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Football Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©May 02nd, 2016 @ 8:00pm
A.J. Rose scored a pair of touchdowns playing quarterback and running back for the North, while Benny Snell ran into the end zone three times for the South to earn MVP honors in a 49-26 win.
The North-South all-star game was played in the rain Saturday at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, featuring the best players from Ohio’s top three classes. Tight end Justin Rigg joined Snell on the South and punter Grant McKinniss kicked alongside Rose for the North.
Rose did not receive the same accolades as Snell, but he deserves credit for doing a little more on the field. Before this score he threw a halfback pass for 21 yards, something to keep an eye on when he gets to Kentucky.
— Matt Goul (@mgoul) April 30, 2016
Even though they’ve become friends during their visits to Lexington, it was the first time they’ve seen one another in pads. Before they enter Eddie Gran’s running back group, Snell has a slight one up on Rose after this game, but he’s excited to be on his side in the fall.
“He’s a good runner, and I’m glad to have him as a teammate because we’re going to have a lot of fun in Lexington,” Snell told Matt Goul of Cleveland.com after the game. “You know, we’re weapons all around, so you can use us however you want to.”
For more highlights from the game — including a stiff-arm from Rose and an end zone dive from Snell — and a chance to give them “Top Play” honors, visit Cleveland.com here.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 29th, 2016 @ 10:00am
The NFL Draft began last night, and the UK Football photoshop crew had some fun with the festivities, sending out custom “Draft Day” edits of each commit and recruit they’re going after in the 2017 class, starting with the top target, 5-star OT Jedrick Wills.
Here’s Wills’ teammate at Lafayette, 3-star QB commit Walker Wood:
DraftDay 🔵….. Lol I need a slim suit 😉 dat be fye🔥 oh and some facial hair pic.twitter.com/54weEnQrKw
— Walker Wood (@Wood7Walker) April 28, 2016
4-star WR commit JaVonte Robinson:
— JIGG (@Jigg_Starter) April 29, 2016
3-star WR target DJ Edwards below:
— D'J Edwards (@JIGABOO1K) April 28, 2016
3-star running back commit Michael Warren:
I can see it 🤔🤔💯 pic.twitter.com/elIVEVIWW9
— Michael Warren II (@MikeWarren40) April 28, 2016
The photoshop crew wasn’t done there, churning out this riff of Drake’s cover for his new album, Views:
By Nick Roush on ©April 28th, 2016 @ 9:30pm
The Kentucky football coaching staff has been on the road recruiting since spring practice ended. Here’s a look at who has received offers, primarily players who will be juniors and sophomores next season.
Chris Julian Jr.– From Howland High in Warren, Ohio, the 6’2″ 215-pound inside linebacker from the class of 2018 received his first scholarship offer from UK. Highlights
L’Christian Smith– Vince Marrow has become a frequent visitor to Wayne High School. Tobias Gilliam is the first from the nationally ranked school to come to Kentucky, arriving in the fall. Alex Reigelsperger is a defensive end in ’18 that has visited UK multiple times, but his teammate L’Christian “Blue” Smith will likely be the highest-rated athlete at the Dayton school.
Smith only has five offers, but they’re all from big schools: Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Michigan. At 6’6″ 205 pounds, he is a huge target at wide receiver. He’s also a great basketball player, Tweeting this out yesterday:
I have been offered a chance to play basketball and football at kentucky👀👀👀👀👀
— Blue• (@bluesmith_) April 27, 2016
It should be taken with a grain of salt, but if basketball attracts him to play football at Kentucky, I’m down with that. Highlights
New defensive backs coach Steve Clinkscale has hit the recruiting trail hard in Michigan. The Cats have taken some guys from Ohio that would normally head to Michigan or Michigan State. Now the Cats are hoping to pull some from the state of Michigan by offering early.
Justin Rodgers is the earliest offer. The Detroit native is only in the 8th grade. The 6’4″ 260 pound offensive lineman visited UK earlier this spring. But Rodgers wasn’t the only 8th-grader to receive a scholarship offer. His future Oak Park teammate, defensive back Enzo Jennings, also got an offer from Clinkscale.
