As expected, UK has just announced that James Young will forgo his sophomore season and →
Football Recruiting News
The football news wasn’t all bad today. As first reported by Justin Rowland and later confirmed by 247 Sports’ Josh Edwards, Ohio State redshirt freshman safety Jayme Thompson has been granted his release from the Buckeyes and will visit Kentucky for the Spring Game on April 26.
Thompson, 6’2″, 185 lbs., was considered the 12th best safety in the 2013 class by 247 Sports Composite, and picked Ohio State over Louisville, Missouri, Vandy, Michigan, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and others. He’ll likely have to sit out a year, but if he picks the Cats, that’s huge news for an area that still needs help.
On Monday, Kentucky lost their first 2015 commitment in four-star DB Montrell Custis, who flipped his commitment to Alabama. Now, they’ve lost another in 3-star safety Marcus Walker, who opened up his recruitment this morning. Walker made this statement via Twitter:
“I just open up my recruitment. I need more time to think things through. After talking to my mom and family it’s better to wait it’s to much pressure on me. Kentucky is still at the number 1 spot of my list.”
Walker is also being recruited by Georgia, and has offers from Florida, Ole Miss, UCF, South Florida, and others.
And now, a bit of bad news. 2015 4-star CB Montrell Custis just flipped his commitment from Kentucky to Alabama. Custis was UK’s first commitment in the 2015 class, and is considered the 26th best cornerback in the country by 247 Sports. The Cats now have five commitments in the 2015 class: Marcus Walker, Levon Livingston, Logan Stenberg, Larry Wells, and Mason Wolf.
The loss is disappointing, but Alabama is Alabama. Best of luck to him.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©3:00 pm
3-star OG Luke Hiers visited both Kentucky and Louisville this week, and in an interview with InsideTheVille’s Mike Hughes, said he enjoyed his time at both campuses, but Kentucky is still his favorite, followed by Louisville and South Florida. Hiers said that Kentucky is his favorite because of the academic support program they have in place for athletes, and “right now, I don’t think anybody is going to be able to jump in front of Kentucky.”
Naturally, this upset some Louisville fans, who decided to attack Hiers and UK in the comments section of the article. Here are a few of their comments:
“He needs all the academic help he can get if Ky is his top choice. No mention of potential wins or football tradition. I say let him go there. I wouldn’t spend another minute on this guy.”
“Don’t know what he means by academic supports, our athletes tear it up in class. 100 years of losing and they keep thinking they will be the ones to turn it around. lol”
“What the hell are these kids drinking to go to UK? Also how the hell is Fat Stoops getting such highly rated players and he hasn’t even won an SEC game?”
Because the internet is the internet, Hiers found out about the comments, and wasn’t too happy about them:
@BigBlueTopper I saw it.. it made me upset
— Luke Hiers (@lukehiers54) April 11, 2014
Keep it up, Cards.
Five-star running back Damien Harris made the drive to Lexington from Berea this morning to check out UK’s practice, and judging by his tweets, he had an excellent time. The top running back in the 2015 class sent out this tweet warning people not to sleep on the UK football program, which he says is on the rise:
And for those of y'all who think Kentucky football ain't on the rise… Keep sleeping, they'll prove you wrong come season. Just wait on it.
— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) April 9, 2014
Landing Harris would be an absolute coup for this staff. Come on down and be a hero, son.
Here’s some huge football recruiting news: 5-star running back Damien Harris is on Kentucky’s campus today. The Madison Southern star is considered the top running back, the best player from the state of Kentucky, and the 21st overall prospect in the 2015 class by 247 Sports Composite. He has offers from all the big guys including Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Auburn, and yes, Kentucky.
While most analysts think he’ll go to Ohio State or Michigan, the Cats have made a good impression so far, with Harris tweeting about the program during National Signing Day. If Stoops and company can convince him to come on board, he would be a statement recruit for the program.
Harris just tweeted this minutes ago:
— Damien Harris (@Damien_D1Harris) April 9, 2014
Enjoy yourself, Damien.
Over the weekend the Final Four caused a couple of Yahtzees! to get lost in the chaos. Mark Stoops made a giant step forward with the Class of 2015 after receiving four offensive line commitments in three days. Levon Livingston, Logan Stenberg, Larry Wells and Mason Wolfe have an average height of 6’7 and a combined weight of 1,155 pounds. Here’s a little rundown of what you need to know about your new additions that have caused the Cats jump to 27th nationally in 247′s Class of 2015 rankings.
Henderson, KY (Henderson County)
6-7 280 pounds
247 Composite Rating: .8089***
Mason Wolfe is one of the biggest in-state prospects in the Class of 2015, and Neal Brown wanted to make sure the big fella stayed home. When Wolfe was asked why he committed to Kentucky he responded, “Why Not?” Wolfe was being pursued by some of the biggest schools in the land – Alabama, Cal, Arkansas and Florida State – but he has completely bought into the New Kentucky Football and coach Mark Stoops.
