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Photo: Herald-Leader

John Calipari & Mark Stoops: Up in the Air

Photo: Herald-Leader

Photo: Herald-Leader

Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal has a fascinating article, complete with interactive maps, on how the use of private jets was utilized in reeling in their respective recruiting classes.

How much does success cost might you ask? A. Lot.

According to flight records obtained by The Courier-Journal, Calipari and football coach Mark Stoops combined to take $450,000 worth of chartered flights just for recruiting purposes during the 2013-14 fiscal year.

But is this all necessary? Calipari thinks so:

Coaching at Kentucky allows certain opportunities, one of which is to be able to coordinate our busy recruiting schedule and team practices. Because of access to private planes, I am able to get out and see the kids I need to see but make it back in time to be with my team.

I won’t share anymore details so that you can read Kyle’s article for yourself, but it’s filled with all sorts of cool tidbits on when and where Calipari and Stoops have been flying, who they may have been seeing, and some jet and recruiting-centric quotes from Coach Mark Stoops and Deputy Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy.

[Jet-setting UK coaches round up recruits]


Class of 2015 Defensive End Visiting UK

Kengera Daniel, a 6’5 250 lb defensive end, is currently exploring the campus of UK. Daniel is visiting as a 3-star strong-side defensive end, and ranked within the top 20 DE’s for the 2015 class. He lives in Raleigh, NC, and as of last night picked up an offer from NC State. He also has offers from Florida State, Alabama, Michigan, and Miami (Fl). 247Sport’s crystal ball currently has FSU as Daniel’s favorite, but it’s still early in his recruiting process. With last night’s offer from NC State, his opinion may be different now.

Even after today’s visit, he may lean towards Kentucky. His addition to Kentucky’s defensive line would be very beneficial, adding to the depth that Stoops continues to create. #WhyNot

CJ Conrad Not Offered by OSU

conrad visits


The big news out of Ohio St’s Friday Night Lights camp last night was that Kentucky commit, CJ Conrad, left without an offer from his home school.  Prior to the camp, CJ had made it known that he wasn’t attending the camp to earn an offer from Ohio St., but who could blame him.  Being from Ohio, it’s an honor to at least have an offer on the table to attend the state’s most successful football program.  However, when it was all said and done, CJ was told by one of OSU’s assistants that he would not be receiving an offer from them.

While that is great news for Kentucky, you have to feel bad for the kid.  Conrad is the 8th-ranked tight end in his class, and it has to be a punch in the face to not even get offered a scholarship from a school you grew up watching.  How will this affect future recruiting for Mark Stoops?  Well it certainly doesn’t hurt.  Ohio has been an immediate pipeline since day one of the Stoops era, and OSU’s decision to turn their back on Conrad may solidify that pipeline even more.  It’s hard to think that Conrad wouldn’t have flipped at some point if an offer had been made.  Thankfully, that isn’t the case now.  OSU did receive a prior commitment from another tight end right before camp began, but is only rated as a 3-star.  Luckily for UK, that may have played a major role in how this all went down.

This may even help out with Damien Harris, who became very close friends with Conrad while they both spent time in Oregon.  Harris is currently leaning towards Ohio St., but will this change his opinion of Urban Meyer’s coaching staff?  Only time will tell.  Hopefully this will not only impact one recruits decision, but more.

Vince Marrow says calm down, it isn’t over yet


George Brown may have picked Florida over Kentucky, but UK recruiting wizard Vince Marrow says the war for the three-star offensive tackle isn’t over yet. Marrow tweeted this minutes after Brown’s announcement:

Stay calm and classy on Twitter, folks. It’s a long way ’til Signing Day…

George Brown commits to Florida

George Brown commits to Florida


Well, it turns out all of those signs we’ve seen this week were correct. Three-star offensive tackle George Brown Jr. committed to Florida over Kentucky this afternoon in the most ridiculous manner I’ve ever seen, by pulling a LIVE BABY GATOR out from under the table:

Another of the baby gator because I can’t get over this:

Wow. Tough loss, but remember, it’s not over ’til Signing Day. Who knows, if the UK staff keeps on him and Florida struggles this season, Brown may be pulling a kitten out of his pocket in the near future.


The George Brown announcement live thread

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

We’re thirty minutes away from three-star offensive tackle George Brown Jr.’s college announcement, and right now, the tide looks to be heading in Florida’s direction. Kentucky still holds a 61%-39% lead in his Crystal Ball, but in the past few days, several major recruiting analysts have flipped their picks to the Gators, including 247 Sports’ Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong.

