood.

Kentucky has already gained six commitments for the class of 2017, and that group is ranked No. 11 nationally by 247Sports and No. 2 in the Southeastern Conference behind only Alabama.

Cole, a former Under Armour All-America Game selection, hails from Heritage High School in Saginaw, Michigan, and was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 4 athlete and No. 101 overall prospect in the class of 2015.

 


UK Athletics

Look Ahead to 2017 with Kentucky Football’s Junior Day

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Even though the Class of 2016 just wrapped up three days ago, there’s no time for Stoops’ staff to rest, moving forward to the Class of 2017 with today’s Junior Day.

The premiere event to kick off the recruiting season, Stoops’ staff will host most of the current commits that make up the nation’s 10th-ranked class, according to the 247 Composite rankings. It’s also the first time they really get to roll out the red carpet for the uncommitted kids as they try to establish a rapport.  Here are the names that you need to get to know.

Committed

A pair of quarterbacks, Lafayette’s Walker Wood and Mac Jones from Florida, will attend Junior Day.  Jones has begun receiving more and more offers, most recently from West Virginia and Boston College.  It will be interesting to see where things stand with each quarterback with Darin Hinshaw now calling the shots through the air.

Mac Jones (@macjones2017) dabs with his mother, who has much better form.

Mac Jones (@macjones2017) dabs with his mother, who has much better form.

Wide receiver/defensive back Russ Yeast, the son of Wildcat great Craig Yeast, will be in Lexington today.  Nobody seemed more solid than the former Wildcat Great’s son, but things have changed recently for Russ.  He’s received a lot more attention from other schools, especially Louisville, and his family moved to Indianapolis when Craig took the position of offensive coordinator at Franklin College.  Putting on a good show today will be very important for Yeast.

Top Targets

The prospect that will catch the most attention from fan’s is Michigan transfer Brian Cole.  The #5 athlete in the Class of 2015 is taking his official visit today.  If things go well, he could be in blue this fall, sitting out a year before being eligible to play in 2017.

Lafayette offensive tackle Jed Wills has been a Wildcat visitor plenty of times before, but today is the first time they can really pull out all of the stops.  The highest ranked player in the state of Kentucky (Top 100 in all national services) recently received an offer from LSU, and is also being pursued by the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State and Florida.  With more attention coming from big schools, there’s no end in sight for Wills’ recruitment.

Another in-state target is emerging from the mountains.  Belfry defensive tackle Cole Bentley had a strong showing at last month’s U.S. Army combine and could receive and offer from Kentucky soon.

From the state of Ohio, at the top of Vince Marrow’s list is 4-star wide receiver Javonte Richardson.  The Cats’ competition is tough — Michigan State is at the top of his list, and he attended Ohio State’s Junior Day last week.

Alabama 3-star safety J’Marick Woods has plenty of offers on the table — Michigan, Florida, Miss. State, Louisville — but today he’s dabbing in blue and white.

@JMarickWoods

@JMarickWoods

And if you thought that they wouldn’t but the new Wildcat logo on a helmet, this picture from 2018 Ohio linebacker Malik Vann is here to prove you wrong.

@_next_era1

@_next_era1

UPDATE

If you don’t like that one, you might like this one:

@UKCatsby90

@UKCatsby90


@UKStoopsTroops

The Positions that Received the Biggest Signing Day Bump

@UKStoopsTroops

@UKStoopsTroops

1. Offensive Line

John Schlarmann added two Army All-Americans and a Junior College tackle with more than 20 offers.  Offensive linemen usually don’t receive much fanfare, but that is not the case with Tate Leavitt, Drake Jackson and Landon Young.  Usually offensive lineman get a year to redshirt under Mark Stoops, but all three could see time this fall, with Young and Leavitt likely taking over the tackle positions.  Those three are great, but I can’t forget to mention Luke Fortner.  Freddie rarely compares a player to his favorite, Jon Toth, but this versatile lineman earns his praise.

Buyer beware: there will be some growing pains with this group, but in the long-term the quarterback will be in much safer hands.

