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Mark Stoops is Still Recruiting Russ Yeast



Mark Stoops may have lost the battle, but he’s determined to win the war.

Russ Yeast, the 4-star athlete and son of former UK great Craig Yeast, pledged his allegiance to the blue and white early in the recruiting process, but decided to re-open his recruitment last June.  Four months later, Yeast decided it was in his best interest to become a Card.  Mark Stoops hasn’t quit fighting.

The Under Armour All-American was offered by Notre Dame and Stoops’ brother Bob this week.  Yeast revealed he also received in-home visits from UofL and Notre Dame yesterday.  Mark Stoops has a 33 percent chance of flipping Yeast back to Kentucky according to the 247 Crystal Ball.

If Yeast flips, this is what you’ll see at Kentucky.

Nick Saban is in Lexington today

Nick Saban is in Lexington today


There is a popular runner-up in Lexington today visiting the state’s most prized football recruit.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, looking a little happier than he was last week, took a break from complaining about Clemson’s pick play to pay a visit to Jedrick Willis. Saban stopped by Wills’ Lafayette High School to make sure the four-star offensive tackle is still ready to sign the Alabama paperwork on February 1.

Wills tweeted this photo of the visit:

Wills is all set to become one of 23 four and five-star players in Saban’s next great No. 1 recruiting class on Signing Day.

That’s not even fair.

UK target shuts down recruitment, sticks with The U



One of Mark Stoops’ remaining targets in the 2017 class has canceled his upcoming trip to Lexington and solidified his commitment to The U.

Jon Ford, a three-star defensive end out of Fort Lauderdale, made plans to take an official visit to the University of Kentucky this coming weekend; however, a tweet he sent out Wednesday night announced that he will remain committed to Miami, despite recent speculation that a decommitment was imminent.

Ford committed to Miami in January of last year and will follow through with that yearlong commitment. Kentucky’s last-minute efforts in flipping the No. 26 defensive end came up just short, two weeks shy of National Signing Day.

The Cats currently have 23 committed players in the class.

National Signing Day Home Stretch: Who’s left on Kentucky’s board?


We’ve officially reached the home stretch, Wildcat fans. National Signing Day is just over two weeks away, and the Kentucky football staff is racking up their SkyMiles trying to keep the Class of 2017 intact, along with securing a few final commitments in the process.

To start the year, even Mark Stoops admitted this would be a small recruiting class, with just over 20 signatures likely to be accepted. But here we are. UK is now up to 23 commitments, and they’re not done yet. My understanding is that Kentucky has 2-3 more spots available in this class, with each likely being high-profile recruits.

Let’s take a look at final list of prospects for Kentucky:

Thayer Munford

Four-star OT out of Massillon, Ohio

Munford’s situation is extremely interesting, as it seems this recruitment is coming down to both UK and Ohio State, and a single offer can (and would) sway his decision. If Ohio State offers Munford, my understanding is that’s where he’s going. Ohio State recently paid him a visit at his basketball game, but an offer did not come.

Ohio State has several high-ranked prospects left on their board, but just two scholarship spots remaining. They only have two offensive line commitments right now, so do they go more for position need or best player available? Let’s hope for the latter.

A new piece of information I have heard is Ohio State is preparing for a current commitment to flip, and they would likely use that open scholarship for Munford. If the flip occurs, Munford gets the offer, and likely becomes a Buckeye shortly thereafter.

This recruitment will likely lead right up to the final few days of January, and Kentucky will continue to push until pen meets paper. UK is holding one of their last few spots for Munford, making him the biggest remaining priority.

Kevaughn Dingle

Four-star WR out of Miami Gardens, Florida

As we told you guys a few weeks back, Kentucky is the favorite for Dingle, and will likely receive his signature on National Signing Day… if there’s space. When I last talked to him, he couldn’t stop raving about the Wildcats, the coaching staff, and how excited he was to get to Lexington for his official visit. He said, “I think this visit is going to finalize things for me, especially with Signing Day being the week after. My visit to Kentucky is going to tell me where I want to be, give me faith in my decision when I sign my paperwork.”

The players and coaching staff like this kid a lot, but wide receiver is not a position of need right now, and would like to focus on some of the “big name” options. Having a four-star like Dingle with the interest he has in Kentucky says a lot about the program and the progress they’ve made. Tell me again when UK has had the ability to keep a four-star “on hold” before?

If Kentucky misses out on Munford, I believe Dingle signs with the Cats.

Bruce Judson

Four-star ATH out of Cocoa, Florida

He visited with both Oregon State and Oregon coaches this past weekend, and by look of his social media feed, he enjoyed his time. He’s currently committed to USF, but it seems almost certain he’ll be signing elsewhere on February 1st.

UK and Oregon have been the two favorites for a few weeks now, and I believe one of those schools will be his final destination. Oregon seems to be the team to beat right now, as the commitment of Lynn Bowden puts a spin on things. UK recruited both of them to play similar positions, where getting the ball in their hands was the biggest priority. The staff doesn’t see a need for both, but could use him if he’s dying to pull the trigger. I see Bowden more in the slot and Judson as a primary rusher, so there’s room for both.

One interesting note on Judson: He and former UK receiver Jeff Badet are good friends and remain in contact, with Kentucky coming up in several conversations in the past. Did Badet’s transfer impact Judson’s interest? Who knows, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Judson is an interesting case that will likely come down to the final few days before Signing Day, with Kentucky very much in contention leading up to then.


Per his Twitter, Judson just switched out his official visit to Kentucky on January 27th to USF, meaning the Wildcats are likely looking elsewhere for one of their final few spots.

Danny Davis

Four-star WR out of Springfield, Ohio

As of now, I believe the four-star WR out of Ohio will be headed elsewhere, despite UK being the overwhelming favorite in his Crystal Ball on 247 Sports. There was a time it seemed that Davis was a lock to Kentucky, but contact seems to have faded out from both sides. He’s a top 100 prospect and a consensus four-star, so the lack of communication has to have some reasoning behind it, especially with Vince Marrow as his lead recruiter.

