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Florida Cornerback Commits to Kentucky

The Cats’ newest commit, Michael Nesbitt (#7) via the Miami Herald.

3-star Ft. Lauderdale cornerback Michael Nesbitt has committed to Kentucky.

Standing 6’1″ tall, the lengthy 2017 athlete boasts 4.4 speed and is considered a Top 75 cornerback in his class.  He chose the Cats over LSU, Auburn, UCF, Louisville, South Carolina, Arkansas, Pitt, Maryland and West Virginia.  He announced his decision via Twitter.

@97_balla

Take a look at the junior year highlights of the Cats’ 13th commit in the 2017 class.


Scoop Lemond says Jedrick Wills to Bama

jedrick-wills

We don’t call him “Scoop Lemond” for nothing, folks. While five-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills told other reporters he wasn’t going to make his college announcement tonight, our own Ryan Lemond tweeted this cryptic hint that all but assures the Lafayette star is headed to Alabama:

This news isn’t surprising; Kentucky was in the hunt for Wills until a month or so ago, but Alabama did as Alabama does and pulled ahead as the heavy favorite. It’s not over until it’s over, but, well, it looks like it’s over.

Best of luck to you, Jedrick. Make us proud.


Get ready for Jedrick Wills to break your heart this week

Get ready for Jedrick Wills to break your heart this week

jedrick-wills

Jedrick Wills is expected to announce his college decision by week’s end and it’s not going to be good news for Big Blue Nation.

The Lafayette product, a five-star offensive tackle, is considering Kentucky and Alabama, and all signs point to the Crimson Tide being the pick. I’d bet my August Taco Bell allowance on it.

Mark Stoops and the Kentucky coaching staff have been all over Wills for a long time, in hopes he will follow Landon Young’s path from the Generals to the Wildcats. However, Wills will look to make his own path (or follow Damien Harris’) by leaving the state to join the best program in college football, a decision fans can’t fault him for making.

Wills opens his senior season of high school Friday night against Paul Laurence Dunbar in a neutral site, non-conference game in Scott County.

Remember, a fall decision means very little in college football recruiting and Kentucky will still pursue him throughout his senior year until that paperwork is signed next February.


The Lion Guy’s Monday Morning Wakeup

The Lion Guy’s Monday Morning Wakeup

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 8.23.54 PM

Between a bachelorette party and plenty of Olympics, I found time this weekend to watch a few more episodes of Netflix’s latest hit, “Last Chance U.” Like many of you, I’m a huge fan of the docu-series about the East Mississippi Community College football program — of which Za’Darius Smith is an alum — and while most will bring up Brittany Wagner, the academic advisor, Buddy Stephens, the intense head coach, or lovable Ollie as their favorite characters, I’m here to honor another: Richie Wallace, aka the “Lion Guy.” Wallace is a huge EMCC football fan, and one day, started growling like a lion — the team’s mascot — during games and it became a thing:

East Mississippi’s won three national championships in the past five years, so maybe Wallace is on to something. Does anyone want to volunteer to be Kentucky’s “Wildcat Guy”? I bet Chester is up to the task.

Let’s channel the Lion Guy’s energy as we head into another week, shall we?

ICYMI, Darius West is out for the season

The biggest news from the weekend is that sophomore safety Darius West is out for the season with a patellar tendon injury. West was the projected started at free safety along with Mike Edwards, and losing him is a huge blow, especially on the heels of the news that defensive tackle Regie Meant may miss the season for personal reasons. Right now, Blake McClain and Marcus McWilson are battling for West’s spot, with McClain considered the forerunner. In other injury news, Mark Stoops said running back Mikel Horton suffered a “pretty significant” ankle injury and wide receiver Blake Bone is nursing a hamstring injury.

Programs across the country are experiencing similar attrition, but the news about West wasn’t what anyone wanted to hear this weekend. In more encouraging news…

Drew Barker was apparently great in Saturday’s scrimmage

Both Stoops and Eddie Gran praised Barker’s play in the team’s first scrimmage Saturday, backing up all the good things we’ve been hearing about him so far in camp. Gran said Barker was firing on all cylinders, converting consistently on 3rd down and finding open targets. I’ll admit I’ve been skeptical about Barker, but after one week of camp, all reports have been positive. Even better, receivers are apparently catching balls and hanging on to them, a concept so simple yet so daunting for UK’s receiving corps the past few years.

