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Your Damien Harris Update

The Bad

The Madison Southern standout has been on the move recently, and in a very southern direction. The back took an unofficial visit last weekend to Tuscaloosa for the Bama win over then top-ranked Mississippi State. Harris is again going back to Tuscaloosa next weekend on his official visit for the Crimson Tide’s final game of the year against their rival, Auburn. For our sake, I’d say there’ll be a bunch of War Eagle cheers throughout the Big Blue Nation next weekend.

The Indifferent

Harris still has to take official visits to Florida and Texas A&M after he visits UK on the 13th. Gut feeling that neither of those visits will even matter in the long run, though.

The Good

Something worth noting I believe is that Harris visited UK 3 seperate times after his official visit to Ohio State. One of which was the day after he had just gone to OSU, so that has got to be good.

He is still scheduled for his Dec. 13th official visit to UK, which coincidentally also happens to be UK basketball’s home game against a more than likely Top-10 ranked Carolina Tarheel team. HA! Take that Bama! But really, if the Cats come up with a big win against the dirty birds next weekend at Petrino’s Pizza Palace, it’ll be a great atmosphere for Damien Harris to soak in and he’ll get to see one last time in person what the BBN is all about.

I’m no expert, but I’d say someone at UK probably had something to do with the “coincidental” timing of the visit. UK currently leads 247’s crystal ball predictions with 49%, behind UK is OSU with 45% and Michigan with 4%.

@kaansoloKSR


More on Tyrone Riley, UK’s latest 2015 commitment

In the middle of all the basketball madness last night, the football team picked up another 2015 commitment: 3-star defensive end Tyrone Riley from Savannah, Georgia. The news got lost in the mix last night, so let’s get to know him today:

TYRONE RILEY
20090120040123!Free_Blue_Star20090120040123!Free_Blue_Star20090120040123!Free_Blue_Star
6-6 230 lbs.
Savannah, GA (Calvary Day School)

247 Sports Composite: 29 WDE | 603 | 62 GA
247 Sports: 38 WDE | 79 GA
Rivals: 23 WDE | 48 GA
ESPN: 50 OLB | 81 GA

Offer list: Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, NC State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Purdue, Wake Forest

Recruited by: Craig Naivar

  • UK’s 17th commitment in the 2015 class
  • Visited UK over the summer, has tremendous upside
  • UK’s third defensive end commitment in 2015, joining Jason Stowbridge and Kengera Daniel

Highlights:

Welcome to the fam, Tyrone.


We now interrupt your pregaming for a YAHTZEE

While we’re all counting down the minutes til UK/Kansas, it appears there is some football recruiting news happening. According to his high school teammats on Twitter, Tyrone Riley, a 2015 three-star weak-side defensive end from Savannah, Georgia, has committed to Kentucky:

Tyrone is considered the 29th best weak-side defensive end in the 2015 class by 247 Sports. We’ll have more on his commitment tomorrow, but for now, YAHTZEE!


And so it begins…

Damien Harris spent the day in Tuscaloosa, where Alabama defeated the No. 1 team in the nation in front of 101,821 rowdy fans. I suppose this is when we begin to worry.


Damien Harris visiting Alabama early this weekend

damienharris

Harris isn’t supposed to be making his official visit to Alabama until Nov. 29 for the Iron Bowl, but he couldn’t wait til then and is currently on campus  two weeks early for an early look for that visit.

Don’t freak out, don’t panic, don’t freak out.

@Sealey_KSR


Drake Jackson picks up an offer from Ohio State

Drake Jackson and Keion Wakefield at the UK/Ohio game (@THE_DRAKE_52)

2016 Woodford County star Drake Jackson is considered the nation’s top center, and has Kentucky high on his list, along with Alabama and Tennessee. Last night, Drake added another name to that list: Ohio State.

Kentucky has been considered the favorite for Drake for a while now. Last week, he told KSR how impressed he is with Mark Stoops and how much playing for his in-state school would mean to him; however, Ohio State is Ohio State. I spoke with Drake this morning, and he said receiving an offer from the Buckeyes was a big achievement. “I was just very excited to receive it,” Drake said of the offer. “I have had this as a goal of mine for a long time.” When asked, Drake said this won’t affect the timeline of his recruitment, which has been rumored to end on December 13. He’s already visited Ohio State unofficially, and says he’ll try to get up there again, but isn’t sure if he’ll be able to.

The Cats and the Vols are two of Drake’s finalists. What’s he looking for in tomorrow’s game? “I’m excited for the game,” Drake said. “I understand both teams have a lot of young players, and I can’t wait to see who fights through adversity.” I tried to get a hint as to who he’s cheering for by asking whether he’ll wear blue or orange, but no luck. “Probably black,” Drake laughed.

