Guy Morriss is fighting a battle he cannot win. In an interview with WKYT, the →
Football Recruiting News
The train keeps rolling for Mark Stoops and company, as the UK football staff extended offers to 8 high school players yesterday. The full player rundown comes from Josh Edwards at 247Sports:
Kentucky has offered Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely cornerback Jamari Brown (6-foot-3, 180), Columbus (Ohio) Northland 2019 running back John Branham Jr. (5-foot-9.5, 195), Anderson (S.C.) Westside kicker Chance Poore (6-foot-3, 200), Hollywood (Fla.) Blanche Ely wide receiver Akeem Hayes (5-foot-10, 175), Miami (Fla.) Norland 2019 offensive tackle Wardrick Wilson (6-foot-4, 295), Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit 2019 tight end Larry Hodges (6-foot-2, 198), Miami (Fla.) Central wide receiver Davonta Wilson (6-foot, 184) and Melbourne (Fla.) Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy 2021 running back KeyShawn Spencer (5-foot-10, 173).
That is what you call casting a wide net.
Of particular note is Akeem Hayes, a 3-star WR in the 2018 class who has actually already committed to Louisville. That would be a fun poach.
You can see the full post and more details on each recruit right here.
Of Kentucky’s nine commits in the 2018 football recruiting class, Shocky Jacques-Louis is one of the most popular players. It’s not based on his play; it’s his awesome name. Just saying his name is fun, but watching him play football is pretty fun too.
Last night was Jacques-Louis’ spring game in Florida. The 6’1″ three-star wide receiver had 4 catches for 135 yards and 3 touchdowns.
His touchdown on the deep post to start the highlight video might wow the most, but the other two impressed me more. He caught a check-down screen pass, didn’t have a block, yet still got around five defenders in 15 yards for a score. His spin move on the inside-out route broke the defender’s neck before impressively accelerating through the defense.
One of my favorite commits in Mark Stoops’ 2018 class, wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis, announced Thursday afternoon that Michigan State has extended him a scholarship offer.
— Shocky Jacques-louis (@ShockyMVP) May 18, 2017
Jacques-Louis committed to Kentucky almost one month ago over several offers, including one from Louisville, and now one of the Cats’ big competitors on the recruiting trail has thrown its name in the hat for his services.
College football recruiting can be so frustrating.
By Nick Roush on ©May 17th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
After receiving a handful of big commits over the last two weeks, the Kentucky coaching staff has one of the best athletes in the class in their crosshairs.
L’Christian “Blue” Smith is a 6’5″ outside wide receiver that is considered the No. 1 athlete in the nation and No. 29 prospect overall by Rivals. A teammate of Alex Reigelsperger at national powerhouse Wayne High School, Vince Marrow has a long-standing relationship with Smith and his peers recognize it.
At last weekend’s Rivals camp in Columbus, they asked fellow prospects to predict the destination of Smith and other prospects. All four recruits that were polled believe Smith will end up at Kentucky. Defensive end Tyreke Smith, a Kentucky target from Cleveland, summed it up best.
“I think he will end up at Kentucky. I think he fits in their offense, his teammate is committed down there, it looks like he has a good relationship with the coaching staff and he has been down there a lot.”
Another Kentucky target, Louisville Waggener four-star cornerback Jairus Brents, was one of the top defensive back performers at the camp. Unfortunately, his peers tend to believe he’s leaning toward Alabama and Louisville.
Rivals did not ask for predictions on four-star tight end/defensive end Leonard Taylor, but they did talk to Taylor about his recent visit to Kentucky.
“I enjoyed myself and I like it down in Kentucky,” Taylor said. “They are just trying to get me to be part of a good program and they are coming along real well.”
Right now, Kentucky and Ohio State appear to be at the top of Taylor’s list. Ohio State wants him to play defense, while the Cats want him on offense. Right now, he has no preference of position and does not plan on making a decision anytime soon.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Jarren Williams announced his commitment to the University of Kentucky on Monday for the second time, ending a roller coaster of a recruitment for the Big Blue Nation. (Hopefully.)