2. Secondary

The Cats’ biggest vulnerability when Stoops first arrived has transformed into a strength.  Last year’s freshmen defensive backs were fantastic, with Chris Westry earning All-Freshman honors by the SEC, and Derrick Baity finishing the year as a starter.  The three redshirts — Kei Beckham, Marcus Walker and Will Jackson —  were skilled enough to play, but depth allowed them to take their time to develop,

Insert three of the best athletes in the class, and you have a no fly zone on the horizon.

Davonte Robinson is the most underrated recruit in the class, Freddie’s choice for “Best Athlete.”  Jordan Griffin might have been the most important recruit in the class, beating out Auburn (again) for the lengthy cornerback’s services.  The hard-hitting Tobias Gilliam plays centerfield of the defense with a rare type of nastiness that is a joy to watch.

It will be interesting to see if any can play right away, but one thing is certain — Stoops is starting to see the depth he needs in order to be successful.

“You need to stack classes on top of classes on top of classes.  Then you need to develop them and put them in position by coaching,” Stoops said.  “It absolutely starts with having great players.”

3. Linebackers

Even though Stoops has always considered his defense as “multiple,” he was primarily a 4-3 guy before coming to Kentucky.  Personnel forced Stoops and Eliot to shift more to a 3/4, and this year they’re finally recruiting like it.

Jordan Bonner from NEO Junior College will compete for playing time at the “Jack” outside linebacker position.  Kash Daniel will be an inside enforcer, finding a way onto the field in some capacity.

The outside linebacker position is arguably the most difficult position to play in the 3/4 defense.  You need to be big enough to take on offensive tackles in the run game, but still be able to drop back in pass coverage or rush the quarterback.  Jamar “Boogie” Watson, Roland Walder and Jaylin Bannerman all have the athletic ability to fulfill those tasks and become elite SEC outside linebackers, but they need time to add muscle and learn the nuances of the position.


Lights, Cameras, Now Get to Work

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The evolution of National Signing Day has been astonishing. The unofficial southern holiday has transitioned from an informal gathering of football nerds into show business. On Wednesday, the University of Kentucky spared no expense in providing the BBN with an inside look at the future of Kentucky football. From Mitch Barnhart down, the university is to be commended for its continuing support for Wildcat football program. In my strange world of former player, media, and fan; I was incredibly proud of my alma mater on Wednesday.

However, as the signees awaken this morning, the transition begins from superstar status into a snot nosed freshman. Print the stars on a piece of paper, take a match and burn it. Time to go to work and earn respect on the collegiate level. De-recruiting is not an expected challenge for this class. More on that later. While fumbling through the teleprompter, I began to ponder how this class stacks up against Stoops’ first three and other manners to categorize certain players. The following are film observations that are most likely clouded due to fatigue and a killer coffee hangover:

Sleeper of the Class

DE CJ Carter-Following UK commitment, Carter went from unevaluated prospect to a 3-star player within a 24-hour period. ESPN had him ranked as UK’s 11th best prospect in the class. Attending a small, private school with a 2-8 record while undergoing a coaching change could be reasons for initial assessment. Or, yet another example of the erroneous misperception of the recruiting analysis process. 

Most Undervalued

Three-way tie; Devante Robinson, AJ Rose, Jaylin Bannerman. Robinson didn’t camp or self-promote. Try to find a 6’1 180 CB that ran a 4.35 forty while leading his team in tackles on the master boards. Most likely, and if you can, that player will be rated much higher than a 3 star. Rose and Bannerman are equally as baffling. AJ has legitimate SEC talent to play three to four positions. A long, rangy OLB like Bannerman is extremely difficult to find. All three will the opportunity to compete for immediate playing time if necessary.

Instant Impact Offensive Player

Tate Leavitt-Hutchinson Community College offensive linemen are extremely well coached football players. Add to the equation that Tate was sought-after by Top 10 football programs along with film evaluation and the projection that Leavitt will be an instant starter was not that difficult to formulate. Plus, OT was a critical position of need.

Instant Impact Defensive Player

Jordan Bonner-6’6 230 outside linebackers that can run, play in space, and rush the quarterback are invaluable. While joining a team that returns defensive linemen that tallied 2.5 Tackles for Loss and 1 QB Sack, it’s safe to say that Bonner will see immediate action and be called upon to increase defensive explosion plays.