Meanwhile, Brown continues to keep fans guessing on Twitter. This is pretty much the only tweet that is a good sign for the Cats, and that’s a stretch:

We’ll know for sure in 30 minutes.

UPDATE: Good news for the Cats? Brown followed 2015 UK commit CJ Conrad and freshman Matt Elam this morning:

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 11.41.55 AM




Commence overanalysis.

UPDATE x3: Brown tweets that no one knows where he is right now.

I hope he means that figuratively, not literally, because he’s got a huge crowd waiting to hear his decision.

UPDATE x4: Oh great, someone moved the Florida hat to the middle of the lineup.

What does it mean??????

UPDATE x5: Hey, UK signee Mike Edwards is there! Brown is Edwards’ cousin.



UPDATE x6: Finally, we have video, courtesy of 247 Sports’ Josh Edwards:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

UPDATE x7: Brown says he’s not announcing until 1:50.

Good grief. Until then, let’s keep enjoying the music, which sounds oddly like my old Zumba mix.

LAST UPDATE: He picked Florida. Refresh and scroll up.

CJ Conrad camping at Ohio State this weekend

conrad visits

Four-star tight end CJ Conrad is one of UK’s highest-ranked commitments so far in the 2015 class, but this weekend, he’ll attend the Friday Night Lights camp at Ohio State.

Conrad says his commitment to UK is still firm and he’s spoken to the UK staff about attending the camp, but this should still make UK fans slightly nervous. Conrad is from Lagrange, Ohio, and if he picks up an offer from the Buckeyes this weekend, there’s a chance he could flip his commitment. In fact, 247 Sports’ Dave Biddle says he’s a “prime candidate” to flip to the Buckeyes, and after an impressive performance at The Opening earlier this month, an offer will probably come his way.

Stay with us, CJ…

24 hours to go: GatorBait “continues to hear” George Brown Jr. will pick Florida

Kentucky leads George Brown Jr.’s Crystal Ball prediction with 88 percent of the vote, but, the Florida 247Sports affiliate, still expects him to pick the Gators. “We continue to hear the Gators are confident in landing the three-star prospect,” the site’s Recruiting Insider writes.

Brown, set to announce his decision tomorrow afternoon, recently took a visit to Gainesville (his final visit before deciding) and immediately unfollowed almost all UK-related Twitter accounts, while adding several Florida assistant coaches, beat writers, players and former players. If you read into that stuff, it could be a very telling sign.

But the UK staff is also confident it will land Brown tomorrow at 1:30 pm, says Chris Fisher, which means one side is in for a letdown. Kentucky was at one time the very heavy favorite for the offensive lineman from Cincinnati, and he has taken at least six unofficial visits to Lexington.

24 hours until he tells the world…

Craig Yeast named one of the Top 5 SEC East wide receivers since 1992

Craig Yeast named one of the Top 5 SEC East wide receivers since 1992


For many of us, Craig Yeast was a UK football hero growing up. “Couch to Yeast” was a familiar refrain at Commonwealth Stadium in the mid- to late 90′s, and the fact that both players were from Kentucky made UK fans even prouder. In fact, Yeast was one of the best wide receivers to ever play at Kentucky, his career so impressive that 247 Sports included him in their Top 5 SEC East wide receivers since 1992 (the year the conference split into two divisions):

5. Craig Yeast, Kentucky, 1995-98: Catching passes from Tim Couch helped Yeast put up some amazing numbers in Lexington. When he ended his career, he was the SEC’s all-time reception leader and was second in career receiving yards. He has fallen off a bit, but his 208 catches are third in league history, his 2,899 yards are good for seventh in SEC history and his 28 receiving touchdowns are good for No. 6 on the SEC career list. As a senior he had 85 catches for 1,311 yards receiving and 14 TD receptions in 11 games. He also had 1,256 career return yards and returned four kicks for touchdowns.

The other four on the list? 1. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt, 2010-13; 2. Terrence Edwards, Georgia, 1999-2002; 3. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, 2009-11; and 4. A.J. Green, Georgia, 2008-10.

