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The Drop’s Monday News and Views

The Drop’s Monday News and Views

the-drop-toronto-film-festival

This is the time of year when movies start to get really good. For many years, I enjoyed the Summer Blockbuster season and tried to go to the movies nearly every weekend. But in recent years, that season has essentially become a parade of action hero, horror, Tom Cruise and Transformer movies, none of which I have any interest in seeing, thus leaving me with the occasional silly comedy as my only excuse to head to the theater (I liked “Neighbors”). But now movies begin getting much better and it started for me this week when I went to an afternoon showing of James Gandolfini’s last movie “The Drop”. The basic premise of the movie is that Gandolfini’s bar is one of many where Brooklyn’s “dirty money” is dropped every night to be picked up by the mob. On a certain night, things go wrong and the story is unleashed. It is a dark, mysterious movie, with some strong acting and a cool storyline that meanders here and there to keep your attention. I left very pleased with my two hours, once again depressed about the death of Gandolfini (he is really good) and ready for a fall/winter of actually seeing good movies again. I hope “Gone Girl” continues the parade next weekend and if not, well we will be celebrating beating South Carolina, so it probably won’t matter much either way.

Two big stories this weekend…the UK victory and the Damien Harris game. Let’s get to them:

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A female caller called into the Postgame Show suggesting “Six Goggles” become our Football thing…I love it…and a fan sent in this pic of him participating in the trend

UK OVER VANDY 17-7

If you listen to my KSR Postgame Show (and if you don’t you should), you know that I begin each show with a 10 minute or so monologue about the game, followed by three segments of calls. In the hour between the end of the game and my show, I try to figure out what I am going to say, usually come up with a theme of some sort and then go. But after Saturday’s game versus Vandy I was at a bit of a loss. I couldn’t feel bad about the game…we beat a SEC team for the first time since 2011 and a Vandy team that had taken us out 100-14 over the last three years. At the same time, the victory was great but I was a little bit unfulfilled as well. How does one articulate that view? And then a caller early in the show hit on the head. Saturday’s win over Vanderbilt was like a Tubby Smith SEC win in January. You remember those games don’t you. It would be a Wednesday night, the 8 pm game on Jefferson Pilot Sport and Kentucky would be playing Georgia in Rupp. The Cats would putter along throughout the game, usually with a 4-10 point lead, never really playing great but also never really threatening to lose. They would make enough plays down the stretch to get the victory, the Cats would win something like 65-56 and you would feel fine but without much in the way of emotion after the game. It was a Tubby victory.

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Ky Sports Connection shows that Matt Elam will make you jump

Saturday was UK football’s Tubby victory. The Cats were dominant on defense, completely overwhelming Vanderbilt’s Freshman Quarterback, controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing no plays to get going of any substance. The Defensive Line was beastly, with Bud Dupree and Zadarius Smith once again showcasing what their presence can mean when both are clicking. Their pass rush, along with the blitzing schemes of DJ Eliot (who called a very aggressive Defensive game plan) allowed a number of sacks, hits on the Quarterback, forced throws and late interceptions, giving the entire game a feel-good presence on the Defensive side. Tons of guys made plays who have waited for their moments from Blake McClain to Marcus McClinton to CJ Johnson. Vanderbilt was unable to get anything going on the offensive side and really never threatened to score, only having the ball on the inside of the Kentucky 30 for one play (an immediate sack). It was a brilliant effort and like some of Tubby Smith’s old games, left the opposing offense looking anemic.

However for UK, the offensive side was a mixed bag. UK put together two of its best drives of the year, but also had some bewildering play as well. Early on, Kentucky looked like a dominant team, going 99 yards on the first possession, with a variety of runs and passes that were exciting to watch. The second drive was also long, leading to a field goal and it looked as if this would be an easy and fun day in Commonwealth. But then Patrick Towles threw the pick six, and a combination of conservative play calling and some hesitancy on his part, seemed to shut down the pass game. Kentucky was still able to run the ball well, kept possession throughout the game and was never in danger of losing…but it was also hard to watch. The 4th Quarter consisted of JoJo Kemp Wildcat runs on play after play, with Vandy having no chance to stop, but few gains of over a handful of yards. It short, it was an efficient effort, but not an exciting one and it left the crowd a bit underwhelmed. Still you can’t really blame Stoops and Neal Brown, because the most important thing required Saturday was a win. When Towles threw the pick six, it became clear that the only way Vandy had a chance was if Kentucky gave them the game with mistakes. Play calls that limited any possibility of mistakes were the rule and we ended up with a victory, but no beauty points…like a Tubby SEC game.