Top Player

Landon Young-6’7 308 offensive tackle with a wing span that stretches from Richmond Road to Commonwealth Stadium. Young is the prototypical left tackle and a foundation builder. Only question I have regarding Landon is will he play right or left tackle. I’m not to the point of projecting him in the starting lineup, however it will be extremely difficult to keep the All American out of the huddle.

Position group upgrades

Linebacker, Offensive Line, Defensive Back, and Special Teams-Kash Daniel, Jaylin Bannerman, Jordan Bonner, Boogie Watson, and Roland Walder are the best collection of signed linebackers throughout the Stoops’ regime. Not even close. With the additions of Tobias Gilliam, Devante Robinson, and Jordan Griffin; Kentucky’s secondary skill level has made an astonishing upgrade over a three-year span. With no blue cool aid currently in my glass this morning and taking youth into consideration, I’d place the UK secondary in the SEC’s Top 5. Special Teams also benefitted from a collection of potential returners and a starting punter in Grant McKinniss. As last season taught us, a quality punter and emergency field goal and kick off specialist are necessary. McKinniss brings both qualities.

Stoops era class ranking

First. Forget the recruiting service rankings. Be a rebel and think/evaluate for yourself. 2014 was the year of the stars. 2015 was recruiting for substance and need. Combine those two and you have this year’s haul. Last year I ranked 2015 as Mark Stoops’ best work to date. “Experts” disagreed. 5-6 starters, 8-9 contributors, and 2 Freshman All Americans later, that assessment proved to be correct. It’s not that I’m smart. Let’s be honest, I’m not splitting the atom any time soon. But in evaluation one consideration has to factor: Does Player X love to play the game of football or is football a hobby that brings vast accolades? Collectively, last year’s class loved the game. Initial thoughts on the newest Wildcats present the same assumption. 2014, prove me wrong. Please. Get to work.

Concerns

Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle-Kordell Looney and Naquez Pringle were must gets. Both can immediately provide competition as well as depth to a group that lost three starters. Da’Quize Cross, and TJ Carter could benefit from a redshirt year. Defensive linemen are the most coveted and valued Signing Day entity and the position that separates upper level SEC teams from the pack.

Pleasant Surprises

Tobias Gilliam, Kayaune Ross, and Roland Walder-The more tape I watched, the more I liked the trio. Ross is a tall, athletic outside receiver with a high motor. The adversity he’s dealt with to sign with Kentucky speaks of high character. Walder and Gilliam are spleen busters, meaning that on film violence upon contact stood out amongst their peers. Call them what you want; snot bubblers, thumpers, etc… Two physical and well coached football players.

Kentucky Sports Radio site was packed with great information yesterday. Hoped you enjoyed. As I fade back into irrelevance we’ll keep you updated on football goings on.


gunnarhoak12 | IG

National Signing Day Leftovers

CaTSE0zWQAAzYPs

It was a crazy morning, one that began with 19 names on the board at 8:00 a.m.  For the staff, it was great to receive the faxes as soon as possible, but for us at KSR, it took away a lot of the fun that we normally have during the waiting period.  Here’s a look at some of the fun stuff that got missed in today’s mayhem.

Kash, Landon and Drake got Jokes

They really can’t stop teasing each other.  After Kash called Drake a bear on the NSD show, Mrs. Tyler photoshopped together “Drake the Bear” (because of course).  Kash liked it so much that he changed it to his Twitter cover photo.  Here’s what followed thanks to a little instigation from yours truly.

Landon Young isn’t the only Wrestler

A throwback to Gunnar Hoak’s early days on the mat.

gunnarhoak12 | IG

gunnarhoak12 | IG

Stephen Johnson embraces Rancho Cucamonga

Johnson channeled his inner-Ders from his hometown.