Oak Park’s dual-threat quarterback, a freshman last year and member of the 2019 recruiting class, Dwan Mathis was offered by Clinkscale. Sophomore-to-be wide receiver Julian Barnett was the fourth Michigan man to receive an offer on Clinkscale’s trip to Michigan.
Extending a Pipeline to…Pennsylvania?
Paris Ford– A Pitt commit, Kentucky was the 30th offer for the Pittsburgh native. The safety is considered the #104 player overall by the 247 composite in the class of 2017. Ford has offers from everyone — Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida State — leading many to believe he’ll drop his pledge to the Panthers. Highlights
Kevin Doyle– The 2018 pocket-passer from Malvern Pa. has offers from Pitt, Toledo, Temple, and West Virginia.
He’s already visited Kentucky three times. Here’s what Doyle told Steve Wiltfong of 247 after receiving his offer:
“It is a great university and I really liked it there,” Doyle said adding that several things stand out.
“The conference, the campus, and bright future because of the coaching staff. I like how it is also one of the biggest SEC cities in the conference.”
A Few from Florida
OJ Tucker– Jimmy Brumbaugh extended an offer to the 2017 cornerback from Ocalaca, Fl. He has 13 offers total, including Mississippi State, Iowa State and Nebraska. Highlights
Isaiah Bolden– The 2018 cornerback from Jacksonville received nine other offers before Kentucky came into the picture, most notably: Auburn, Clemson, FAU, USF & nearby Florida. Highlights
C.J. Smith– A junior-to-be, the strong safety from Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida also has offers from Nebraska, Iowa State and FAU. Highlights
While John Calipari’s video obviously wins video of the day, Les Miles definitely gave us a runner-up. This afternoon, the ban on unlimited texting for recruiting purposes was lifted, and to celebrate, LSU posted this video of Miles getting ready to text, aka stretching out those fingers:
When you get over the fact that he made a video about texting teenage boys, it’s pretty funny.
I’m old and washed up. He’s young with the world at his fingertips. He’s a four-star quarterback from Jacksonville, Florida. I was labeled as an athlete and played in small town Kentucky before the star system was invented.
Being recruited nearly thirty years ago, I didn’t have to navigate the land mines of social media, the constant bombardment of text messages, camps/combines, all-star games, and recruiting services. Mac Jones does so on a daily basis. A shared fault that elder has-been football athletes (me) make is to disregard today’s generation due to the enormity of media attention and the individual nature of offseason competition. Man, was I ever wrong.
To further understand and empathize, I correlate the modern-day with ancient. For example, today’s social media offer announcements are no different than my generations when recruiting letters were strategically placed in the back pocket of faded blue jeans for our classmates to see as we walked down the hallway. Same intent, similar pride in accomplishment, just communicated in a different manner to an infinitely larger audience. Thankfully, the world was much smaller thirty years ago. Mac Jones the quarterback prospect has reformed my view of modern day college football recruiting. I appreciate that. I pray I’m never too old or stubborn to learn.
For my one year KSR anniversary post, I recently conducted a questions and answers interview with Mac Jones. Please note that the below questions may seem somewhat bazaar. But in typical KSR fashion, I hope his comments help to paint a better picture of the future face of Kentucky Football.
Without using other player’s names as an example, who is Mac Jones the quarterback?
Mac Jones: Everyone knows exactly what quarterback I’m going to say is similar to me. I’ll let you guys figure out the name. Let’s say that I’m a poised, natural thrower and I’m more competitive than anyone. Of course everyone says they are the most competitive person, however, I believe I take it to a whole new level. I may not be the strongest or biggest but my mental toughness helps compensate. (Tom Brady)
Camps and combines are a new phenomenon. For those of us who are unsure of their goings on, please walk us through the Baltimore Rivals QB Challenge.