Craig Yeast II

Craig’s son, Russ, is carrying on the Yeast football tradition. Russ is in the class of 2017, and is already drawing high praise for his size (5’11″, 170), speed, and tremendous upside. Russ impressed the UK staff so much at a camp in June that Vince Marrow offered him a scholarship. Judging by his Twitter feed, he’ll probably accept it one day:

Here’s some footage from his freshman year:

What the 2015 football recruiting class is telling us so far…

1) Nothing new here… but Kentucky football is taking over Ohio

This isn’t the first time you’ll hear this and it certainly won’t be the last time you hear this… but the presence of Kentucky’s football recruiting prowess in the state of Ohio just continues to grow. After receiving another Top-50 rated Ohio commit this weekend, Kentucky currently has 6 of the state’s top 50 players signed on for the 2015 class. That brings the total number to 17 Top-50 Ohio players in the last 2 years, as Kentucky signed 11 in this year’s class. For those keeping tabs with Ohio State, Kentucky currently has the same # of Top 50 players from Ohio committed for 2015 that Ohio State does… That’s impressive no matter how you slice it.


2) Kentucky has two key areas of need AND the staff is filling those needs quite nicely

The offensive line and the secondary are two of Kentucky’s biggest pressing needs moving forward. The coaching staff has clearly been putting a priority on locking up solid commitments in those two areas in the 2015 recruiting class. Kentucky’s thin secondary got a boost for the future last night when the Cats picked up two commitments from guys who can contribute and play right away next season. And that’s exactly what Kentucky will need.

Kentucky’s other key area of interest in strengthening the offensive line, which will take a few blows following graduation next year. Kentucky is also looking to beef up the line to entice guys like 5-star running back Damien Harris. Quarterback protection has been a weakness in the past few seasons at Kentucky, but the future looks bright with a number of key commitments (8 so far) already in the class of 2015 to go along with 5-star 2014 offensive lineman Matt Elam.


3) Vince Marrow is THE MAN, but Neal Brown is locking down the state of Kentucky

When you look at the impressive Ohio numbers in recruiting over the past two seasons, that’s in large part due to Vince Marrow’s work on the recruiting trail. Marrow has worked to lock down at least 6 of Kentucky’s current Ohio prospects in the class of 2015, with plenty of time left before National Signing Day.

On the other hand, Neal Brown hasn’t received quite as much notoriety for his achievements in recruiting thus far– but Brown has seemingly taken the lead on most of the top in-state talent. With a loaded 2016 in-state recruiting class looming, Brown figures to be a key contributor if Kentucky is able to lock down the majority of that talent.




UK Football’s 2015 Big Board: Commitments and Top Targets

UK Football’s 2015 Big Board: Commitments and Top Targets


Kentucky picked up three commitments during the Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend, two in the 2015 class (Marcus Walker and Kei Beckham) and one in the 2016 class (Zy’Aire Hughes). It’s been a while since we’ve recapped where the Cats are with the 2015 class and who they still want to bring in, so I spent my day updating the Big Board. Enjoy.




Outside Linebacker
Bowling Green, KY
6-2 | 185

247Composite: 12 OLB | 204
247Sports: 19 OLB
Rivals: 10 OLB | 133
ESPN: 13 OLB | 234
Scout: 21 OLB | 239

Committed: April 21, 2014

Other Offers: Ohio State, USC, Ole Miss, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Western Kentucky

Additional Note: Originally a Vanderbilt commit, Brown re-opened his recruitment in October shortly after an unofficial visit to Ohio State, UK’s biggest competitor for Brown at the time.

Outside Linebacker
Youngstown, OH
6-2 | 203

247Composite: 48 OLB | 696
247Sports: 48 OLB
Rivals: 32 OLB
Scout: NR

Committed: May 8, 2014

Other Offers: Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan State, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana

Additional Note: Jones attends Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio, alma mater of Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.

Defensive Line


Defensive End
Olney, MD
6-4 | 240

247Composite: 18 WDE | 399
247Sports: 19 WDE
Rivals: 18 SDE
Scout: 44 DE

Committed: June 28, 2014

Other Offers: Alabama, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia

Additional Note: Fullwood and Jabari Greenwood announced together at Fullwood’s home in DC, opening the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) pipeline for years to come. Fullwood cited the family atmosphere around the program and the ability to play in the SEC as reasons he chose the Cats over Virginia Tech, Duke, and Maryland. He also said he wants to be a leader in the 2015 class, like Drew Barker was for 2014.