The above may sound like I am complaining but I am really not. As I said on radio, after a three year SEC losing streak, all I wanted was a win, no matter how it came. The thought process of the coaches makes sense to me and I don’t expect this to be any type of pattern. Kentucky’s chance to get a statement win (although it is less of a statement after their loss Saturday) against South Carolina is next week, at night, in front of what may be the best UK crowd in seven years. Vandy was an obstacle that simply had to be hurdled to reach that moment. But I also think it is safe to say that none of us will spend this week watching this “battle” on repeat on the SEC Network. We won and thats enough…which is good, because there isn’t a whole lot else to remember.

AWWWW Spurrier:

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DAMIEN HARRIS IS KING

One of the more entertaining sporting events I have ever attended was Friday night at Madison Southern as I saw Damien Harris and his team play against South Laurel in a thrilling game. I could go on and on about the event (and probably will tomorrow on radio) but here is the short and sweet of it. Damien Harris is as good a high school football player as I have seen. He had seven touchdowns on 21 carries, put together some of the most impressive runs I have ever seen in person and showcased why he is the #1 Running Back in America. While South Laurel had zero wins on the season and Madison Southern was undefeated, the game was still a 54-51 thrill fest that saw one of the more amazing endings I have ever seen. After South Laurel came down and took a late three point lead, Damien Harris went down with what looked to be a terrible injury. During the kickoff return, he was brought down on a shoestring tackle and he stayed on the ground screaming in agony. It turned out it was simply cramps, but in person it seemed much worse and as the stadium went silent, a great night seemed on the verge of a terrible one. He got up, walked away and then the last 14 seconds happened. You can see them on this video below which is definitely worth a watch:

Amazing stuff. It capped on a great day in Berea, where hundreds of UK fans showed up to the game wearing Blue, which was a real treat. UK fans heeded the call and there was Blue everywhere, which had to make a real impression. After a great interview on KSR that morning and the heroics of the evening, there is no doubt that Harris is star #1 with the UK fan base and his decision will now be even more followed. What he will do is anyone’s guess….I stood next to Alabama and Florida assistants who were there watching the game and I am sure they too were impressed. But I like where Kentucky stands with him, and if I had to guess I would say that Kentucky and Alabama will fight to the end for his services (I think Ohio State is third). But in the end, only Damien knows and we shall see what he does. But regardless, he is a tremendous kid with an unbelievable future and he gave us one heck of a night Friday for those that were there to see it.

And with that, we are back to it on radio tomorrow…we will review Vandy game and more, while also having some fun. I leave you with this, the Indiana kicker wearing football “Shorts” and showcasing that no matter what the sport, Indiana is Indiana

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4 Star WR Commit Will Miss Remainder of Season

(@ShowTime_Stump)

(@ShowTime_Stump)

A series of unfortunate events occurred this week for one of UK’s 2015 commitments.  4-star WR, Alex Stump, who committed to Kentucky in May, suffered a torn ligament in his foot and will miss the rest of this season.  

“I had surgery Friday,” Stump told Eleven Warriors. “I was at the doctor’s all last week and this sort of was all thrown on me at once. It sucks because that’s not how I want my career at Ed’s to end, but I’ve got to work and get better and be better than ever now.”

The injury occurred during a game in which he had 11 catches for 109 yards.  Unfortunately for Kentucky, Stump received an offer from Ohio St. afterwards, and it looks like Stump could soon flip his commitment.  He’s stated that OSU is his dream school.

“My dad and I called Urban Meyer on Friday,” he said. “He basically said ‘Hey, injuries happen and we still want you to be a Buckeye.’”

No matter where Stump decides to play, we wish him the best of luck and a quick recovery.  UK can really use another talented receiver like Alex to go along with its recent additions.

“I’m really just taking my time with things,” he added. “I’ve got to weigh the options and see what’s the best fit for me.”


Friday evening Damien Harris first half update: He’s still good

@dteague23

With coaches from Florida and Alabama crashing the party, Damien Harris is putting on a show for Big Blue Nation. His first two carries? Touchdown runs of 65 and 50 yards. The 65-yarder was the first snap of the game.

Scroll down to catch him in the second half on the live stream — if he plays the second half. I believe he is up to 250+ yards and four TDs as the second quarter comes to a close.

Dude’s silly good.