Jones: First they supply us with tons of gear. Everything is free including airfare and hotel rooms. I would say they gave us over $700 worth of gear. The QBs all meet with each other and we begin bonding quickly. In Baltimore the first day was more fun and we didn’t do much just watched the ILL speed challenge. The next day I switched into a whole new mode, I went from being sort of loose and nonchalant to full competition mode.
As a rising four-star, is landing the fifth important and what would that mean to you?
Jones: A 5th star would be cool and all. But at the end of the day, nothing can save you on the field, you must play and if my play is good enough for a 5th star then good for me. However, I would play and work the same if I was a 5 star or a 1 star.
Through your extensive 7 on 7 experience, have you developed an internal clock that helps you to better simulate game situations?
Jones: 7 on 7 is a whole different game. It really is nothing like real football… It’s good for timing and reading defense. As you probably know, in a real football game, the quarterback probably only gets to throw in a clean pocket 6 times a game or less. It’s competitive and fun however real football is a battlefield not a shooting range.
I can tell a great deal about quarterbacks just by observing their comfort level while throwing the entirety of the receiver route tree. So, which route is your favorite and why?
Jones: I love timing routes from the far hash. The 15 yard out from the far hash is my favorite throw. I can make that throw consistently. The throw is extremely difficult and I love the challenge it provides both the receivers and myself.
In the Bolles School offense, you take snaps from under center as well as in the shotgun. While reading defenses, which method do you feel the most confident and why?
Jones: I feel more comfortable under center. However, the shotgun is much easier to see and read defenses. Spread formations and shotgun spreads the defense making it easier to see and read. Usually, when under center, the box is loaded with defenders and it’s more crowded than if you are in shotgun. Most People know it’s a lot easier to go under center in HS to shotgun in college than from shotgun in HS to under center in college.
You’re blessed to be coached by a legend. Describe Coach Roger’s impact on you as a football player and person.
Jones: Coach Rogers has left a tremendous impact on both myself as a player and a person. He knows more and has experienced more football than anyone I have ever been coached by. I’m very thankful to be coached by such a legend, and he will always have a special place in my heart as my favorite coach. He also has helped me through my maturation process. I will always have his voice in my head reminding me of his coaching points.
You committed to Kentucky early in the recruiting process. Since then, you’ve been offered by several other programs. You said after your last visit that you’re solid with the Cats. Do you feel relieved after that declaration?
Jones: Yes I feel very comfortable with my commitment right now. I’m going to evaluate my offers as I have always done but I feel good about my commitment.
The picture of you touring the new facility wearing a hard hat and reflective vest went viral. Did your boys give you a hard time about that one?
Jones: Hahaha… A lot of people made fun of me for that one. They all know my intention of creating an image of me as “Mac the Builder”. Hopefully they got the memo though.
Do you plan on being an early enrollee? If so, what do you expect from your first semester on campus?
Jones: My school doesn’t usually allow players to graduate early. However, my family is going to meet with the school to see if we can make a plan. I want to get acclimated to the feel of campus, and I think it will help me avoid a redshirt year. However, if I do redshirt that’s fine.
To what extent did Kentucky’s facilities upgrade factor in your decision to become a Wildcat?
Jones: The facilities show two aspects about UK football. One, it shows the people care about UK football, for them to throw in that much money shows they want to put the team in the best place to succeed. Secondly, the facility allows us to use as many resources as we can to improve our game. Everything is very convenient.
In today’s recruiting mind-set and in regards to facilities, which is more influential in the decision; the stadium or training/practice facility?
Jones: Probably both. The facility prepares you for games in the stadium. The facility and coaches create the culture and the game day experience creates tradition.
Being the starting quarterback of an SEC football team can be quite demanding. Are you prepared to eventually become the face of the franchise?
Jones: I’m prepared and unprepared. I’m prepared because I’m going in to the situation thinking it’s going to be tough and that it’s like a job. The QB is the CEO of the program. I’m unprepared in that I have never been an SEC QB so I have no idea what it is like. My perception of being an SEC QB could be completely different than what I think.
Prince or Justin Bieber? Had to sneak that in here.
Jones: Hahaha. For sure Prince. I’m not a big Justin Bieber fan; he is kind of a punk.