Although an offer from Ohio State is formidable, I still feel good about Kentucky’s chances. Drake has been to several games this season and often talks about how close he is with UK’s staff and the appeal of playing for his home state school. For a lot of top players, just getting an offer from a program as elite as Ohio State is validating even if their heart lies elsewhere.

Will the Cats beat out Urban Meyer for two top recruits next month?


Quinton Baker has a ridiculous spin move

Last week, I profiled all of UK’s 2016 in-state commitments, and high on that list was Quinton Baker, a three-star all-purpose back from Ashland. Baker’s garnered a lot of buzz in recent weeks, and highlights like the one above are why. Those are some spin moves that would make Julius Randle proud.

More of Quinton’s highlights:

http://youtu.be/0ueovIQzYzY


Watch Damien Harris and Madison Southern play Letcher Central

Watch Damien Harris and Madison Southern play Letcher Central

GOTWlivead1107

Autoplay is the devil, so click on the pic or the link below to go watch Damien Harris’ first game back from injury.

MADISON SOUTHERN vs. LETCHER CENTRAL


The Best of the Bluegrass: UK’s 2016 in-state commitments

The Best of the Bluegrass: UK’s 2016 in-state commitments

Most of the focus in football recruiting is currently on the 2015 class, but Kentucky has already made major strides with its 2016 prospects. One of the hallmarks of Mark Stoops’ tenure so far has been keeping top in-state talent in state, starting with Ryan Timmons and Jason Hatcher in 2013; Matt Elam and Drew Barker in 2014; Eli Brown and possibly Damien Harris in 2015.

In the 2016 class, UK has already landed commitments from four of the top five prospects in Kentucky, and there’s a VERY good chance they make it five out of five with Drake Jackson, the number one recruit in state and the nation’s top center. UK is also considered the favorite for Male’s Keion Wakefield, the 6th best prospect in the Commonwealth. I interviewed some of the recruits about the job Stoops has done so far, and how much that in-state focus means to them. I also spoke with 247 Sports’ Director of Scouting Barton Simmons to get his evaluations of each player. Let’s get to know them.

landonyoungLANDON YOUNG
Offensive Tackle
Lexington, KY (Lafayette)
6-7 | 270

Ranking: 
247Composite: 24 OT | 259 | 2 KY
247Sports: 15 OT | 150 | 2 KY
ESPN: 24 OT | 271 | 2 KY
Rivals: 26 OT | 2 KY
Scout: 15 OT | 160

Committed: 6/14/2013

247 Sports’ Barton Simmons on Young: “A rare elite national offensive lineman from within Kentucky, Young is still developing physically but he’s got outstanding length and he plays with toughness. Though he doesn’t play an elite level of competition, the way he finishes blocks and the way he can move at his size make him a highly ranked kid on 247Sports.”

d-robinsonDAVONTE ROBINSON
Cornerback
Lexington, KY (Henry Clay)
6-1 | 165
Ranking: 

247Composite: 48 CB | 538 | 3 KY
247Sports: 43 CB | 5 KY
ESPN: NR
Rivals: NR
Scout: NR

Committed: 10/8/2014

Davonte on UK:

On playing for his in-state school: I think it’s very important because it’s where I grew up and it’s where I want to stay.

On 4 of the top 5 in-state recruits committing to UK: I think it’s great that people from the state committed because we can represent for our state.

On UK this season: I think Coach Stoops has done a great job. He’s really changing the program and leading UK in a good direction.

When he knew he wanted to go to UK: After the South Carolina game

On how he thinks UK will end the season: I think this year they will make it to a bowl game

Will his opinion on UK change if they don’t make a bowl game? No. Whether they make it or not, they will still be a great team and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.

247 Sports’ Barton Simmons on Davonte: “Though he’s a local kid, Robinson has national speed as a cornerback and he’s got the ability with his size to be a lock-down defender. He runs a sub-11 second 100 meters and he has 6-1 size and he is an impact player on both sides of the ball as a high schooler. Robinson is a high ceiling type of talent.”

373465ZY’AIRE HUGHES
Dual-threat quarterback, wide receiver
Paducah, KY (McCracken)
6-1 | 180
Ranking: 

247Composite: 41 ATH | 545 | 4 KY
247Sports: 34 ATH | 4 KY
ESPN: NR
Rivals: 5 KY
Scout: NR

Committed: 7/19/2014

Zy’Aire on UK:

On playing for his in-state school: It’s important for me because of all of the support I get and it’s close to home. I just love how the coaches are trying to build a family.

On 4 of the top 5 in-state recruits committing to UK: It’s great because I know everyone in my class and played on all-star teams with most.

On UK this season: Stoops has done a great job. He’s really building a program.