Sources have told KSR that the reason for Davis’ lack of interest is, in fact, due to grades. According to an Ohio source, interest was high throughout the top schools in the nation, but they soon realized there would be a major roadblock on the academic side of things for Davis and he may not qualify. Thus, interest is low and not many are wanting to take the chance on him.

It seems West Virginia is still making an effort on Davis, and I would consider them the favorite right now.

Things could shake up in the last two weeks where the UK coaching staff makes a big push, but I don’t see it right now. If that does happen, it will be one or the other between Davis and Dingle, both will not be coming.

Naytron Culpepper

Four-star DB out of Miami Gardens, Florida

Does UK really need another commitment from a defensive back? Not really. But this is Mark Stoops we’re talking about, a guy that lives and breathes for freak athletes in his secondary.

He’ll be visiting Kentucky in the final week of January with teammate Kevaughn Dingle, and reportedly loves the Wildcats. With offers from Oregon, LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, and countless others, the dude is no slouch, and bringing him in at such a critical time of the recruiting season certainly means something. I don’t think the staff has made him a major priority, but if they miss out on some other guys, I’m hearing he would be a take for the Wildcats.

I’m working on getting an interview with him either before or after his official visit to Kentucky, so I’ll try to keep you guys updated with anything I hear.

Jon Ford

Three-star DE out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ford is the recruit I’m having the most trouble with. The staff has made him a big priority, and I certainly believe there is mutual interest, with Kentucky being in his top two schools right now. That being said, it just seems way too quiet between both sides, and he still raves about Miami (the school he’s committed to) on a consistent basis on social media.

He’s going on an official visit to UK this weekend, so he’ll be able to see the basketball game against South Carolina on top of UK football’s sales pitch. He’ll be able to interact with some crazy fans and get a real feel for campus life, two positives for Kentucky. If all goes well, I could see UK taking the lead after this weekend, even with an official visit to Miami coming the following weekend.

Ford would be a massive get both literally and figuratively. At 6’5, 250 lbs., he’s a freak of nature on the defensive line, and would just add to Stoops’ best DL class to date. The staff wants him bad, and they’ll be fighting their hardest for him right up to the end of the process.

As of now, the Kentucky staff is preparing for signatures from each committed prospect, and the general consensus is that this class will remain intact entirely. Every year there’s always a couple guys that surprise the coaching staff, but I feel that this class is extremely solid and they’ll all follow through on their word.

Should there be a few surprises, look at the list above and plug them in accordingly. UK has guys lined up and ready to go in preparation of a full class, meaning the War Room will be a fun one on February 1st.

Two weeks away, folks. Get ready.


MLK Day’s Top 10: UK Cheerleading wins again, gearing up for Mississippi State, and PACKERS WIN!

MLK Day’s Top 10: UK Cheerleading wins again, gearing up for Mississippi State, and PACKERS WIN!


Good morning, friends, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Whether you’re at work/school or at home, we’ll get you through the day, which is chock full of UK sports news. Shoutout to the UK Cheerleading squad, who brought home their 22nd national championship yesterday, an unprecedented feat. Here’s part of their routine:

The UK Dance Squad also turned in an impressive performance, finishing second in the Hip Hop competition and fourth in the Pom competition. Well done, ladies.

Now, on to the rest of today’s agenda…

1. We’ll look forward to Mississippi State

Starkville is the armpit of America, so thankfully, Matt didn’t require one of us to go, but we’ll do our best to prepare you for Kentucky’s game throughout the day. Here’s a glimpse at what Ben Howland’s squad has done so far this season:

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Given the horrid state of SEC Basketball, it’s hard to tell how impressive Mississippi State’s 3-1 league record really is, but regardless, the Cats can’t afford to look past tomorrow’s showdown at The Hump.

2. John Calipari will be on the SEC Teleconference

Cal will discuss tomorrow’s matchup and take a few questions on this morning’s SEC Teleconference, so check the site mid-morning for highlights.

3. Joel Justus will preview Mississippi State at 2:45 p.m.

Because Calipari’s doing the SEC call, assistant coach Joel Justus will preview Kentucky’s road trip at 2:45 p.m., along with a few players. We’ll have a live stream on the site and a recap shortly after.

4. Four future Cats were named to the McDonald’s All-American Game

If you missed the news last night, Quade Green, Nick Richards, P.J. Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were chosen for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which will be played March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. In a telling stat, 29 Kentucky players have been chosen for the all-star game in the Calipari Era, the most by far of any program. In fact, this screenshot tells you all you need to know:

Coincidentally, all four of Kentucky’s commits will play on the same team as Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox, which is good because, you know, peer pressure. Speaking of…

5. Bamba will take an official visit to UK this weekend

Mohamed Bamba is the biggest remaining target in the 2017 class and this weekend, he’ll take his official visit to Lexington. The 7-footer already visited for Big Blue Madness and has taken official visits to Michigan and Texas. Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo have been relentless in their pursuit of Bamba, so hopefully having him on campus this weekend can further Kentucky’s case. His 247 Sports Crystal Ball is a 50/50 split between Duke and Kentucky, but on Thursday, Jerry Meyer flipped his pick from the Blue Devils to the Cats, which is a very good sign.

6. Calipari visited Immanuel Quickley yesterday

Because the man is incapable of sitting still, Calipari was on the recruiting trail yesterday, visiting 2018 star Immanuel Quickley. Quickley is currently the only point guard in the 2018 class with a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and visited UK for Big Blue Madness back in October. He’s also got offers from Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, and Virginia.

7. Drake wore a Zion Williamson jersey over the weekend

Zion Williamson is considered one of the best players in the 2018 class and still doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but he does have the endorsement of one of UK’s most famous fans, Drake. Drake was pictured wearing Williamson’s jersey this weekend:

@mikewillmadeit @troubledte6

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Don’t put your middle fingers up like that, kids. It’s not nice.