Against Raines in the 34-8 playoff loss, down 8-0 your team went three and out on the 10-yard line. After a fumbled punt recovery, you threw a play action pass for a 50-yard touchdown. What did you say to the offense before taking the field?
Jones: I told them what I always tell them. I tell them that we are just running another drive just like practice. They do a great job responding to my emotional speeches. A big reason why that drive was successful was due to that speech.
What would a state title mean to your community, teammates and coaches? How about you?
Jones: It would mean so much. First of all, we haven’t won a title in 5 years. Our coach has won 11 state titles and we know he is getting older and all. So we want to win one more for coach Rogers so he can go out with another ring. Our community is used to state championships but we want to prove that we can win a state championship like the 11 other teams. Our coach has stressed the fact that those teams worked extremely hard but we’re not necessarily more talented than us. After he said that, we realized we could have a run at States. The weight room culture changed almost immediately.
Let’s say in the state championship game that rain and wind forced your team to run the football on every down. You finished 0-0 for 0 yards. What would you say to the press afterwards?
Jones: If we won, I would be very happy. I could care less about stats and touchdowns. If our team wins I don’t give two farts about how I played. If I play bad, then the loss is on me. Obviously I want to help contribute to winning but if we are successful running the ball then we will run to victory.
In your freshman year at UK, you’ll have players in the huddle that are 22 and 23 years old. Are you a strong enough leader to demand their respect from day one?
Jones: The respect will come. I’m not going to come in demanding or expecting anything. Coach Rogers told me the easiest way to earn someone’s respect is on the field not by talking about it. An easy way to earn respect is by being a hard worker and being the first one to every meeting of event. On the field play should earn respect through how I play.
Tell us something about Mac Jones that we don’t already know.
Jones: I speak Chinese. I’m not fluent yet but let’s say I could go to China and survive easily. I love to play tennis and I want to be a coach or broadcaster when I get older.
Impressive and mature answers from the high school junior. As for me and my learning experience; the longstanding adage rings true today, old dogs can learn new tricks. I now have a better understanding and respect for the modern day college football prospect’s mindset. In the grand scheme of things, it’s relatively unchanged from thirty years ago. The differences lie within the periphery of communication, opportunity, and media focus.
After earning MVP honors at Rivals QB Challenge Finals, additional offers were inevitable. I don’t think any of us would have guessed the first one would come from the University of Louisville.
Bobby Petrino has extended a scholarship offer to the 4-star Kentucky commit. It’s Jones’ 16th offer to date. If nothing else, Petrino’s quarterbacking pedigree validates Mark Stoops’ recruiting success, but that’s none of his business.
As Kory wrote in the post below, UK QB commit Mac Jones has been impressive at the Rivals challenge and now he has some hardware to show for it:
— Mac Jones (@macjones2017) April 24, 2016
Way to go Mac!
So far this morning, Kentucky commit Mac Jones has been very impressive at the Rivals QB Camp Challenge. According to multiple sources, Jones is throwing the ball more accurately, with a much tighter spiral than before. If there’s one thing for certain about Mac, he’s definitely a talented quarterback with a tremendous arm.
Check out these clips to see some of his earlier throws:
— Rivals Camp Series (@RivalsCamp) April 24, 2016
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) April 24, 2016
By Nick Roush on ©April 23rd, 2016 @ 9:30pm
Two First-Time Football Offers
A pair of 2018 athletes picked up scholarship offers from Kentucky. Both are listed as athletes. Both are from the state of Michigan. Both are receiving their first scholarship offers. Jaylan Franklin and Matt Harmon have also received looks from Michigan State.
Another person was added to Kentucky’s offer sheet, 2018 outside linebacker DeAndre Square. The Detroit native won linebacker MVP honors at Rivals’ Columbus Camp. Square also holds offers from Iowa State, Cincinnati and Syracuse. Before I move on, one more Michigan man to remember: 2019 offensive tackle Davontae Dobbs was given a UK offer earlier this week.