Offensive Tackle/ Defensive End
Washington, DC (Ballou SHS)
6-7 250 pounds
247 Composite Rating: .8667***
Livingston might be the biggest recruit the Cats have landed so far in 2015, rated as a 4-star by 247 Sports. The highly-heralded D.C. lineman was being heavily pursued by West Virginia, Rutgers, NC State and Clemson before choosing the Cats at his visit over the weekend. Livingston could play on either side of the ball, but he prefers to play on the offensive side. Livingston is an athletic specimen that moves well, low to the ground. His primary recruiter, Tommy Mainord, has been very effective at reeling in commitments from the Northeast.
Kenton, OH (Kenton)
6-8 298 pounds
247 Composite Rating: .8333***
Vince Marrow added another big recruit from his home state to grow the Ohio presence at UK. Marrow persuaded Wells to turn down Cincinnati, Illinois, Akron and Kent State for Kentucky blue. ”I just loved everything about it. I felt at home. And the facilities are awesome – as is the coaching staff,” Wells told CatsPause.com. Playing his high school ball in the spread offense, Wells is an excellent pass protector that will have plenty of experience when he arrives to campus.
Madison, AL (James Clemens)
6-6 327 pounds
Stenberg is everything you love about a ‘big nasty’ at offensive tackle. The big boy from Bama has plenty of SEC size, yet he can still lower his shoulder on the smallest of foes to make them pay. What’s most impressive is his ability to block downfield in open space, something rare in a kid that’s 6’6″, 327 pounds. Stenberg had flown under the radar for most of his recruitment, accepting his second scholarship offer from John Schlarman and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Henderson County (Ky.) offensive tackle Mason Wolfe made it four commitments for Kentucky in a span of three days when he committed to the Wildcats during an unofficial visit Monday.
@masonwolfe77: Officially committed to the University of Kentucky!! #BBN
The 6-foot-7, 280-pounder marks Kentucky’s fourth offensive line commit over the past three days, joining Larry Wells, Logan Stenberg and Levon Livingston, who all committed to the Wildcats over the weekend.
Wolfe’s commitment comes on the heels of his fourth campus visit to UK.
He was recruited by UK offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Neal Brown.
For more on Wolfe’s commitment, check out CatsPause.com
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©4:30 pm
We now interrupt your Final Four coverage to bring you another YAHTZEE! 4-star DE Levon Livingston just committed to Kentucky after visiting campus for an open practice this afternoon. He announced the news on Twitter:
— Levon Livingston (@BigDCLivingston) April 5, 2014
247 Sports ranks Livingston, a Washington DC native, as the 15th best strong-side defensive end in the 2015 class. He’s 6’7″, 250 lbs., and had offers from West Virginia, NC State, Temple, along with interest from Tennessee, Penn State, Georgia, Florida State, and others.
Livingston is Kentucky’s THIRD commitment of the day. Welcome to the fam, Levon.
Lagrange, OH (Keystone)
247 Composite: .9184****
The Cats have made an early push for a Top Ten tight end from the state of Ohio. After a Junior Day visit during the LSU home basketball game, C.J. Conrad declared the Cats as his number one choice. Vince Marrow is once again off to a hot start in Ohio as he attempts to add depth to his position.
Conrad looks like your traditional “big white guy” tight end, but he sure doesn’t play like it. Conrad has spent much of his time in high school playing outside wide receiver. He’s a 6’5″ giant, yet he can beat corners deep or run a screen right through the middle of the defense. Conrad is much like 2014 commit Daryl Long: a perfect Air Raid tight end.
Conrad recently picked up an offer from Arkansas, and Ohio State is looming in the background. The 247 Crystal Ball is in favor of the Cats: UK-71% Ohio State-29%. The Crystal Ball is a great guideline, but I also like when his high school buddies are rooting for the Cats:
@cjconrad1 should go to Kentucky , it's closeish to me and they got good apparel …
— nick mclaughlin (@nickmclaughlin7) March 11, 2014
I agree with his running back, black jerseys are beautiful. Check out C.J.’s Sophomore highlight reel below.
247Sports national recruiting analyst Steve Wiltfong dropped some major scoop on CatsPause.com about where Kentucky stands with a Top 100 overall prospect in the 2015 class and one of the highest-rated running backs in the country.
For more on this new development, check out CatsPause.com’s House of Blue.
Everyone remembers Craig Yeast.
At the time he graduated from Kentucky, he was the SEC’s all-time leader in receptions (208) and second in all-time receiving yards (2,899) and along with Tim Couch, helped the Wildcats reach its first New Year’s Day bowl game in 47 years.
Now, his son, Craig Yeast II, is starting to make a name for himself and Kentucky has taken early notice.
For more on Yeast 2.0, go to CatsPause.com
2015 four-star cornerback Montrell Custis committed to Kentucky over Georgia, Clemson, Auburn, Tennessee and others back in November, and since, has picked up even more offers from major schools. The biggest one of all may have come yesterday when Alabama extended an offer to Custis. While an offer from Nick Saban is huge, Custis told The Cats Pause’s Josh Edwards he’s “still UK”:
“I was excited to hear from Coach Nick Saban and of course I was excited about the offer. I’m still UK. I’m just very excited. I’m just taking it all in right now.”