LIVE STREAM: Madison Southern (Damien Harris) vs. South Laurel


A quick look at which recruits are visiting for UK/Vandy

A quick look at which recruits are visiting for UK/Vandy

CJ Conrad

CJ Conrad and the creepy Wildcat

Tomorrow’s game against Vandy is huge for many reasons, including recruiting. Several top recruits are going to be in town including Damien Harris, so let’s get to know a little bit about each of them:

2015 class

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By now, you know how important Harris could be to the future of the program. He maintains that he has no leader, but word is he will take his official visit to Kentucky tomorrow. Harris says that seeing improvement from Kentucky will factor into his decision, so an impressive performance is doubly important for the Cats tomorrow.

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COMMITTED. Conrad committed to Kentucky back in May, and is one of the stars of the Cats’ 2015 recruiting class. This will be his first trip to Lexington this season.

2016 class

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Angel is looking at both Kentucky and Vanderbilt, along with Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Notre Dame. The ‘Dores are currently the favorite in his Crystal Ball, but the UK staff has made him a priority as of late.

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Another talented in-state running back with Kentucky high on his list, Baker is the son of former Wildcat great Al Baker and has mentioned how special it would be to follow in his father’s footsteps. The Cats are currently a 100% favorite in his Crystal Ball.

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Tisdale is considered a 3-star by Rivals, and holds offer from UK, Ohio State, Louisville, Miami, Illinois, Temple, and UAB, along with interest from Auburn and Florida State. UK’s made a big push for him lately, but Ohio State is the favorite in his Crystal Ball.

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Lowe doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky yet, but has interest from the Cats, along with Louisville, Maryland, and Ole Miss.

2017 class

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Johnson may only be a sophomore, but he’s already got offers from Kentucky, Penn State, Tennessee, and Purdue, along with interest from almost a dozen major schools. He camped at UK over the summer, and says he really likes Neal Brown.

#BeatVandy


Listen to Damien Harris on Kentucky Sports Radio


South Carolina DE commit still planning to take official visit to UK

Three-star defensive end Quandeski Whitlow committed to South Carolina over the summer, but according to Justin Rowland, he’s still planning to take an official visit to Kentucky this fall. Whitlow is the cousin of former UK QB Jalen Whitlow, and considered the 30th best weak-side defensive end in the country. He camped at Kentucky in June, and many thought the Cats would get him, but an offer from the Gamecocks during a visit was too good to refuse.

After Whitlow committed to South Carolina, the staff turned their sights on Darius Fullwood, who decommitted from Kentucky earlier this week. Whitlow maintains he’s still solidly committed to Spurrier and company, but getting him on campus can’t hurt, right?


Damien Harris says he’d rather play in a pro-style, traditional offense than a spread offense

Damien Harris says he’d rather play in a pro-style, traditional offense than a spread offense

Damien Harris just finished his interview on Kentucky Sports Radio, and came across as one of the most mature, poised recruits the guys have interviewed. Harris’s final five are Alabama, Ohio State, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Florida, and he said before the interview that he will make his announcement on December 12, not December 13 as originally planned.

Where do the Cats stand with Harris? He said although he wasn’t interested in Kentucky until Stoops came, he’s glad he gave Mark Stoops the opportunity to recruit him. “It really paid off because look where they are now,” Harris said of Kentucky. “Granted, they aren’t undefeated, but there are definitely signs of improvement.” Harris also said that he really likes the family-first feeling around the Kentucky program, which is a very important factor in his decision.

While all of that sounds very encouraging for Kentucky, Harris also talked about how he’d like to play at a school with a great tradition, and if he had his chance, he’d like to play in a traditional, pro-style offense rather than a spread offense, which Kentucky uses. “If I had to choose, I’d definitely like to play a pro-style traditional offense, but if I were to go to a school with a spread game plan, I’d just have to adjust as a player, you know, get better as a spread running back.” Of the schools on his list, Alabama probably fits the pro-style traditional offense the best, but Harris said that’s not the only factor in his decision.

When asked, Harris maintained that he doesn’t have a favorite right now. “No, I have no idea. I promise. There is no–I don’t have a favorite right now, there is no top school,” Harris said. Does he feel pressure to stay home and be a hero at Kentucky? Yes. 

“There’s always a lot of pressure. Just people who have, growing up, become a huge part of my life. They’re from here, and you want the people you grew up with and were a part of the process, you want them to come and watch you play every Saturday, with the exception of away games. It would be easy to come back home, it’s only a 20-minute drive. Coming back to see the people that have positively impacted my life, it’s a lot of pressure. At the same time, if that’s not best for me, I can’t do that just because this is where I’m from. Not saying that Kentucky’s not the place for me–I don’t know. But I don’t really let that affect my decision. I think about it, but it’s not one of the top things I look at as far as making my decision. I just have to do what’s best for me from a football standpoint.”

Make of that what you will. We’ll have audio of the interview up in just a little bit.