Stephen_h_j

Stephen_h_j | IG

Views from Signing Ceremonies

Tobias Gilliam

@KaciKustCN2

@KaciKustCN2

Roland Walder 

@Roland_9x

@Roland_9x

Landon Young (the 2nd grade smile cracks me up)

@schwablhs

@schwablhs

Asim “A.J.” Rose 

@GHFBDawgs

@GHFBDawgs

Davonte Robinson

@JDunnLex18

@JDunnLex18

Jamar “Boogie” Watson

@JamarW01

@JamarW01


Miss UK’s National Signing Day Show? Here’s the replay

Miss UK’s National Signing Day Show? Here’s the replay

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The show started at Stoops’ house this morning

Did you miss UK’s National Signing Day Show this morning? Good news: UK put the entire show — all three-and-a-half hours worth — online for your viewing pleasure. It truly was an impressive production, featuring Matt, Freddie, Christi Thomas, Dick Gabriel, Jeremy Jarmon, and Jeff Piecoro. All of the coaches and several of the early signees made an appearance, including Kash Daniel and Drake Jackson, and the energy was infectious.

Props to UK for a job very well done. Not many programs in the country have live Signing Day shows like this one.

CLICK HERE to head on over to UKAthletics.com to watch it.


Photo by UK Athletics

Everything Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow said in today’s press conference

Photo by UK Athletics

Photo by UK Athletics

COACH STOOPS: Very excited about this class. It’s been a strong class led by the five guys in state. They’re great football players, great leaders. We did, once again, very good in Ohio signing 11 players out of Ohio. Top to bottom extremely strong group.

Great football players, but more importantly great people, great leaders, great families. They’re going to be a great addition to the Big Blue Nation. Very excited about this group. Ready to get them in here and get them going.

THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Talk about those local guys.
COACH STOOPS: The most important thing. Definitely the most important thing is to get the local guys. We are blessed to have some great talent in state this year. We are blessed to have some guys very close to home here. I thought those guys were critical.

Everybody talks about the three guys that were in the U.S. All-American game. Those guys represented us the right way. They’re great players. Again, they’re great leaders, with Kash and Drake being nominated captains says a lot.

Of course, Landon arguably was one of the best players there, certainly one of the top offensive linemen. It was great with those guys in how they represented us at the All-American game. A guy that goes unnoticed in that group is Davonte. Being right down the road here. He was arguably as important of a guy in this class as anybody we got. Him and Jordan Griffin, I think it’s so important to get those corners, those talented guys. Everybody comes after them and battles for those corners till the very last second.

Davonte being in state, not because he’s highly ranked, he didn’t go to the camps, but everybody that sees him play, it’s a no-brainer. He can play with just about anywhere in the country. Great player. Obviously excited about him.

Zy’Aire the same way. Zy’Aire we watched two years ago in person. We loved him then. We love him now. He’s a difference maker and a play-maker with the ball in his hands.

Q. (Question regarding Jordan Griffin.)
COACH STOOPS: I think it was important because it was important from where he was at. Coming from the heart of the SEC, right in the Atlanta area, having every SEC school banging on him and knocking on his door. To win that so far away from home, in the heart of the SEC, I think is critical.

We know we had the nucleus of the five guys in state that were as solid as can be. We know we’ve been extremely strong with Vince’s leadership there in taking the lead role with the Ohio kids. It’s also important to supplement them, get guys from the south.

To win the battle against a bunch of SEC schools, we’re very gratified. Teams were not letting up. It was relentless pressure with him to the point where we talked with him and mom every day this week, they were just getting absolutely hounded, wore out, wore out by head coaches, by assistants. It was ironic. This morning he was the first call I got. D.A. (Assistant Coach Derrick Ansley) handed me the phone. It was about 7:05 this morning. As we were on the phone, I could tell he was a little bit flustered. I heard mom in the background.

I said, Jordan, are they on the phone with you right now? I’m not going to say who.

He said, Yeah, they’re wearing out my mom right now.

I said, Tell them I got the fax in my hand. It’s over. It was good to see. It was important.

Q. Why did this class stay together so much better than last year’s?
COACH STOOPS: I think it starts with the nucleus of last year’s guys. Landon may have been the first guy. Drake really took a leadership role. I think it starts with those guys. What was nice is they were such high-profile guys in state and they were so solid. I think the guys from Ohio that have been committed for a long time have been extremely solid.