Mac Jones’ Team Wins at the Rivals Challenge
The jury seems to still be out as to whether or not Jones will earn a fifth star after attending Rivals’ premiere camp in Baltimore. But it is safe to say that Jones performed at an extremely high level. With teams divided amongst the different states to create a competition, his Florida squad took home the title. Watch him air it out in the deep ball competition:
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) April 23, 2016
Calipari is doing the usual — not staying put. He’s in between two courts at the Nike EYBL Tournament in Indianapolis. On one court, Tremont Waters and Nick Richards are playing for Expressions Elite. On another, Mohammad Bamba is taking on Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr. of MOKAN Elite. Why Cal remains occupied, Kenny Payne is keeping an eye on Hamidou Diallo.
Nebraska nose tackle Kevin Williams is looking for a new home for his final season as a graduate transfer. He arrived in Lexington today and made his way over to Commonwealth Stadium with some other Ohio boys — Greg Hart, Courtney Love and Vince Marrow. Marrow has connections with almost everyone in Ohio, but his connection with Williams is closer than most. Marrow was Williams’ head coach at Springfield High School.
Texas A&M has also been mentioned as a possible destination. Even though injuries have plagued Williams throughout his career, they need his presence on the Kentucky defensive line. If you don’t believe me, here is what Freddie had to say about Williams’ potential impact.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 22nd, 2016 @ 2:00pm
Mark Stoops is getting a head start on a young in-state football prospect. Stoops and the UK staff recently offered offensive lineman Bryan Hudson, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound freshman on the Cardinals football team.
Scott County head coach Jim McKee told the Herald-Leader, “He had a real good work out and (UK) liked him.”
This strategy panned out the first time around when Stoops jumped on Lafayette’s Landon Young at a young age. Hopefully Hudson follows a similar path as Young by growing into a monster on the offensive line and committing to Kentucky.
For more on Hudson, read Josh Moore’s story here.
A Big Weekend for Mac Jones
The Cats’ next quarterback will be in Baltimore for the Rivals Challenge QB Finals, the recruiting network’s top national camp for signal callers. Coming off two consecutive camp MVP performances, Mac said he feels good going into this weekend. Hopefully he can carry some of that momentum to Baltimore to take out the 12 others from around the nation.
Here’s How Tyler Ajian Committed to UK
— ｲﾘ尺乇ﾚﾚ ﾑﾌﾉﾑ刀 (@_tyrellajian) April 21, 2016
And Coach Stoops’ response:
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) April 21, 2016
Another Alabama Offer for a Top Target
Football recruiting caught the casual fan’s eye when Mac Jones received an offer from Alabama. Now the Crimson Tide are trying to take a recruit that is just as important. Josh Paschal is a Top 250 player, a 4-star strong side defensive end from Mother of Good Counsel in Maryland, the same high school as current OLB/DE Kobie Walker. His older brother, TreVaughn, played four years at UK and walked with me at graduation in December.
With plenty of UK ties, the Cats can’t afford to lose Paschal to Clemson, Ohio State, Maryland or Bama. There aren’t too many spaces left in the Class of 2017, but they need him to fill an important spot at defensive end.
Caleb Rozar is High on UK
The 3-star 2017 wide receiver/athlete from Clarksville, Tn. spoke to Scout about his top three schools — Kentucky, North Carolina and Mississippi State. While other schools hope to use him as a defensive back, Kentucky wants him as a receiver. There’s no school he’s visited more, but the tight be because his sister went to UK. D.J. Eliot gave Rozar his first offer. “I talk to them almost everyday,” Rozar said. “They’ve stuck with me since the beginning.”
Lamar Thomas is on the Recruiting Trail
If you aren’t following Lamar Coach T yet I don’t know what you’re doing.
Offers for ’17 Commits
The duo from Toledo Central Catholic picked up offers earlier this week. Running back Mike Warren earned his sixth, this one from Bowling Green. Defensive end James Hudson got his 16th when Mark Richt of The U extended an offer. This weekend Hudson will be visiting Michigan State. His recruiting momentum won’t be slowing down any time soon.