Custis came to UK’s Junior Day and loved it so much he didn’t want to leave, so let’s hope he holds on to that loving feeling:
With College Gameday in town and a top five Florida team in the visitor’s locker room, February 15th was a big enough day in Lexington. The perfect atmosphere to impress twenty of the nation’s top high school football players, which is exactly why Mark Stoops and company chose that day to be the program’s Junior Day. Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples was on hand, and said that the royal treatment the juniors–especially Damien Harris–received was proof that Stoops has the Big Blue Nation believing in football:
It was into this Big Blue spectacle that Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops led a group of high school juniors wearing letter jackets from schools across the eastern half of the country. The prep stars tried their damnedest to appear cool as they waded through the throng toward their seats, but most couldn’t stop themselves from staring slack-jawed at the madness all around them. Many college football coaches prefer to build Junior Days around big basketball games because they tend to energize a school. With the Wildcats playing Florida and the nation watching on Feb. 15, Stoops knew he could wow his top targets in the class of 2015. He personally escorted Damien Harris, a five-star tailback from Berea, Ky., who earlier in the week had been personally escorted by Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to watch Michigan play the Buckeyes in Columbus. As Stoops and Harris climbed the stairs, they stopped every few feet to reciprocate high-fives from fans who, thanks to Stoops, celebrated National Signing Day in February — not the one in November reserved for Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari’s annual haul of McDonald’s All-Americans — for the first time since quarterback Tim Couch faxed his letter of intent to the Wildcats in 1996.
Staples says Stoops is laying all the groundwork for Kentucky to become a respected program, comparing his process to the one Steve Spurrier used in South Carolina. He also does what several national writers have failed to when writing about the Kentucky football program: dispels the myth that UK fans don’t care about football: “While they do care about basketball as much as Alabama fans care about football, they also have been quite faithful to the football team — even though the team has given them few rewards for their fidelity.”
Truth. And that’s why what’s happening now is so exciting. Go check out Staples’ piece over at SportsIllustrated.com.
It has been nearly a month since the University of Kentucky aired during the Super Bowl a commercial promoting Wildcats football, with the theme “Why Not?” Since the spectacular ad hit the airwaves fans, players, and even 5-star recruits have embraced the “Why Not” notion, rallying Stoops Troops to Pack Commonwealth and support the rebuilding program.
The excitement has outstretched the arms of the #BBN and carried-over to other areas in pop culture. Last week the popular internet dating website Match.com began playing commercials with women asking themselves, “Why not take charge and find a good guy to connect with on Match.com?” The snowball effect is rolling and people can’t stop:
“#WhyNot break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar?” – Kit-Kat Bars
“Here’s a Duck Dynasty branded fork. #WhyNot” – Wal-Mart
“#WhyNot spend 13-hours on Valentine’s Day watching TV?” – House of Cards
“24 beers in one sitting? #WhyNot” – Natural Light
“Time to bring back Jay. #WhyNot” -The Tonight Show
“You never know when you’ll need 27-feet of flowered fabric and a scarecrow family made out of pine cones. #WhyNot” – Michael’s
“T-shirts tucked into whitie-tighties are a thing of the past! #WhyNot” – Tony Siragusa for Depends
“Doron went to sleep. #WhyNot”
“Really 5th Olympic Ring? #WhyNot” – Vladmir Putin
“Whoever said 25 thirsty women going for one man is a bad thing? #WhyNot” – The Bachelor
“A loss on Senior Night? #CutTheNets #WhyNot” – Indiana Basketball
“Because movies which have actually been in theaters are overrated. #WhyNot” – Netflix
“THE TAGS ARE BACK! #WhyNot” – Hane’s
formerly tagless underwear.
“Beards. blunts, and tats. #WhyNot” – Louisville Basketball
One of Kentucky’s top targets in the 2015 class–Lagrange (Ohio) Keystone 4-star tight end C.J. Conrad–was on campus over the weekend and following his visit, didn’t hesitate to name the Wildcats his leader.
“”It went really well. I loved it there. It made me very comfortable with Kentucky,” Conrad told CatsPause.com Sunday. “They’re definitely my number one.”
Ranked as a top 10 tight end nationally by the 247Sports Composite, Conrad says UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown compared him favorably to former Texas Tech tight end and potential first round NFL Draft pick Jace Amaro.
For more recruiting coverage, check out CatsPause.com.
Follow Chris Fisher on Twitter @ChrisFisher247
UK bound 😎
— cj conrad (@cjconrad1) February 22, 2014
One of the nation’s top tight ends, highly rated Ohioan (that just looks weird,) C.J. Conrad, has UK at the top of his list, and is visiting Lexington for the first time this weekend.
According to the 247 composite, CJ is a 4 star and currently comes in at ninth at the position.
It’s a beautiful day in the Bluegrass. Come on down CJ.