Damien Harris tells KSR he will make his announcement on December 12, not December 13

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Damien Harris is currently wrapping up his interview with Matt on the radio show, but sleuth reporter Ryan Lemond is reporting that Damien told the guys before the interview that he’ll make his announcement on Friday, December 12, not December 13 as originally planned.

More notes from his interview in just a bit…

 


Damien Harris will be on KSR tomorrow at 11:05 a.m.

(@Damien_D1Harris)

(@Damien_D1Harris)

In case you haven’t checked this website all week, tomorrow’s show will take place at Madison Southern as KSR invades Berea for Damien Harris’ game against South Laurel. Matt and Ryan will be live outside the Madison Southern cafeteria from 10 a.m. to noon, and at 11:05 a.m., Harris will join the guys for an interview. Harris doesn’t talk about his recruitment a lot, so this will be one interview you don’t want to miss. On Saturday, Harris will take his official visit to Kentucky for the Vanderbilt game.

The show is closed to the public, but we encourage all of you to come join us at the Madison Southern/South Laurel game tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. Wear blue to show your support of Harris and encourage one of the best recruits in Kentucky history to come be a hero in Lexington.


On Friday, wear blue and pack Madison Southern’s game for Damien Harris

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Damien Harris and Madison Southern play South Laurel Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Berea, and KSR is going to pack the stands with UK blue to show our support for the talented running back. As you surely know by now, Harris is considered the top running back in the country, and has Kentucky in his final five, along with Ohio State, Florida, Alabama, and Texas A&M. Harris claims he doesn’t have a favorite, but he’s planning on taking an official visit to UK this weekend, and what better way to tug at his home state heart strings than a huge showing of UK fans at his game Friday night?

The guys will also be doing the radio show from Madison Southern on Friday morning, but it won’t be open to the public. But, come on out Friday afternoon and evening to party with the KSR crew and make a good impression on a very important recruit.

Friday night. Madison Southern High School. Wear blue.


Darius Fullwood commits to Virginia Tech, another DE plans to visit UK this weekend

Well that didn’t take long. Much like my ex-girlfriend, Darius Fullwood didn’t need more than a day to move on. Less than 24 hours after decommitting from UK, the three-star defensive end is in a new relationship with Virginia Tech.

But unlike me, Stoops isn’t going to Tin Roof for post-breakup cocktails with the boys. He hopes to have another highly-touted defensive end, Kengera Daniel, in Lexington soon. Scout.com’s Patrick Loney reports Daniel plans to check out UK for the South Carolina game.

Daniel has offers from schools like Alabama, Michigan, Tennessee and Miami. Kentucky currently leads his Crystal Ball race with 82 percent of the vote.

#OnToTheNextOne


Darius Fullwood decommits from UK

Early commitments don’t always pan out in college football recruiting. They’re always far from a lock, especially when committing before the first game of their senior season. Tonight, Darius Fullwood proved it’s never a done deal until Signing Day by decommitting from the University of Kentucky via Twitter. Fullwood, who committed to UK on June 28 with good friend Jabari Greenwood, is re-opening his recruitment one day after a visit to Virginia Tech.

Yesterday the three-star defensive end said Virginia Tech has been on him longer than any other program and there is a strong possibility of flip. This would be the first step in flipping.


Someone made a video about CJ Conrad

Someone made a video about CJ Conrad

CJ Conrad is one of UK’s top 2015 commitments. Considered the 8th best tight end in the country by 247 Sports, Conrad was invited to The Opening, where he played alongside top target Damien Harris. Sports Stars of Tomorrow posted a profile of Conrad yesterday in which you can learn more about him and see some of his highlights. You can also see him wearing this great UK hat:

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Will Darius Fullwood flip to Virginia Tech?

3-star weak-side defensive end Darius Fullwood committed to Kentucky back in June, but this past weekend, took a visit to Virginia Tech that has many worried he’ll flip and commit to the Hokies. Fullwood tolk 247 Sports’ Evan G. Watkins there’s a “strong possibility” Virginia Tech could pry him away from Kentucky, and he will make a final decision between Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and Maryland “in the next week.” If you read the tweet leaves, it doesn’t look good for the Cats, as Fullwood has removed all mention of UK from his profile.

Even if Fullwood decommits (which would be a shame), Kentucky has other options at defensive end, including Jason Stowbridge, who committed last weekend and Kengera Daniel, who has the Cats in his top five. Still, landing Fullwood and his friend Jabari Greenwood was a big deal, as both are high profile recruits in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area. Here’s hoping he comes to his senses in the next week.

[247 Sports]