On how he thinks UK will end the season: I hope they can make it to a bowl game.

Will his opinion on UK change if they don’t make a bowl game? No, I’ m excited to be a Cat. I love everything about it.

247 Sports’ Barton Simmons on Zy’Aire: “While he will often line up at quarterback for his high school, Hughes is likely a wide receiver on the next level, or possibly a defensive back but his athleticism, burst with the football and creativity making plays makes him the type of player that you want to deliver the football to. In Kentucky terms, Hughes has a little Randall Cobb to his game.”

1276835QUINTON BAKER
All-purpose Back
Ashland, KY (Paul G. Blazer)
5-8 | 180
Ranking: 

247Composite: 10 APB | 555 | 5 KY
247Sports: 8 APB | 3 KY
ESPN: NR
Rivals: 4 KY
Scout: 29 RB

Committed: 10/25/2014

Son of former UK running back Al Baker

Quinton on UK:

On playing for his in-state school: It’s important. I want the players in state to stick around and come to UK too. It would really be something.

On 4 of the top 5 in-state recruits committing to UK: It’s awesome that the in-state guys are staying here!

On UK this season: Coach Stoops is really changing the game. There’s a completely different swagger.

When he knew he wanted to go to UK: When they offered me on Junior Day

On how he thinks UK will end the season: I think UK will be bowl eligible and do great in their bowl.

Will his opinion on UK change if they don’t make a bowl game? No.

247 Sports’ Barton Simmons on Quinton: “More and more frequently, we’re seeing undersized dynamic players find a place in big time college football and even the NFL. Baker could be that guy for Kentucky. He’s a quick, space athlete that can be effective out of the backfield or out of the slot in Kentucky’s spread offense.”

IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Kentucky’s top 2016 in-state target is Drake Jackson, the Commonwealth’s best prospect and the nation’s number one center in his class. There have been rumors Jackson already gave the UK staff a silent verbal, but he denied that last week. Jackson has visited Kentucky three times this season, and has also made trips to Alabama, and Tennessee. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on Stoops and the program. I think you’ll like what he has to say.

2929815DRAKE JACKSON
Offensive Guard
Versailles, KY
6-2 | 288
Ranking:

247Composite: 1 OC | 117 | 1 KY
247Sports: 1 OC | 58 | 1 KY
ESPN: 1 OG | 164 | 1 KY
Rivals: 238 | 1 KY
Scout: 1 OC | 84

Drake on UK:

On the importance Mark Stoops and staff have put on keeping in-state talent in state: I think it’s very clear what Coach Stoops’ plan is when it come to recruiting in-state. He has put a wall on the border, keeping just about everyone inside of it. I like this idea, because I know what it’s like to play with those guys. I played on a middle school all-star team with Zy’Aire Hughes and even played my whole middle school with Sam Letton (who moved to Georgia, and has a UK offer). Playing with your friends is something every player dreams of.

On his recruitment: I can see myself making a decision when I’m done taking my visits this fall. As for the excitement around UK, there’s no better time to be a part of it, and that plays a big factor.

247 Sports’ Barton Simmons on Drake: “Drake has everything you want in a center. He’s cerebral, he’s got great toughness and physicality, moves his feet extremely well and he’s proven himself not only in pads on Friday nights but on the camp circuit around the country against the best. Early in the 2016 recruiting cycle, Drake has emerged as our top center in the entire country on 247Sports.”

Come on down and join the heroes, Drake.


Kentucky sending recruits mailers in chrome envelopes

You’re looking at a tweet from Keion Wakefield, a three-star receiver at Male in Louisville. Wakefield is considered the 67th best receiver in the 2016 class by Rivals, and today, he showed off an impressive new mailer from Kentucky, which came in a chrome envelope. The letter inside was also pretty cool:

Right now, Wakefield’s got offers from Kentucky and Cincinnati, but Oregon and Clemson have also shown interest. Will Wakefield stay home and be a hero? His older brother, Keron, is currently a walk-on cornerback at UK, so that can’t hurt. Neither will the cool chrome envelopes.


Damien Harris cleared to play in the playoffs

Great place, great people #BBN

A photo posted by Damien Harris (@damienharris34) on

How about some good news for a change? This morning, Damien Harris tweeted that he has been cleared to play in the first round of the playoffs next week. Harris has been sidelined by a sprained MCL for almost a month, and yesterday, he said he was able to run full speed for the first time since the injury.

Next Friday, Madison Southern is projected to play at Letcher County. Before his injury, Harris carried the ball 88 times for 1,524 yards and 23 touchdowns in five games. Of course, Harris is down to Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and Texas A&M. He’s visited UK unofficially five time this season, and didn’t miss a single home game in October, even making the trip the day after his injury. Ohio State still holds a slim 47%/45% lead over UK in his Crystal Ball, but the Cats are thought to have the momentum.