8. So, landing Lynn Bowden was huge

In case you missed it between all the basketball, Mark Stoops landed a huge recruit on Saturday in four-star athlete Lynn Bowden. Bowden chose the Cats over Penn State and West Virginia, and has been described as the most electric playmaker since Randall Cobb. Keeping Bowden on board will be paramount over the next couple of weeks, and cross your fingers that Ohio State doesn’t come calling.

Am officially 100% committed to the University of Kentucky #BBN stand up

A photo posted by HUNCHO 😎 (@h.huncho_) on

9. How about those Green Bay Packers?

Speaking of Randall Cobb, how about last night’s Packers/Cowboys game?? Green Bay advanced to the NFC Championship in thrilling fashion thanks to a last second 51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. It was awesome:

Bud Dupree and the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship game as well. The Packers take on the Falcons in Atlanta next Sunday. Anyone want to swing through Nashville and pick me up on the way to the game?

10. Today’s the last day to #NBAVOTE

Do you want your favorite former Cats to be NBA All Stars? Then you best get to voting because the polls close today. Here’s how:

  • Go to and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
  • Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
  • Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
  • Do the same thing on Facebook
  • You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.

Radio in an hour…

Comparing the 2014 and 2017 football recruiting classes

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With the addition of Lynn Bowden to the 2017 recruiting class yesterday, Kentucky’s class is now listed in the Top 25 of every major website.

Joe Mussatto of SEC Country compared the 2014 class, the best in program history from Stoops second year at UK, and 2017 class to figure out which one was really the best.

The class of 2014 brought Kentucky six four-star recruits, the top ones being Drew Barker, Matt Elam and Darius West. However, it was several others who contributed the most, according to Mussatto:

“Boom Williams, who declared for the NFL Draft, was the No. 5 prospect in the class and was a 1,000-yard rusher in his junior season. He averaged more than 6.5 yards per carry in his three seasons with the Wildcats and found the end zone 20 times. Kentucky had no more dynamic playmaker than Williams.

Safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Denzil Ware have developed into two of Kentucky’s best defenders. Both were top-10 commitments of the 2014 class. Edwards was second on the team with 100 tackles and intercepted Lamar Jackson twice in the regular-season finale against Louisville. Ware was Kentucky’s fourth-leading tackler and was second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss.”

Overall, the 2014 class was ranked No. 22 and tenth in the SEC by 247Sports and then No. 18 and ninth in the SEC by Rivals.

From the class of 2017 Kentucky has four five-star recruits coming in, the top ones being Lynn Bowden, JaVonte Richardson and Joshua Paschal. Ranked N0. 21 and ninth in the SEC by 247 Sports and No. 17 and eighth in the SEC by Rivals. Time will tell with this class, just as it did with the 2014 class but here’s what Mussatto had to say about it:

Bowden projects as a slot receiver and he will join incoming No. 2 prospect JaVonte Richardson in the pass catching corps. The Cats are loading up on playmakers and 4-star wide receiver prospect Danny Davis (Springfield, Ohio) remains a top target.

Defensive end is another position group that sticks out. Three of the top-8 commits in the class are defensive ends, led by 4-star Joshua Paschal (Olney, Md.). Three-star prospects Alex King (Mason, Ohio) and Jordan Wright (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) are the other two.”

National signing day is just a little more than two weeks away, meaning the staff will be spending the time keeping the recruits they have settled with Kentucky. February 1st will tell the tale of which class is the better.

To read the rest of Joe’s post, click here.

Lynn Bowden Commits to KENTUCKY

Lynn Bowden Commits to KENTUCKY

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Four-star athlete Lynn Bowden announced he will be a Kentucky Wildcat.  The nation’s No. 5 athlete and No. 160 prospect overall chose Kentucky over Penn State and West Virginia.

The Youngstown-native was recruited by a pair of Youngstown’s finest, Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow.  Bowden becomes the 23rd player in the 2017 class.  The highest-ranked player in the class, Kentucky’s Top 25 class should become a Top 20 class, jumping the likes of Florida and Arkansas in the process.

Bowden was this year’s Mr. Ohio runner-up, falling just short to former UK commit Michael Warren.  Still, Bowden’s senior statistics are ridiculous: 2,277 rushing yards, 1,366 passing yards and 57 total touchdowns.  Bowden finished his career with 4,178 rushing yards.  In his four years he broke almost every school record held by Ohio State’s National Championship-winning running back Maurice Clarett.  Watch how he racked up some of those statistics.

Stay tuned for more on what Bowden’s announcement means to Kentucky.

Badet photo by AP, Bowden photo by .

Saturday’s Top 10: A WILD Football Friday, Bowden’s Announcement and a Matchup with Auburn

Badet photo by AP, Bowden photo by .

Badet photo by AP; Bowden photo by R. Michael Semple, Tribune Chronicle.

Normally gamedays begin by discussing the game, but today is different.  Yesterday I woke up to Ryan Lemond’s laugh.  The roster news didn’t end there.  We might even receive more football roster news before the day is done.  Here’s what happened and what could happen before the day is done.

1. Jeff Badet to Graduate, Transfer

Kentucky’s leading wide receiver is leaving the program.  Badet caught 31 passes for 670 yards and 4 touchdowns.  At 21.6 yards per catch, he led the SEC in yards per catch and was sixth in the nation.  What’s most problematic: Kentucky’s two fastest players on the 2016 team, Boom and Badet, left with a year of eligibility remaining.

It stinks, but it makes sense.  Badet was recruited into an Air Raid offense.  He struggled with injuries until his talents were finally validated this year, but in a run-first offense.  Even as Kentucky’s greatest homerun threat, getting 10 caches in a game is improbable.  The most any receiver had in a single game this season was when Badet caught seven passes against Miss. State.

It stinks, but it makes sense, and we wish him the best.

Moving forward, Kentucky has plenty of receivers ready to fill his spot.  Tavin Richardson, Jabari Greenwood and Kayaune Ross have adequate experience on the outside, and Garrett Johnson can be a speedy deep ball threat (just ask UofL).  Also, the highest-ranked recruit in the 2017 class, Javonte Richardson, plays his position.