I think this year we made it a point in just the message. A lot of times guys just want to take trips. What happens is when they want to take trips, it gets you that crack in the door, sends the wrong message to the other recruits.

There were several guys down the stretch, I’m going to take a trip here, a trip there. We let them know that’s not the perception we want from this class. These guys have been solid, they’ve been holding true and steady for a year. They said, I got it, coach. We’re not going anywhere. We’re staying here.

There was one or two, but not much. I think that’s a big part of it. But I think the unity of the whole class was important.

Our staff does a great job of getting them on campus. When they get off campus during the contact period, we don’t just get in and out of schools. Our coaches have done a great job getting in there. They may spend six, seven, eight, nine, ten hours at one place, whether at home, going to dinner with these folks, just spending time. I think the relationship piece you heard me talk about for years is still most important, to have those strong relationships with these players and with these prospects.

I think it’s a combination of things. I think it was the leadership, the staff doing a great job, and us really staying on it and really pushing for that unity this year.

(more…)


Kentucky’s 2016 class finishes at #29 in Rivals’ rankings

Kentucky’s 2016 class finishes at #29 in Rivals’ rankings

CaTSE0zWQAAzYPs

Kentucky’s 2016 class is signed, sealed, and delivered, and according to the latest Rivals rankings, it’s the 29th best class in America:

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According to Rivals’ rankings, this class is tied with 2013’s for second best in the Stoops Era. If you go by stars, the 2014 class was still the strongest, ranked #17.

  • 2016 class: #29
  • 2015 class: #36
  • 2014 class: #17
  • 2013 class: #29

(In case you were wondering, Louisville’s class was ranked 37th.)

Because this is the SEC, Kentucky’s class is only the 11th best in the league:

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247 Sports Composite ranks Kentucky’s 2016 class 34th in the nation, ahead of Louisville (36), Missouri (49), and Vanderbilt (53). That’s also tied with 2013 for the second best in the Stoops era behind the 2014 group.

Even though this may not be Stoops’ highest ranked class in terms of stars, he was adamant that it is his best.

“I definitely do. I believe so. I feel that way. I don’t know where the numbers stack up. I don’t really care. From my point of view, absolutely top to bottom, I feel like it’s the most solid group. I feel like there’s elite talent in this group and I feel like there’s great glue, there’s great players, great program guys. There’s guys that you can develop, guys you that can play right away, there’s impact guys, there’s guys that can change the scoreboard, guys that can get difficult yards in the run game, the big uglies you want. I think there’s a nice combination of guys in this group, I definitely do.”

Why do I feel good about this class? These guys:


2017 LB decommits from Kentucky

You’re looking at Demarco Artis, a 2017 3-star outside linebacker from Seminole, Florida. Artis committed to Kentucky back in December, but tonight, announced his decommitment:

Considering Artis was primarily recruited by former running backs coach Chad Scott, this isn’t a huge surprise. Best of luck to the kid.


UK Athletics

National Signing Day Definitions

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Prospect evaluation is subjective.  Tomorrow we will be discussing certain football actions that provide the proper perspective for the natural athletic ability and current skill set of Class of 2016.

Here are some of the words I’ll be throwing around during the UK NSD Show:

— Fluid hips: Hip flexibility is vital at every position. Stiffness is not good and limits change of direction, lateral movement, speed, and separates good players from SEC level athletes. Flexibility is critical in speed.

— Comfortable playing in space: Mainly applies to linebackers. “Playing in space” describes the area away from line of scrimmage in which one-on-one pass coverage and tackling are required.

— Operative in run pursuit: Defensive terminology encompassing effort and angles taken to make both line of scrimmage and down field tackles. Provides a look at Football IQ.

— Explosive stance release: Relates to offense and defense. This term paints the picture of the rapid and explosive nature in which the player leaves his stance to insert himself into football action. Slow is bad. Adequate means work is needed. Explosive is optimal. Also provides perspective into aggressive or physical mindset.

— Quick surge to engagement: Another reference to explosiveness and a player’s ability for rapid burst to tackle or block. For line of scrimmage players, it’s telling of their change of direction and their ability to make quick decisions that lead to blocks/tackles. For defensive backs and receivers, this tests their skill to break on the football for a catch/interception.