Putnamstadium.com

Another YAHTZEE! Quinton Baker Commits

Putnamstadium.com

Putnamstadium.com

A player I was hoping Neal Brown could keep home, Ashland Blazer’s Quinton Baker has committed to the Wildcats.  A 247 Composite 4-star running back, Baker is one of the best prospects in Kentucky’s deep Class of 2016 and the son of former Wildcat Al Baker.  With 4.49 speed, Baker is a playmaker that has hardly reached his potential.

 

Watch his highlights, they’re pretty good.


Just because there’s a loss doesn’t mean we can’t YAHTZEE!

Tonight was rough, but the Cats’ performance gives plenty of hope for the future.  It isn’t just the BBN that is seeing the progress.  The 16th-ranked linebacker in the class of 2016, Roland Walder, announced his commitment to Kentucky shortly after tonight’s game.  The Dayton, OH native runs a 4.5 40-yard-dash and ensures that tonight wasn’t a total wash.

 

You know you wanna watch his highlights.

Stay tuned.  Rivals’ Justin Rowland believes there is more to come…


A Major Day For The Future At Commonwealth Stadium

When you have an opportunity to knock off the number one team in the country then you want all of your top recruits there to witness the moment.  The parents of this coaching staff certainly didn’t raise any fools and that is exactly what they are doing with just two home games left on the schedule. Just who are some of the visitors? Let’s take a look:

Class of 2015

Damien Harris will once again be visiting for his fifth game of the season. Harris has become a stalwart in the stands this season and the Cats are undefeated when has attended games in 2014. That’s the sort of mojo we need on campus. Commit CJ Conrad will also be visiting the Cats today for his official visit. Conrad has already submitted his financial aid papers and expects to enroll for next semester.

Ahmad Wagner ballin’

We told you yesterday about the visit of Pitt commit Davon Hamilton visiting today but there are two more committed men making the trip as well. Tyree Kinnel, a four-star safety currently pledged to Michigan, and 6-foot-7 receiver Ahmad Wagner who is committed to play basketball at Iowa. I wouldn’t wish four years of school in Iowa on my worst enemy. Wagner has become a football target as well this fall with his play on the field. Both guys attended high school with Dorian Hendrix and Vince Marrow is working hard to open the pipeline and flip these two to Kentucky.

Local Juniors

Kentucky has begun locking up the state’s highly touted junior class with commitments from McCracken County’s Zy’Aire Hughes, Henry Clay’s Davonte Robinson and Lafayette’s Landon Young. Today they’ll be looking to sway a couple more guys when they host Woodford County offensive lineman Drake Jackson and Ashland running back Quinton Baker.

Mark Stoops was in Woodford County last night to watch Jackson work and the talented center is back on campus for his third unofficial visit of the season. Drake previously attended the Ohio and South Carolina games.

Quinton Baker, the son of 80s Kentucky running back Al Baker, will be visiting for the third time this season as well. Baker is currently a four star recruit and the third ranked in-state player for 2014. He holds an offer from the Cats already and it’d be great to see the kid follow in his father’s footsteps.

Traveling Juniors

Messiah deWeaver is a four-star quarterback out of Ohio and one who committed to Michigan back in June. With Brady Hoke all but finished as coach of the Wolverines you have to wonder just how firm the commitment is. The coaching staff has taken over our neighbor to the North and deWeaver could be another top get from the Buckeye State. Time will tell.

Another all-name team candidate joining Messiah is three-star wide receiver Randrecous Davis from Georgia. So far it’s been Louisville and Kentucky duking it out for the kid’s services but Auburn, Clemson, and Florida have also shown interest. This is his first unofficial visit to the Bluegrass state.

 

Its a big day not just for the game being played but for the future as well. How well the Cats are able to hang with the Bulldogs could help sway a lot of guys to suit up in the blue and white for years to come.


Pitt commit taking an official visit to Kentucky this weekend

Pitt commit taking an official visit to Kentucky this weekend

DaVon Hamilton is a three-star defensive tackle from Pickerington, Ohio that’s committed to Pitt, but according to 247 Sports’ Josh Edwardshe’ll be taking an official visit to Kentucky this weekend. Hamilton, considered the 49th best DT in the 2015 class, gave his verbal commitment to Pitt back in June, but Vince Marrow has managed to get him to Lexington for an official. Hmm…

Current UK commit CJ Conrad will also take his official visit to Kentucky this weekend, along with Damien Harris, who will attend fifth UK game. This won’t be an official visit for Harris, but having him on campus yet again is another great opportunity for the staff. It doesn’t hurt that he’s buddies with CJ Conrad, whom he played alongside at The Opening.

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