2. UK Announces Seven Mid-Year Signees

Fifteen minutes after breaking the Badet news, Kentucky announced the addition of seven early enrollees: QBs Danny Clark and Walker Wood, WR Clevan Thomas, RB Bryant Koback, OLB Jamin Davis, and DBs Cedrick Dort and Lonnie Johnson.  Of the seven, JUCO safety Lonnie Johnson is the only one guaranteed to play immediately, filling the holes left by Blake McClain and J.D. Harmon.

Jamin Davis is Freddie’ favorite, but mine is Bryant Koback.  Koback’s play is reminiscent of Benny Snell’s.  He doesn’t run over people like Snell, but he plays with a low pad level, carrying his momentum forward whenever he’s hit.

Koback could have attained some HUGE offers, but was injured in just the fifth game of the season.  Prior to the injury, Koback rushed for 1,096 yards on 93 carries (11.78 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns in just four games (more than 5 scores per game).  His highlights are not too shabby.

You can see highlights from of all seven early enrollees here.

3. Lynn Bowden Announcement

Before the craziness of yesterday, I planned on leading off with Bowden’s announcement.  Even with a home basketball game, the potential addition of Bowden is the biggest news of the day.  He’s that good.

I’ve ranted and raved about Bowden before, but you can’t say enough about Youngstown’s finest.  The No. 5 athlete in the nation is a program-changing player.  Just like Boom Williams, Bowden has the potential to bust open a big play on any given snap.  Bowden is set to choose between Penn State, West Virginia and the Cats.  If Ohio State stays away, Bowden will be in blue next fall.

Bowden said he’ll announce “around 1:45ish.”  Don’t wait around on your computer for the announcement like last Saturday.  Just download the KSR app (Google Play and iTunes), turn your notifications on and I’ll let the sound of Ryan Lemond’s laughter bring you joyful news.

4. Bruce Pearl Returns to Rupp

The former head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers is in his third season at Auburn.  This year the Tigers are 11-5, but I’m more focused on the coach than the players.  Pearl has a 2-7 record against John Calipari.  He’s never won at Rupp Arena, but the Tigers enter with a one-game winning streak over the Cats after last year’s win at Auburn Arena.

Even though he’s been a Tiger for three years now, this is still the first thing that comes to mind every time I hear Pearl’s name.

Getty Image

Getty Image

5. Quick-Hitters on Today’s Game

  • It tips-off at 4:00 on ESPN with Tom Hart, Kaylee Hartung and Kara Lawson Barling on the call.
  • The KSR Pregame Show begins at 1:30 on 630 WLAP.
  • Auburn is led by Mustapha Heron, a fourth team preseason All-SEC selection. Heron averages 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
  • Auburn has two signature wins. They beat Oklahoma by four and defeated UConn by three in overtime.

More on the Tigers later today.

6. Go Behind-the-Scenes for Today’s Game

Drew Franklin is busting out the Snapchat machine to take you behind-the-scenes for today’s game at Rupp Arena.  From watching warm-ups on the floor to the City BBQ nachos, Drew will show you what it’s like to cover a Kentucky basketball game for KSR.  Take a pic of the pic below or add him at drew_franklin.

7. Watch Bamba Play Ayton After UK

After you watch your Kentucky Wildcats, grab a meal, then head back to your TV to see the two best post players in the country face off at 8:00 on ESPN.  DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 player in the nation, is committed to Arizona.  Mohamed Bamba, the No. 3 player in America, first entered Cal’s radar after dominating Ayton in the first event of this year’s EYBL.  The 247 Composite gives UK and Duke a 50/50 shot at landing Bamba.

The Cats are also recruiting Bamba’s teammate, Cameron Reddish.  The No. 4 player in the 2018 class, John Calipari watched the Westtown teammates play on Wednesday.

8. Today’s Sports Schedule

With the NFL Playoffs beginning at 4:35, it’s a front-loaded college basketball schedule.

  • Noon: Trippers vs. Strippers on ESPN
  • Noon: UGA at No. 23 Florida on ESPN2
  • Noon: UConn at Georgetown on Fox
  • 2:00: No. 9 Florida State at No. 11 North Carolina on ESPN
  • 2:00: Oklahoma State at No. Kansas on ESPN2
  • 2:00: No. 15 Xavier at No. 12 Butler on FS1
  • 4:00: No. 10 West Virginia at Texas on ESPN2
  • 4:30: No. 1 Baylor at No. 25 Kansas State on ESPNU
  • 4:35: Seahawks at Falcons on Fox
  • 8:15: Texas an Patriots on CBS
  • 10:00: No. 21 St. Mary’s at No. 5 Gonzaga on ESPN2

9. You Need to start Watching Taboo

This week FX debuted Tom Hardy’s new show Taboo.  I will not geek, but let’s just say I’m glad I used my DVR.

Without providing spoilers, I’ll set the scene.  It’s London in 1814.  Many thought Hardy’s character was dead, but he returns from Africa for his father’s funeral.  His inheritance causes a split between Hardy and the East India Company.  Hardy’s badassery and the wonderfully created setting will make this show one of the best this year.  Hurry up and start it before you get too far behind.

10. Ali’s 75th Birthday Celebration Begins Today

Muhammad Ali would have turned 75 this upcoming Tuesday.  The Center bearing his name will host a four-day celebration beginning today.  There will be a service project with Ali Center staffers, a new Ali Art Tribute exhibit and free film screenings in the auditorium.  Today’s lineup features a documentary I’m ashamed I’ve yet to see, When We Were Kings. Ali Bomaye!

10:00 a.m.: Ali Rap
11:00 a.m.: When We Were Kings
1:00 p.m.: The Trials of Muhammad Ali
3:00 p.m.: Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World

Unfortunately, it will not be as star-studded as his 50th birthday celebration.