Lake Wales, FL
6-0.5 | 176

247Composite: 19 S | 377
247Sports: 32 S
Rivals: 16 S
ESPN: 16 S | 196
Scout: NR

Committed: July 18, 2014

Other Offers: Arkansas, Cincinnati, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Michigan State, Mississippi State, NC State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UVA

Additional Note: Walker first committed to Kentucky back in January, but decommitted in April. After picking up offers from Arkansas, Michigan State, Tennessee and others, Walker decided to recommit to Kentucky, in part because the staff kept in contact with him even after he reopened his recruitment. He was one of three commitments during UK’s Friday Night Lights camp this past weekend (two in the 2015 class, one in the 2016 class).

4_2930064KEI BECKHAM
Dayton, OH
6-0 | 173

247Composite: 46 CB | 564
247Sports: 44 CB
Rivals: 42 CB
Scout: NR

Committed: July 18, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, Purdue

Additional Note: Beckham also committed to the Cats during the FNL camp after an exclusive workout with Mark Stoops. He needs to bulk up before he can hold his own in the SEC, but he’s athletic, with good hands and quick feet.

Offensive Line

Lake Wales, FL
6-3 | 295

247Composite: 9 C | 533
247Sports: 10 C
Rivals: 3 C | 247
Scout: 12 C

Committed: May 1, 2014

Other Offers: Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, NC State, South Florida, Syracuse

Additional Note: A four-star product on, Hiers committed to Kentucky days after visiting Lexington for the Blue-White game. He was Rivals’ second-ranked center in the country at the time, but has since dropped a spot to No. 3. There are reports that he committed back in October but waited to see the campus before going public with it.

Offensive Tackle
Washington, DC
6-7 | 232

247Composite: 86 OT | 770
247Sports: 52 OT
Rivals: NR
Scout: NR

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: West Virginia, NC State

Additional Note: Livingston plays both sides of the line of scrimmage in high school and insists he can play either in college, however, the plan is to use him on the offensive line at Kentucky.

Offensive Tackle
Madison, AL
6-6 | 327

247Composite: 106 OT | 969
247Sports: 106 OT
Rivals: 9 C
ESPN: 109 C
Scout: NR

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: UAB

Additional Note: Stenberg committed to UK on the same day as fellow offensive linemen Levon Livingston and Larry Wells.

Offensive Tackle
Kenton, OH
6-8 | 295

247Composite: 127 OT
247Sports: 139 OT
Rivals: NR
Scout: NR

Committed: April 5, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Akron

Additional Note: Wells committed on the same day as Levon Livingston and Logan Stenberg.

Offensive Lineman
Henderson, KY
6-7 | 280

247Composite: 88 OG
247Sports: 98 OG
Rivals: NR
Scout: 77 OT

Committed: April 7, 2014

Additional Note: Wolfe became the fourth offensive lineman commit in three days when he committed during an unofficial visit to UK in early April. He told 247Sports he just felt it was time and he was interested in Kentucky since the very beginning.

Offensive Lineman
West Chester, OH
6-4 | 295

247Composite: 53 OT | 445
247Sports: 19 OT | 176
Rivals: 42 OG
Scout: 35 OG

Committed: June 23, 2014

Other Offers: Akron, Cincinnati, UConn, Florida, Illinois, Louisville, Miami (OH), Minnesota, Syracuse, Toledo, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan

Additional Note: Asafo-Adjei is a former teammate of current UK players Kyle Meadows and Mikel Horton, and said he felt comfortable with UK’s players, coaches, and facilities. It doesn’t hurt that it’s close to home, as well. (Thank you, Vince Marrow.)

Tight End

Tight End
LaGrange, OH
6-5 | 225

247Composite: 10 TE | 228
247Sports: 8 TE
Rivals: 7 TE | 195
Scout: 7 TE | 203

Committed: May 9, 2014

Other Offers: Arkansas, Illinois, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Additional Note: Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame were picking up interest, but he chose the Cats before they could close in. Vince Marrow was the lead recruiter, of course, and he liked how UK was on him early. Indiana was the other finalist with Kentucky.

Wide Receiver

Wide Receiver
Lakewood, OH
6-3 | 190

247Composite: 39 WR | 305
247Sports: 33 WR
Rivals: 40 WR
Scout: 31 WR | 235

Committed: May 3, 2014

Other Offers: Cincinnati, Miami (FL), West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Ohio, Harvard, Yale

Additional Note: Stump, who will undoubtedly see his ranking climb next season, called Kentucky the perfect fit when he committed earlier this month. “Their offense is a great offense for receivers,” he told the Herald-Leader. “Maybe, possibly I could have gotten ‘bigger’ offers, but this is the perfect fit for me. There was no reason not to do it.”