For more on Saturday’s scrimmage, check out Nick Roush’s recap of the coaches’ remarks. Mark Stoops and the defense will address reporters after today’s practice, so check back around lunch for a recap.

Jedrick Wills expected to announce his decision this week

The five-star offensive tackle from Lafayette is likely to announce his college decision before his senior season starts on Friday, and unfortunately, all signs point to Alabama. Kentucky looked to be in a good spot with Wills, teammate of UK commit Walker Wood and former teammate of UK freshman Landon Young, but in recent weeks, Alabama pulled ahead, with many whispering that Wills has already given the Crimson Tide a silent commitment. Anything can happen, but for now, brace yourself for another highly touted Kentucky kid to go to Tuscaloosa.

Usain Bolt is incredible

I think just about everyone watched Bolt cruise in the 100m final last night, or at least shared this amazing picture by Getty. For about three seconds, it appeared that American Justin Gatlin might have a chance to beat Bolt, but then the Jamaican legend kicked it into high gear and flew past the competition with amazing ease, even turning his head to deliver a grin for the cameras.

(UPDATE: This pic of Bolt was actually from the semifinals. Regardless, he is still very, very fast.)

Here are the highlights of today’s Olympic schedule:

KSR is in Lexington

But where? We’ll find out in an hour.


Former 4-star UK commit James Hudson picks Michigan

Former 4-star UK commit James Hudson picks Michigan

James Hudson

Some more disappointing, although not very surprising, news on the football front: former four-star UK commit James Hudson committed to Michigan a few minutes ago:

Hudson is considered the seventh best strong-side defensive end in the 2017 class and committed to UK back in April, but decommitted a month later after picking up offers from Alabama and Miami, along with interest from Michigan and Michigan State. Three days later, he got an offer from Michigan, and now, he’s pledged to become a Wolverine.

Best of luck to you, James.


Former UK Commit to Decide on Monday

The Blade | Jeremy Wadsworth

4-star defensive end James Huson said he will announce his college decision on Monday.  The Toldeo native committed to Kentucky on July 28, 2015.  Upon picking up some high-profile scholarship offers, Hudson decommitted on May 18 to explore his options.

Hudson’s Top 10 list is filled with prestigious programs.  Along with Kentucky, Hudson is also considering Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Penn State, Nebraska, Miami, Pitt and Louisville.


A 4-Star Wide Receiver was one of many Esteemed Guests at Today’s Open Practice

After spending time with Vince Marrow, Danny Davis (in yellow) greets D.J. Eliot, via @DTerryRivals.

Springfield, Ohio native Danny Davis was on campus today to watch the Cats’ second practice of the season.  The 4-star wide receiver is one of the best of the best, ranked as high as the 15th-best receiver in the 2017 class by Rivals.

Davis has visited Lexington multiple times, making the Cats the perceived favorite.  They’ll have to fight off Michigan State, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State and his most recent offer, Oregon.  Check out his highlights:

Stoops invited some potential future Wildcats, but even more former Wildcats; more than 125.  From recent graduates Zach West and Max Godby, to one of Bear’s best, Harry Rogers of Frankfort.  Rogers played in the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl, the 1949 Orange Bowl and the 1950 Sugar Bowl.

The contingency of former players that made it to this morning's practice.

The contingency of former players that made it to this morning’s practice.


The Wooks’ Wednesday Morning Wakeup

While I am not a big fan of country music, I do love bluegrass, so when I received a tip yesterday about a Kentucky bluegrass band making some noise on a national level, my ears perked. You’re looking at The Wooks, an up-and-coming group from Lexington, and this past weekend, they won first place at the prestigious 44th annual RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival in Lyons, Colorado. The band is comprised of CJ Cain (guitar), Galen Green (mandolin), Arthur Hancock (banjo), Roddy Puckett (bass), and Jesse Wells (fiddle), and not only did they win the overall competition, Green and Wells received runner-up honors in the mandolin and fiddle categories. I’m not well-versed on my folk music festival competitions, but this is apparently a huge honor; definitely one worthy of a morning wakeup post dedication. Congrats, guys.

The Wooks describe their sound as a mix of traditional bluegrass and mountain music, with threads of singer-songwriters, rock, and jam bands woven through. To learn more about them, check out their website and Instagram page, which includes a shot of this awesome shirt which I need to own:

The most wonderful time of the year.