Friday’s Top 10: Calipari & Ellen go recruiting, latest on Lynn Bowden & Alex Poythress scores 35

Friday’s Top 10: Calipari & Ellen go recruiting, latest on Lynn Bowden & Alex Poythress scores 35


Greetings, everyone, and happy Friday the 13th. If you believe in such things, I advise avoiding black cats, ladders, and opening umbrellas inside. According to the ever reliable internet, 17 million people suffer from “friggatriskaidekaphobics,” aka fear of Friday the 13th, which is an actual thing, I swear. If you’re one of them, we’re here for you. Just check out how happy our fans of the day look. They’re reppin’ the Cats atop a glacier in the New Zealand Southern Alps. Not bad, guys. Hope you enjoyed the helicopter tour.

Here’s what’s on today’s agenda…

1. John Calipari will preview Auburn

Fresh off the recruiting trail (more on that in a minute), John Calipari will meet with reporters at the Joe Craft Center this afternoon to preview tomorrow’s game vs. Auburn. Check the site around 2 p.m. for a live stream of his and select players’ comments, and shortly after for a full recap.

2. Yesterday, Calipari went recruiting

Cal went to the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Missouri to check in on UK signee PJ Washington and the top players in both the 2018 and 2019 classes, forward Marvin Bagley and wing RJ Barrett. The visit wrapped up a busy week of recruiting for Cal, who checked in on future UK point guard Quade Green on Wednesday, along with 2017 target Mohamed Bamba and 2018 star Cameron Reddish. That visit with Bamba must have gone well, because recruiting guru flipped his pick for Bamba from Duke to Kentucky, noting that Bamba’s friendship with Quade Green and the rest of UK’s 2017 class has put the Cats in a very good position.

3. Ellen went recruiting, too!



Can we talk about how much fun Ellen’s having this season? Not only is she in the stands to see Brad play every game, she’s even going on recruiting trips, which was unheard of in years past. Calipari joked on his podcast (for which Ellen helps him read ads) that before this year, Ellen was “Mrs. No” and now, she’s “Mrs. Yes.” The Caliparis even brought Ellen’s parents (pictured with them above) with them on this trip to Missouri.

You go, Ellen. Cute boots, too.

4. A quick glance at what Auburn’s been up to this season:

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Auburn started its SEC slate with a three-game losing streak before getting back on track with a five-point win over Missouri, although anyone who’s seen Missouri play this year will tell you that’s not much.

5. How much will UK be favored by?

Despite Bruce Pearl’s best efforts, Auburn is not good, so I’m going with a lot. As in 17+. After a hard-fought win over Vanderbilt in which the Cats never really looked in sync, I’ll think they’ll come out on fire and cover, maybe even double up if Malik Monk’s hot. Sorry, Bruce.

6. Lynn Bowden announces tomorrow

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Plenty of football recruiting to go along with basketball as we inch closer to Signing Day. Tomorrow, four-star athlete Lynn Bowden will announce his decision and all signs point to Kentucky. Yesterday, Freddie Maggard said Bowden is the most Randall Cobb-like prospect he’s evaluated since Randall Cobb, which is high, high praise. A source close to Bowden told me that Saturday should be huge for the Cats, barring a late offer from Ohio State. Stay away, Urban Meyer!

7. UK Hoops got a win last night

The ladies easily knocked off Alabama 71-54 in Tuscaloosa, thanks in part to a big night from Evelyn Akhator, who had a career-high 29 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. It was a much-needed win for Matthew Mitchell’s squad, who dropped out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since February 2010 on Monday. They’ll return to action on Sunday when they host Georgia at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff’s at 3 p.m. ET and the game will be televised live on the SEC Network.

8. Alex Poythress scored 35 last night

Poythress continues to do good things in the D-League, and last night, scored 35 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Check out his first-half highlights below:

9. Have you voted for your NBA Cats today?

If not, stop what you’re doing and get to it. Fan participation make up 50% of the vote this year. Here’s how:

  • Go to and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
  • Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
  • Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
  • Do the same thing on Facebook
  • You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.

10. KSR is live at Comedy off Broadway this morning

Matt and Ryan will hang out with The League‘s Steve Rannazzisi this morning and it’s open to the public, so start your weekend early and get down there. You’ve got one hour.

How Good is Lynn Bowden? Really, Really, Really Damn Good

How Good is Lynn Bowden? Really, Really, Really Damn Good


For those who follow football recruiting, you know how good Lynn Bowden is.  You also know how big of a deal it is that he’s announcing Saturday instead of January 25.  For those that don’t know anything about the 4-star athlete from Youngstown, this post’s for you.

4-Star Athlete

That short description doesn’t do him justice.  He was the runner-up for Mr. Football in Ohio, no small task.  Bowden is the No. 5 athlete in America.  Kentucky has pulled in a few guys that are top five at their position, but they are usually linemen or linebackers.  They are never guys who can make all 11 defenders miss in a single play.

Bowden will draw comparisons from many people, but you just have to see him play for yourself.  He does things on the football field you will not believe.

Normally you save the word “ankle-breaker” or “human highlight” for basketball players, but Bowden fits the mold.  He also messes around on the basketball court a bit.  He dropped 30 during this game:


Often times Jordan Jones was described as the “heart and soul” of the Kentucky football team.  That statement encapsulates Jones’ infectious energy, but it doesn’t reflect his craziness.  I use the word “crazy” in the most endearing way possible.  The dude simply has a few screws loose and that’s what makes him the most dangerous man in a Kentucky uniform.  He is the last person you’d ever, EVER want to get in a fight with.

Bowden is second on that list.

Youngstown has a reputation and these guys fit the mold.  You cannot learn one’s mentality from a highlight strip.  I learned it when I saw Bowden at the UK-Georgia game.  Seven years older, five inches taller and 50 pounds heavier, I cowered in Bowden’s presence.  It’s an intangible that’s difficult to describe, but you gotta know that dude is a dog.

A Change of Plans

Bowden originally planned to hold out on making a college decision until January 25, a week before National Signing Day.  With a pair of Youngstown guys recruiting him — Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops — the Cats have been long-time favorites, but the longer the wait, the worse for Kentucky’s chances.