— Nasty by nature, seeks contact: The football field is no place for the timid, but there’s a difference in engaging in contact out of necessity and seeking contact due to a nasty streak. The description “nasty” is a badge of honor on the football field. This trait is rarer than you would imagine and separates those that love being a football player, from those that love the game of football.

— Quick play diagnosis to action time: Used mainly to gauge how linebackers and safeties read run/pass and act upon instinct. The faster the reaction, the closer to the line of scrimmage tackles occur. In the passing game, critical for safeties to possess this trait to assess play action situations.

— Comprehends blocking up to second-level defender: Offensive lineman are called upon to make initial block on the line of scrimmage, then move to the second level to interfere with the linebacker’s pursuit. Not a natural action, this requires instinct and is a part of player development. This aspect is normally executed more efficiently by veteran or technically sound OL.

— Heavy-handed initial punch: Offensive and defensive line term. Much like a boxer, both punch their opponents coming out of their stance. “Heavy” hands describe the violent and powerful nature a player’s hands make contact when going from stance to engaging blocker/defender. Think knock-out punch.

— Athletic bursts of pursuit speed: On defensive line of scrimmage play, the ability to run forty yards is not a prerequisite. However, the ability to provide quick bursts of speed to tackle is mandatory. The game in the trenches is won by quick bursts and rapid closing speed within the parameters of the line of scrimmage. With skill players, this term is often described as catch-up speed or the ability to close-in on the catch.

— Fluid open-field run motion: A natural trait that cannot be taught. Think of Randall Cobb and how he appears to glide, rather than labor as he runs with the football. This also applies to hip flexibility, change of direction and cutting ability.

— Navigates line of scrimmage traffic: Linebackers either get caught up in the wash or work their way through blockers to find the football. Thus, navigating line of scrimmage traffic is the ability to react to run/pass keys to find a way to avoid being blocked and make the tackle.

These are just a few. Stay tuned. 


National Signing Day Miscellaneous Inside Notes

Editor’s Note: Before you dive into Freddie’s insightful post, go ahead and cross TaDarryl Marshall off your list of potential late additions.  The Alabama athlete has committed to Samford via Twitter.  Carry on, and enjoy our continued NSD coverage.

February 1st marks the beginning of the pre-National Signing Day dead period. Coaches and prospects are not allowed contact each other in person but can communicate electronically. The rule makes sense and was designed to prohibit coaches from hiding prospects on campus in the hours prior to signature time.

February the 3rd is the first date that non-early enrollees can sign a Letter of Intent; however, remember it’s just the first day. Prospects can and have signed a LOI on later dates. Normally, athletes that postpone signing of are the mega 5-star quality. In the dog eat dog world of college football recruiting, coaches will not wait for marginal players.

I’ve had the honor to participate in the past three UK Signing Day Shows. Here are 5 notes and lessons learned:

  1. Coffee. The stench of caffeinated java resonates throughout the center. Got to remember the coaching staff is coming off hours upon hours of phone calls, visits, and travel. They’re tired, as are the talking heads after hours of babbling.
  2. The first and last thirty minutes are fast-paced and normally the time of the most “unknowns.” Which player will be the first to fax their LOI? Who are the last minute signees or flips? Also, under the radar prospects that emerge as late-committing Wildcats require a scramble to assemble notes and talking points.
  3. The process includes more than the coaching staff. NCAA Compliance, Video/Media Relations, Support Staff, Athletic Director’s Office and more are all bunkered down and in full operation. All UK hands will be on deck. I actually become infatuated with the “process” from fax to announcement. You’ll notice that talking heads are not allowed to discuss a name until the LOI is official and approved. Major no-no.
  4. Individual coaches glow in pride when a player that they acted as primary recruiter faxes in their signature. Let’s be clear, football coaches are Alpha Dog Competitors. Beating peers for the fax is as intense as 4th and goal on the one-yard line. Focused faces break smiles and jubilation takes the place of stoic confidence. My first year I was a little jumpy due to impulsive celebration.
  5. Defensive Coordinator DJ Eliot slapped my head during last year’s show. Being the dialed in unprofessional as I am, I didn’t notice until my twitter blew up. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a tad bit competitive and intense myself. If that happens this year, I’m dropping the mic and throwing haymakers. Not sayin, but saying. Joking of course, unless Drew Franklin promises to have my back then it’s on.

eliotmaggard

Stay tuned. Signing Day promises unexpected yet expected twists and turns. Football fan or not, the UK Signing Day Show is reality television. No scripts, uncensored, and spontaneous.