A 2018 Ohio OT Target is Offered
Usually Vince Marrow is quick to scout the top talent form Ohio and extend offers before anyone else. That is not the case with Jackson Carman. The Junior-to-be’s Kentucky offer was his 23rd, following in the footsteps of Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. The 6’6″ 305-pounder would be a lovely edition, but this is looking like a longshot.
UK Announced the Days for their Summer Camps
Mansfield, Oh. athlete Tyrell Ajian has committed to play for Mark Stoops next season. A 4-star Top 250 athlete, Ajian picked Kentucky over Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, and Notre Dame, among others. Vince Marrow was the first to break the news.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) April 21, 2016
Ajian was a frequent flyer to Lexington this spring, spending time on the sideline during the first spring scrimmage with Alex King and Javonte Richardson, the Cats’ last two commitments, both from Ohio.
Ajian is the 12th commitment in the class of 2017, the second-highest rated recruit behind Richardson. 247 lists Ajian as the 156th ranked recruit, ESPN as the 82nd ranked player overall. Ajian’s addition moves the Cats’ class to #9 in the nation. His versatility is on display in his highlight reel.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 19th, 2016 @ 2:00pm
Beginning in August of this year, schools will be able to provide the round-trip costs for two of a recruit’s parents or legal guardians to accompany the recruit on their official visit.
Up until this new rule, any accompanying family members were responsible for their own travel and meals. In some cases, recruits took official visits alone because the parents or guardians were unable to afford it. In some other cases, seeking financial assistance led to NCAA violations for receiving improper benefits. Whatever the case, it has never been within the rules for parents and guardians to travel along at the institution’s expense, and that will all change on August 1, 2016.
The vote for the new propsal passed 14-1 with only the Sun Belt voting against it, according to ESPN. Sounds like the Sun Belt is worried about losing some of its prospective student-athletes to the big dogs, as it should.
By Freddie Maggard on ©April 19th, 2016 @ 10:30am
Yes, I have a problem. I watched Kentucky’s spring game a couple or five times. My opinion remains constant after every viewing; Mark Stoops is a defensive lineman and third offensive tackle away from being pretty darn good.
As is, 2016 is the most talented and deepest roster he’s constructed. One week after the spring finale, Nebraska grad transfer DT Kevin Williams will visit Lexington. To say his campus and city tours are critical would be a tremendous understatement. I’m no recruiter, but simply popping in last Saturday’s game film into the VCR machine should be all the selling that Vince Marrow will have to do in order to gain his signature.
Apparently, Kentucky is competing with Texas A&M for Williams’ services. In the SEC grand scheme of things, both the Cats and Aggies are not projected near the top of their respective divisions. Thus, comfortability, familiarity, and potential for immediate impact will likely factor in the decision. Let’s take a look at each:
As a proud US Army Basic Training graduate, I can read a map. Lexington appears to be closer to Springfield, Ohio (two hours and thirty-eight minutes’ drive time) than does College Station, Texas (eighteen hours, seventeen minutes). Comforting to young Mr. Williams is the ease and access of I-75.
Williams hails from Springfield, Ohio. Incoming defensive tackle Kordell Looney is also a Springfield High Wildcat. As a true freshman, Looney has the skill and size to also press for clock. To further connect the dots, Springfield High School’s head football coach is Maurice Douglas. The same Maurice Douglas that starred at defensive back for Jerry Claiborne before playing eleven seasons in the NFL. Coach Douglas’ son, Moses received his first college offer from UK. That’s quite a bit of familiarity, but it goes further. Williams’ recruiter, Vince Marrow, was his high school coach and was later with him in Lincoln. Oh yes, and you can add the other twenty-four Ohioans that now call Lexington their football home.
Immediate, continuous, and constant. Coach Jimmy Brumbaugh needs a veteran to light a peer to peer fire under his current collection. Williams, a former Cornhusker starter, can provide that steady spark. Texas A&M may want him; Kentucky desperately needs him. Colossal yearning difference when you’re talking about just one year of remaining eligibility.
How will this play out? No clue, but I like UK’s chances.