Penn State, Michigan, West Virginia and Michigan State have always been in the mix.  The kicker, as is for all elite Ohio athletes, has always been Ohio State.  Bowden delayed his decision with the hopes that an Ohio State offer might come.  It appears that he’s either given up hope or quit caring about the Buckeyes.

Bowden’s change of plans puts Kentucky in the driver’s seat.  Even so, Bowden didn’t announce a time for his decision, fueling Saturday with drama until the news breaks.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 10.13.08 PM

If Bowden selects Kentucky, the Cats will receive an athlete we aren’t used to seeing.

Randall Cobb comparisons will ring throughout the Commonwealth.  It’s not unfair, but I don’t see Bowden being used in the same way.  My mind drifts more to Florida’s Percy Harvin.  Simply get him the ball in space, by whatever means necessary.  Bowden will definitely receive carries in the Wildcat, he might receive them as a typical running back, but I see his skills best utilized a scat back or a slot receiver.  Regardless of where he plays, Bowden will be electric.

National Signing Day is already on pace to be a spectacular day for the program.  If Bowden selects Kentucky on Saturday, start playing Waka Flaka now and don’t stop until February 1.


Vince Marrow visits two future Cats


Photo via Jeff Drummond

Photo via Jeff Drummond

Vince Marrow is well known as UK’s best recruiter, and he’s out on the recruiting trails again today. He visited two future Cats from the class of 2017 from Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. One weird thing about football recruiting is how often players flip their commitments, and visits like these will ensure that UK’s 2017 class stays intact.

Joshua Paschal is rated as the 5th best player in the state of Maryland and a four star defensive end by Rivals. His current and future teammate Naasir Watkins is given 3 stars and ranked as the 23rd best player in the state of Maryland.

Watkins tweeted about Marrow’s visit, which hopefully means all is strong on both players’ commitments.

Knowing Coach Marrow, he’ll be out on the recruiting trail again tomorrow looking to add to our already strong classes.


I’m Back! Let’s Catch Up

The fine folks at Kentucky Sports Radio Headquarters graciously allowed me to take a week off to recharge my batteries and to get a head start on research for National Signing Day. Both went well. Batteries and full charge. NSD notes now number over 4,000 words.

Let’s catch up:

Four-star athlete Lynn Bowden moved his decision date from January 25th to this Saturday the 14th. Most, if not all indicators favor Kentucky.

I find it unfair to place an overabundance of expectation on incoming freshman.  However, the more film I watch the more enamored I become. Bowden is the most Randall Cobb-like prospect that I’ve evaluated since Randall Cobb. To add even another level of expectation; Bowden also possesses Lamar Jackson-type elusiveness and open field fluidity.

His commitment and eventual signature could add an all new dimension to Eddie Gran’s Wildcat package and overall offensive approach. Huge, huge announcement. Stay tuned.

In a strange way Kentucky’s Class of 2017 has a large dose of Jordan Jones influence. Let me explain. The Edge prospects (Paschal, King, Whittaker, and Wright) in this class are downright nasty. Same can be said with offensive linemen, linebacker, receivers, and secondary. We’ll discuss each signee in depth on a later occasion but I really, really like outside linebacker Jamin Davis.

Just as 2014 is known as the class with the most stars, this class could eventually be remembered as the most aggressive, fastest, and athletic of the Stoops’ era.

The Wildcat coaching staff resumed full recruiting operations on Thursday as the NCAA mandated dead period came to an end. Flights and rental cars are now being occupied in order to maintain its current list of pledges. In addition to nurturing those already on the list, Vince Marrow and crew will be selling recent success to a small number of prospects in order to flip their loyalties to Kentucky. 

Stay tuned.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics Photo

Benny Snell garnered more honors as he was recently named Freshman All-American according to the Football Writers Association of America. Snell’s rookie season will now be the standard of which all Kentucky running backs are compared to going forward.

Clemson won the National Championship by defeating the unbeatable Alabama Crimson Tide. Just for fun; let’s apply Clemson’s strategy, personnel, and methodology to Kentucky as ten short years ago the programs were virtually even in terms of significance and status:

— As much as defense is mentioned as being the most important phase in college football; Clemson showed that having the better and most experienced quarterback in a game can trump defensive prowess. Watson is/was special.

Stephen Johnson has to advance his strength, development, and pocket mechanics over the course of a full offseason.

Darin Hinshaw also has to identify two additional game-ready quarterbacks. UK coaches rave about Gunnar Hoak. Questions of Drew Barker’s health status may linger. Johnson showed flashes of upper-shelf, SEC quarterback play in 2016. Consistency, purpose, and depth are questions going into spring practice. 

— QB play is extremely vital, but it all starts and finishes up front. Dabo’s done an incredible job identifying, signing, and developing linemen on both sides of the football. UK’s offensive line executed at an unprecedented level in 2016. It has to continue that upward trajectory in spring practice. Even with returning 4/5 starters; positional competition will be heated. Finding Jon Toth’s replacement will be a priority.

Jimmy Brumbaugh’s defensive line will again be under the microscope. Depth should be enhanced with Kordell Looney and JaQuize Cross coming off redshirt. True freshman TJ Carter impressed in the Taxslayer Bowl.

Depth and effectiveness at NT as well as developing a starting defensive end concern.

— A one dimensional team will normally struggle to win. Alabama finished the game 2/15 on 3rd down and lost the Time of Possession game by nearly 6 minutes mainly due to Jalen Hurt’s inability to complete a downfield pass. Clemson could then focus on stopping the run and it did so in a violent and physical manner. Offensive balance is crucial.

When Kentucky struggled offensively in 2016 it did so mainly because of its inability to execute a balanced game plan. Play action passing and achieving an optimal run/pass ratio will need to be accomplished in spring practice.

National Signing Day is rapidly approaching. Let’s stay in touch.

Four Late Night Notes for the UK Fans of the Day

Four Late Night Notes for the UK Fans of the Day


—  Tip-off has been set for Kentucky-South Carolina.  UK’s biggest game in Rupp Arena before Kansas comes to town is a matchup with Frank Martin’s 13-3 Gamecocks.  The game will get premier treatment, airing at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.