A photo posted by The Wooks (@wookoutamerica) on

Hit play on this video and let the sounds of The Wooks take you through today’s agenda:

(Someone complaining about the Bernie shirt in 3…2…1…)

ICYMI, Mark Stoops got a commitment yesterday

Cedrick Dort, a 6’1″ cornerback from South Florida, committed to Kentucky yesterday over Cincinnati, Iowa State, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Wisconsin. The 6’1″ Dort is considered a three-star by 247 Sports and a two-star by Rivals. He’s Stoops’ 12th commitment in the 2017 class.

Karl Towns is back in Lexington

Karl’s is back in his old Kentucky home to host his “Rookie of the Year” camp at the Joe Craft Center today, and will speak to reporters around 10:30 a.m. We’ll have highlights from his press conference, but if you want to see Karl yourself, head on out to All Sports in Fayette Mall tonight:

Calipari showed the team the dribble drive last night

If I had a nickel for every time Calipari says his team’s going to run the dribble drive and they never do, I’d have…well, at least ten dollars, but regardless, Cal showed them how it works last night. That’s all fine and well, but I’m more excited about De’Aaron Fox’s defense in this clip:

Finishing the semester with a little night session. @swipathefox with the defensive prowess.

A video posted by Kentucky Men's Basketball (@kentuckymbb) on

Giggity.

Players report to fall camp tomorrow

The first practice is Friday, and to prepare, the UK Turf crew put down lines on the new practice fields:

It’s beginning to look a lot like football…

I finished Stranger Things

And it is so, so good. On Monday, I wrote about Netflix’s original series in depth, but I’m even more impressed after finishing it up last night. While the 80’s nostalgia was the first thing I loved about the show, the storyline itself got better as the show went on, and while the finale was satisfying, the door is still wide open for season two.

Speaking of those 80’s movie references, check out this supercut (obviously don’t watch if you haven’t seen the show yet):

That’ll do, friends. Go make the most of your Wednesday.

 


Yahtzee!: Florida DB commits to Kentucky

Yahtzee!: Florida DB commits to Kentucky

cedrick-dort

Kentucky football picked up a commitment from Cedrick Dort, a two-star cornerback out of South Florida, Monday afternoon.

Dort picked the Cats from a final list of Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kentucky, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Wake Forest and Wisconsin.

He’s a long defensive back, listed at over six feet tall, and he looks pretty damn good in his highlight reel:

Yahtzee.


Kentucky Football is Extending Official Offers

@JWills73

Much has been made about the new NCAA recruiting rules that went into effect today.  August 1 is also significant because it’s the first day you can extend official offers to upcoming high school seniors.

Jedrick Wills was one of the first (above) to receive an official offer from UK.  The Cats were beat to the punch; Wills received official offers from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama earlier in the night.

Quinton Bohanna was the first 2017 commit to Tweet (@quint59_) his official offer.  The rest will be receiving the news and accompanying graphic throughout the night.


How the SEC Coaches Have Used Social Media

Wade Payne | AP

Today is the first day of the NCAA’s new recruiting rules for college football coaches.  The biggest changes are in the world of social media.  There’s a lot of weird rules (that Mrs. Tyler details in-depth here) but the easiest way to explain it: DON’T COMMENT.

This limits coaches to liking, favoriting or promoting with a “retweet.”  With the first day almost in the books, Butch Jones has worn out the RT button more than any other SEC coach.

@GentryJohn

Mark Stoops has yet to retweet any recruits, but Vince Marrow has carried out recruiting on social media.  Marrow has retweeted 16 Tweets from recruits in the 2017 class.  All of the retweets have been from recruits committed to UK, except for Thayer Munford, a 3-star Ohio offensive tackle who also holds offers from Alabama (Derrick Ansley), Louisville and Tennessee.


The NCAA’s new social media rules take effect today

The NCAA’s new social media rules take effect today

It’s August 1, which means that the NCAA’s new recruiting rules are officially in effect. Most of the rules pertain to social media, specifically, what coaches can and cannot tweet. Starting today, coaches can now like, retweet, favorite, share, or repost a recruit’s post on any public social media platform; however, they cannot comment on, tag, or mention the recruit in their own words.

Basically, coaches will now go by the “click don’t comment” rule of thumb, meaning that as long as the coach doesn’t say anything in that “click,” it’s allowed.