Wide Receiver
Washington, DC
6-4 | 193

247Composite: 57 WR | 506
247Sports: 53 WR
Rivals: 42 WR
Scout: 60 WR

Committed: June 28, 2014

Other Offers: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, NC State, Pitt, Rutgers, UVA, Wake Forest, Washington State

Additional Note: Greenwood picked Kentucky over Michigan State, Virginia, and Maryland. At 6’4″, 193 lbs., he’s got the size to compete in the SEC, and more importantly, looks like a playmaker. Greenwood said WR coach Tommy Mainord played a huge factor in his decision, and his commitment was a big win for Mainord, who is the primary recruiter in the DMV area.



Running Back
Berea, KY
5-11 | 205

247Composite: 1 RB | 23
247Sports: 2 RB | 59
Rivals: 1 RB | 4
ESPN: 1 RB | 28
Scout: 1 RB | 34

Decision Date: December 13, 2014

Other Offers: Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, Florida State, USC, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin

Additional Note: Harris is the staff’s biggest priority in the class. If he does choose Kentucky, he’ll be the highest ranked recruit the program has ever landed, and have an impact on recruiting classes for years to come. Harris attended UK’s FNL camp this past weekend, one of several visits he’s taken to UK, and by all reports, the staff feels better than ever at their chances of landing him. However, December 13 is a long time from now, and UK may need to pull off more than one upset this season to convince Harris to take a chance on them.

Offensive Tackle
Cincinnati, OH
6-6 | 253

247Composite: 42 OT | 364
247Sports: 84 OT
Rivals: 13 OT | 118
Scout: 39 OT

Decision Date: July 25, 2014

Final Five: Alabama (non-committable), Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU

Additional Note: Brown seemed close to committing during his visit to UK for the FNL camp this past weekend, but held off to take one last visit for Florida. If you read the tweet leaves, he seems torn between the two, but we’ll know for sure on Friday.

Defensive End
Winter Garden, FL
6-4 | 240

247Composite: 50 SDE | 1037
247Sports: 41 SDE
Rivals: NR
Scout: NR

Decision Date: Unknown

Other offers: Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Wisconsin

Additional Note: Wilson visited UK last Tuesday, and reports say he enjoyed himself, especially getting to see his former teammate Garrett Johnson, who will be a freshman this fall. He’s looking for an offer from Georgia, and on Sunday, tweeted he’d also like to take an official visit to Wisconsin. While the Cats are in a good position, this is far from over.

4_882099VON DAVIS
Mount Dora, FL
5-11 | 170

247Composite: 42 CB | 504
247Sports: 39 CB
Rivals: 25 ATH
Scout: 69 CB

Decision Date: Unknown

Other offers: Arizona, Indiana, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis

Additional Note: There have been conflicting reports about Davis’ interest in Kentucky, but according to 247 Sports’ Ryan Bartow, had Davis visited UK this past weekend, he would have committed. Keep an eye on this one.

[All images and star-ratings via]

Should we worry about George Brown Jr.’s Twitter account?

Should we worry about George Brown Jr.’s Twitter account?

Kentucky has been in good standing with George Brown Jr. for a long time now, but a recent change to his Twitter account has many UK football fans worried in the days before his announcement this Friday.

Coming off his recent visit to Gainesville, Brown began following several Florida football accounts, from former players to assistant coaches and beat writers. Almost one-third of the 91 accounts he follows appear to be Gator-related (by my very unofficial count), making me wonder if we’ll be receiving bad news when he announces.

Or maybe I’m just paranoid and need to get outside for some sunshine. Following recruits on the internet tends to make us all a little crazy from time to time. Kentucky leads with 88 percent of the vote in his Crystal Ball predictions, so maybe I should direct my attention away from his Twitter page and toward that.

I guess we’ll know for sure in a few days.


Damien Harris made breakfast and OMG OHIO STATE CUP


131 days until he announces his decision…

Offensive Lineman George Brown Announces His Decision Date

Offensive Lineman George Brown Announces His Decision Date


Pretty impressive group of schools for Friday’s 1:30 pm announcement. Would be an amazing get for the Cats…

Damien Harris will decide December 13th


Kentucky’s top in-state target in the class of 2015, #1 rated running back Damien Harris, tweeted that he will be making his final decision on December 13th. Before he makes that decision though, Harris will trim his list to 5 on August 1st. Kentucky figures to make the final cut for Harris and he seems to still be very high on the Cats.

Go Cats. Yahtzee? Please?