—  Two Make Wooden Midseason Watch List.  The nation’s two top National Player of the Year awards are named after John Wooden and James Naismith.  Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox are still in the hunt for Mr. Wooden’s award, two of the 25 finalists on the midseason watch list.  The only other schools with multiple players on the list are Kansas, UCLA, North Carolina and Wisconsin.  See the full list here.

—  Quade Green balled out in front of Coach Cal.  After struggling to find his shot on Saturday, Kentucky’s next point guard brought his A-game when Coach Cal and Tony Barbee came to town.  Green flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, 13 assists and 7 rebounds.



The four-star athlete from Youngstown originally planned to decide on January 25, but tonight he announced on Twitter that he’s shut down his recruitment and will make his announcement this Saturday.  The Cats are the 74% favorite over Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State, according to the 247 Crystal Ball.  Ohio’s Mr. Football Runner-Up told Rivals he’s down to Kentucky, Penn State and West Virginia.

If Bowden chooses Kentucky, he’ll be the highest-ranked recruit in the class, likely the highest-ranked recruit in the Stoops Era.  If you couldn’t tell by the flashing red lights and the large font, this is a big damn deal.


Look who Retweeted Mr. Bowden.

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If that isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is.

Monday’s Top 10: National Championship, late night Yahtzee, getting ready for Vandy

Monday’s Top 10: National Championship, late night Yahtzee, getting ready for Vandy


Greetings, friends, and welcome to National Championship Monday. Tonight at 8 p.m., Alabama will take on Clemson in its quest for its second straight national championship, 17th overall. Theirs has been called the best defense in the history of college football, but how will it stand up to Deshaun Watson and a Clemson team that hung 31 on Ohio State? I’m guessing pretty well. The more interesting question is how Alabama’s offense will fare after Nick Sabana unceremoniously kicked Lane Kiffin out the door a few weeks early. Jalen Hurts admitted to not even knowing who new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was at the midpoint of the season; will the Alabama offense be comfortable enough with Sarkisian to roll over Clemson? (Puns!) We’ll find out tonight.

If you want to savor every last second of coverage, turn on ESPN. In addition to an entire’s day worth of build up, tonight they’ll have a “Coaches Film Room” in which various college coaches break down the game live on ESPN News; a “Homers Telecast” on ESPN2; and “ESPN Voices” on ESPNU featuring Bill Walton and Keyshawn Johnson, which you know will be entertaining. Paul Finebaum and crew will also do their own version of a film room on SEC Network; if all that’s too much and you just want to listen to the sounds of the game, no commentary, you can do that too on ESPN Classic and ESPN3.

Meanwhile, here’s what we’ll be doing around here.

1. John Calipari and select players will preview the Vanderbilt game

For some reason, the weekly SEC Coaches Teleconference is taking a week off, so John Calipari and select players will address the media this afternoon. Check the site around 2:30 p.m. for a live stream and afterwards for a full recap.

2. ICYMI, Calipari was in Pittsburgh yesterday because “YOLO”

That’s a lot of acronyms for one sentence, but instead of sitting on his butt or doing chores on a Sunday like the rest of us, Calipari embraced the “You Only Live Once” mantra and went to see the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wildcard game. If the fact that he feels comfortable enough to leave town for a few hours in the middle of the season to watch football isn’t indication enough to you he likes his team, this tweet should be:

Of course, the Calipari girls were mortified:


Calipari took the team out to dinner upon his return, presumably at Malone’s, Texas Roadhouse, or Red Lobster. (Remember Red Lobster?)

3. Tickets still available for tomorrow night’s game

Either Vandy fans are really dreading tomorrow’s game or the fact that it’s on a Tuesday is preventing a lot of UK fans from making the trip, because there are still seats available through Ticketmaster. They’re all in the end zones, of course, but there are still lowers up for grabs. Watching the BBN infiltrate that weird ass gym is one of my favorite things ever, so if you make the trek, I’ll see you there. For those asking, I haven’t heard of an official UK Alumni Association pregame gathering, but the new meet up spot now that Corner Pub is closed is Double Dogs in Hillsboro Village.

4. What will the line be?

Kentucky has won its three SEC games by an average of 30.3 points — well over the spread in each — but will Vegas factor in the impact that weird ass gym could have on a young squad? Vandy’s 8-7 so far this season, 2-1 in SEC play, coming off a narrow 3-point loss at Alabama.

I still think Kentucky opens up as a heavy favorite.

5. One last look at Arkansas before we move on

Between skirmishes and De’Aaron Fox turning into a superhero, Saturday night’s second half was arguably the most entertaining of the season. If you’re like me and not quite ready to move on yet, here’s one last look at the big win courtesy of our friends at KyWildcatsTV:

6. Where will Kentucky end up in the polls?

The Cats are still #1 in the KenPom ratings, but where will the AP voters and coaches rank them? They’re currently sixth in both polls. Baylor’s expected to rise to #1 after Villanova lost to Butler. Will Kentucky crack the top five after two huge wins? (I think so.)

7. When will Hamidou Diallo arrive on campus?



Class starts Wednesday, so that’s the million dollar question. If you’ve been off the grid since Friday, the nation’s number one shooting guard picked Kentucky over Arizona and UConn Saturday evening, making for quite a nice lead-in to the Arkansas game. He’ll join the team this week, and, presumably sit out this semester to practice with the team and develop for the 2017/2018 season; however, Diallo did an interview after his commitment in which he suggested that wasn’t set in stone. Regardless, get ready to hear, “Why don’t they play Diallo” in every radio show from now until April.

8. Hey, we got a football commitment last night

Late last night, 2018 defensive back Javaris Rolle committed to Kentucky. He’s the cousin of Pro-Bowl safety Antrel Rolle, one of Stoops’ former players from his time at Miami (2001-2003). The younger Rolle has a great frame, great instincts, and speed, so cheers to getting him on board early:

9. Did you see Randall Cobb’s hat trick yesterday??

Cobb missed the last two games with injury but returned in resounding fashion yesterday, catching three touchdowns in Green Bay’s win over the Giants. To put Cobb’s big day in perspective, he had five catches (for 116 yards) and three of those were touchdowns. The most impressive was this Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgeres at the end of the first half:

The Packers play the Cowboys Sunday afternoon and THEY GONNA WIN. Right, Randall??