Some examples, via Reddit:

  • Coach retweets recruit with no comment. Tweets separately 1 minute later, “Great drive. Can really move his feet.” PERMISSIBLE
  • Coach likes a status on Facebook. In the comment section he puts the thumbs up emoji. IMPERMISSIBLE
  • Coach shares an article about recruit on Facebook. PERMISSIBLE
  • Coach tags recruit when sharing that article. IMPERMISSIBLE
  • Coach retweets recruit while recruit is on official visit. IMPERMISSIBLE
  • This one technically falls under publicity while on a visit. It is permissible to retweet the recruit as soon as they leave campus.

The UK Football coaching staff is already hard at work…

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Trinity Defensive End Picks Up UK Offer

Mark Stoops is placing a premium on defensive ends this weekend.  Hosting a pair of elite pass rushers in the 2017 and 2018 class, today Stoops extended an offer to a rising rusher in the class of 2019.

Stephen Herron Jr. is a 6’4″ 225-pound sophomore-to-be from Louisville’s Trinity High School.  The coaching staff liked what they saw from Herron two weeks ago at the linemen camp.  On Twitter, Herron said he was “truly blessed” to receive his fourth offer.  Louisville, Indiana and Tennessee have also extended scholarship offers.

After receiving his first offer from UofL, Herron told The Courier-Journal that his father is a UofL supporter and graduate, but he grew up as a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats.

Check out highlights from his freshman season at New Albany High School below.


Stephens (left) via Scout, and Riegelsperger via Vype.

Top Pass Rushers Visiting Campus This Weekend

Stephens (left) via Scout, and Riegelsperger via Vype.

Stephens (left) via Scout, and Reigelsperger via Vype.

Like most weekends, there will be some football recruits in town.  Unlike most weekends, two players could play an extremely important role for the Wildcats in the future.

Rushing the passer has not come easy since Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith departed.  Stoops has sought to remedy the situation with junior college transfers, but it takes much more than that.  Jabreel Stephens and Alex Reigelsperger could be Stoops’ long-term solutions.

Stephens is a 3-star weak-side 2017 defensive end from Tampa, currently holding offers from 18 schools, including Cal, Arizona, Louisville and Iowa State.  He has great length and a frame that can add plenty of muscle.  His highlights include tipping a pass for an interception.

Reigelsperger is a year younger, but ranked a little higher.  ESPN recently gave him 4-star status in their Top 300 in the class of 2018.

Reigelsperger has frequently visited Kentucky, but this is likely the first time his Wayne High School teammate, Tobias Gilliam, is on campus.  Gilliam has persistently recruited Reigelsperger to Kentucky, giving Vince Marrow an extra edge.  Reigelsperger holds offers from Iowa, Pitt, Miami (Oh.), Purdue, Rutgers and Western Michigan.


Walker Wood and Jedrick Wills among favorites for 2016 Kentucky Mr. Football Award

High school football is right around the corner, and today, USA Today High School Sports’ Jason Frakes released his list of the top ten candidates for the 2016 Kentucky Mr. Football Award. Two of the names should be very familiar: Lafayette quarterback Walker Wood, a current UK commit, and his teammate, Jedrick Wills, UK’s top 2017 target.

“There’s little doubt Wills is the most coveted recruit in Kentucky’s senior class,” Frakes wrote. “Among Class of 2017 recruits, he’s ranked No. 1 in Kentucky and No. 41 in the nation by 247Sports.com. If ever an offensive lineman was going to be named Mr. Football, Wills could be the one.”

The 6’5″ 318 lbs. Wills recently narrowed his list to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee; however, there are rumors that he’s given Alabama a silent commitment. Wills toured the new UK Football training facility earlier this week, so hopefully it made enough of an impression to keep the Cats in the hunt.

Meanwhile, Frakes noted that Wills may not even be the top Mr. Football candidate on his own team, naming Walker Wood the early favorite for the award.

“If there’s a preseason favorite for the award, Wood (6-0, 180 pounds) would be the one. He plays the glamorous position of quarterback and gets the Mr. Football boost of having committed to the University of Kentucky. And his numbers from last season were superb, both through the air (188 of 315, 2,611 yards, 21 TDs, 8 interceptions) and on the ground (236 carries, 1,622 yards, 22 TDs). The Generals finished 12-3 after falling to Male in the Class 6-A championship game.”

If Walker manages to convince Wills to join him at UK, he deserves all of the awards.

[USA Today HSS]