Louisville media not happy about the Lamar Thomas news

Louisville media not happy about the Lamar Thomas news

Just a little while ago, we broke the news that UofL wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas is leaving Louisville to take the same position at Kentucky, and well, the Louisville media isn’t taking it too well. Here are the most common arguments from the other side:

“Lamar Thomas is just a recruiter, not a coach”

AKA the Jody Demling camp. Demling argues that Thomas was simply on the staff to recruit, not coach.

“Thomas didn’t recruit Lamar Jackson”

Then why is he listed as Jackson’s primary recruiter by 247 Sports and Rivals? In February 2015, The Courier-Journal said Thomas “was primarily responsible for Jackson’s recruitment with Louisville,” while the Sun Sentinel cites Jackson as saying one of the key reasons he honored his commitment to Louisville was Thomas, who coached at Jackson’s high school in Florida before taking a job as the wide receivers coach at Hampton.

Thomas was also one of the coaches to help lure in four-star wide receiver Desmond Fiztpatrick, who just recommitted to Louisville today. (Don’t get your hopes up too much, it seems Fitzpatrick remains firm in that commitment.)

“It doesn’t matter, Kentucky’s wide receivers CAN’T CATCH!”

Okay, that’s coming from Louisville fans, not media, and yes, it’s true…which is why we needed a new wide receivers coach. And judging by the past few years, Louisville’s wide receivers aren’t too shabby.

Keep spinning and stay salty, rivalry friends.

you-salty-o


Lamar Thomas leaving Louisville to be UK’s Wide Receivers Coach

Remember that “awesome story” Matt teased on this morning’s show? KSR is hearing that Louisville wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas is leaving the ‘Ville to become the new wide receivers coach at Kentucky.

Thomas has been with the Cardinals since 2014, before which he was the wide receivers coach under Bobby Petrino at Western Kentucky. He was one of the all-time great wide receivers at Miami before playing eight seasons in the NFL, three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and five with the Miami Dolphins.

Thomas has a great reputation as a recruiter, recently bringing in four-star wide receiver Desmond Fitzpatrick. Some of his all-time commitments include dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson, who attended Boynton Beach Community High School, where Thomas coached from 2008-2010.

This is a huge, huge coup by Mark Stoops and staff, only a day and a half away from Signing Day.


@TJCarter_

2016 DE T.J. Carter Commits to Kentucky

@TJCarter_

@TJCarter_

Mark Stoops is rolling the dice tonight.  After visiting last weekend, Whitefield Academy (Georgia) defensive end T.J. Carter has committed to Kentucky.  He Tweeted the following:

Truly blessed to say that i will continue my football career and education at University of Kentucky!!!

The 3-star defensive end also had offers from UCF, Memphis and Samford and will likely lock up one of the final scholarship openings for the 2016 class.  UK was looking to fill those slots with big defensive linemen, and the 6’4″ 250-pounder fits the mold.  His highlights:


Former Michigan Wolverine has eyes on Kentucky, plans to visit

Brian Cole, a highly sought after recruit from the 2015 recruiting class, played one season at Michigan last fall but will no longer be a member of the Wolverines football program.

A four-star talent, ranked fifth among athletes and 65th overall, had offers from Ohio State, Michigan State, Nebraska and several others at the time of his commitment to Michigan. He played very sparingly at wide receiver in his freshman season, and has since been granted his release from the university after requesting a transfer.

247Sports reports Cole is now looking at Kentucky, Pitt, Arizona and Arizona State as his next landing spot, with Kentucky likely to receive a visit in the coming weeks.

If he were to become a Wildcat, he would likely have to sit out the 2016 season, then be ready for competition in 2017. And if he is as good as his recruiting rankings suggest, UK would love to have him, and could really use him.

Come on down, Brian!