10. Daily reminder to vote for your favorite NBA Cats to become All-Stars

This year, fan voting accounts for 50% of the NBA All-Star results, and the first returns were, well, not as good as they could be. Vote for John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl Towns, and all of your favorite NBA Cats to become All-Stars via the following methods:

  • Go to and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
  • Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
  • Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
  • Do the same thing on Facebook
  • You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.

Radio in an hour as we get ready for Vandy…

Saturday’s Top 10: Monk vs. Arkansas and Hamidou Diallo

Saturday’s Top 10: Monk vs. Arkansas and Hamidou Diallo

Via USA Basketball and Getty Images.

Via USA Basketball and Getty Images.

It’s a busy day in the Bluegrass, but you’ll have to wait awhile for the action.  The nation’s No. 1 shooting guard Hamidou Diallo will (hopefully) choose Kentucky over five others this after noon at 5:00.  Later on the SEC Network at 8:30, Kentucky tips off against Arkansas, the school spurned by Malik Monk.  There’s plenty to talk about so let’s not waste any time.

Last Minute Scoop on Diallo

There is none.  The general consensus remained the same overnight: Kentucky is the favorite for Diallo who’s expected to enroll for the spring semester.  Since there’s no news to share, I’ll share my two-sense three-sense on Diallo’s game for the final time.

1. For a shooting guard, he doesn’t shoot well.  Think Archie Goodwin, but better.  The first time I watched him play, I dogged his shot nonstop, until he shut me up with a game-tying fadeaway three at the buzzer to force overtime.  He dominated overtime and his team won at the Peach Jam. Diallo is a dog.

2. Diallo dunks like Monk.  The explosion and ferocity are strangely similar.  If Diallo indeed comes early, I’d love to see the two take part in a dunk contest.

3. New York, New York.  New York natives do not mess around, and Diallo is no exception.

If Diallo joins the team midyear it will not be unprecedented, just ask Tai Wynyard.  However, there’s no denying this recruiting process is stranger than what we’re used to.  Come back around 4:45 for all the coverage you need from Diallo’s commitment.

How Will Monk Handle his Home State School

He’s going to shoot it, shoot it some more, and never stop until the final horn sounds.  “Feast or famine” is one way to put it.  Coach Cal is trying to keep him calm between the ears.

“When he gets too hyped he’s not at his best,” Calipari said yesterday.  “I thought when he gets too hyped he doesn’t shoot it as well, mind starts racing a little bit. He’s not, you know, the calm, athletic, attack player he needs to be when he’s at his best. He and I will talk about it before the game, but right now it hasn’t been discussed.”

When Calipari players take on teams with hometown ties, it usually goes pretty well.  You’ll see what I’m talking about in a post later today.

Arkansas and UK have the Same Record

Each team enters the game 12-2, but the Razorbacks’ competition has not been close to the caliber of Kentucky’s.  Arkansas’ signature win was a 3-point victory over the under-achieving Texas Longhorns in Houston, although they did something Indiana couldn’t do: beat Ft. Wayne.  Arkansas lost their SEC opener against Florida and received a thorough 14-point beatdown at Minnesota.

The Last SEC Loss at Rupp was to Arkansas

The Cats have won 20 consecutive SEC games at Rupp Arena since falling to the Razorbacks in overtime 71-67 back in 2014.  In UK’s last eight meetings with the Razorbacks, the series is split.

By the Numbers

Kudos to Arkansas’ graphic department for this one.


Early Enrollees Arrive to Campus

Over the next two days, high school seniors will not return for one final semester of  high school.  Instead, they’ll enroll at Kentucky and begin their SEC football careers.  Experiencing spring practice is an advantage that propelled many to early playing time, most notably Kash Daniel from ’16.  By the end of the week we’ll have an exact list; here’s a rough draft/guesstimation:

  • Linebacker Jamin Davis
  • Cornerback Cedrick Dort
  • Running back Bryant Koback
  • Wide receiver Clevan Thomas
  • Quarterback Danny Clark (maybe Walker Wood too)
  • JUCO safety Lonnie Johnson
  • JUCO defensive tackle Phil Hoskins

Bowden can (Basket)ball

Lynn Bowden is my favorite uncommitted Kentucky football prospect.  The 4-star Youngstown athlete is a freak on the football field, pulling off stuff you thought was only possible in video games.  Turns out, he’s pretty good at basketball too.  A few highlights from a 30-point performance:

Have you downloaded the KSR app?

If you’re still waiting, you’re missing out, quite literally.  Last night we gave away a free pair of tickets to tonight’s game on the app.  Don’t let another opportunity go by, get it on iTunes or Google Play now.

Atlanta’s Channel 2 Severe Weather Team Keeps it 💯

That’s not an attempt to use hip lingo.  💯 is the approximate number of reporters on the street covering two inches of snow.

h/t to John Boel

h/t to John Boel

But wait, THERE’S MORE!

h/t Darren

h/t Darren “D-money” Rovell

Today’s Sports Schedule

  • Noon: No. 18 Butler at Georgetown on Fox
  • 1:00: TCU at No. 7 West Virginia on ESPNU
  • 1:30: Texas A&M at South Carolina on CBS
  • 2:00: No. 21 Virginia Tech at No. 12 Florida State on ESPN
  • 3:15: Maryland at Michigan on ESPN2
  • 5:00: Illinois at No. 25 Indiana on ESPNU
  • 5:15: Tennessee at No. 24 Florida on ESPN2
  • 8:00: NC State at No. 14 North Carolina on ESPN

Check out the complete hoops schedule here.  After basketball, we get a special treat:


There’s a bad one at 4:35 on ESPN when the Raiders travel to take on the Texans.  Just before the UK game tips off, the Lions kickoff in Seattle against the Seahawks on NBC.