When he committed the first time last summer, Williams was the first on the board from the Class of 2018. Then things got a little crazy, Cats fans panicked, and now all is right in the world again.
So as we get caught back up with Kentucky’s next big QB, let’s take a ride down Memory Lane in this timeline of events of the last year.
March 25, 2016: Williams took his first unofficial visit to Kentucky.
Williams and some other talented Georgia prospects made a trip to Lexington to check out the University of Kentucky in late March of Williams’ sophomore year, marking the beginning of a strong relationship between the program and the young recruit.
March 26, 2016: Louisville became the first school to offer Williams.
One day after visiting Kentucky, Williams and friends drove over to Louisville to check out the Cardinals’ Saturday practice. He left with a UofL scholarship offer, his first of many offers to come.
Lamar Jackson was one of the main drivers behind his early interest the Cards.
April 2, 2016: Florida State gave Williams his second scholarship offer.
One week after receiving an offer from Louisville, Williams was extended a scholarship offer from Florida State during an unofficial visit to Tallahassee for a ‘Noles scrimmage.
As was the case with Lamar Jackson and Louisville, Williams liked what Jimbo Fisher and the FSU staff did with Jameis Winston.
April 16, 2016: Williams visited his home state school, the University of Georgia, for its spring game.
Williams made his first trip to Georgia for G-Day, the annual spring scrimmage.
April 29, 2016: Williams received a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
A little over a month after his recruiting tour of the Bluegrass, Williams finally received an offer from the Wildcats. Darin Hinshaw, the lead recruiter for UK in Williams’ recruitment, made the trip to Central Gwinnett High School to extend the offer after seeing Williams had made some tweaks to his throwing motion at Hinshaw’s encouragement.
May 3, 2016: Scholarship offer No. 4.
Days after Kentucky gave him his third scholarship offer before the summer after his sophomore year, the University of Colorado came through with a fourth offer.
May 10, 2016: South Florida made it five offers, plus many, many more in May.
Many more would follow South Florida’s offer throughout the month of May. On the 13th he received his sixth offer, from Colorado State, after Central Gwinnett’s spring game; West Virginia would offer on the 16th; Boston College and Maryland each offered on the 18th; followed by Houston on May 27th.
By the time June rolled around, Williams held 10 scholarship offers from around college football.
June 8, 2016: Williams returned to Lexington for summer camp.
Now a hot QB name in the south, Williams made the trip back to Lexington in early June for one of Kentucky’s summer camps, where he stood out among all campers.
During a break in the action, Williams tweeted, “I’m loving it up here #BBN,” which further proved the momentum was moving in the Cats’ favor.
June 16, 2016: Ohio State, Mississippi State in to see Williams at Central Gwinnett camp.
Ohio State and Mississippi State, as well as many others, were in Lawrenceville to watch Williams and his Central Gwinnett teammates in the high school’s elite football camp. OSU head coach Urban Meyer spent some one-on-one time with Williams going over some passing drills, but left town without offering a scholarship.
June 19, 2016: Williams COMMITTED TO KENTUCKY.
Williams took to Twitter to announce his commitment to the Wildcats, telling his followers, “After careful evaluation, I am excited to announce that I have officially committed to the University of Kentucky. I would like to thank my parents for their guidance and support throughout this arduous process. I would like to thank my head coach and all the coaches who played a role in my development. With that said, I am looking forward to joining my new family.”
Big Blue Nation exploded with excitement for the first commitment from the Class of 2018 and the future face of the program.
July 17, 2016: Sunday Night Lights camp in Lexington.
Williams returned to Kentucky once again to help recruit more talent from the 2017 and 2018 classes at UK’s Sunday Night Lights camp. Once a major UK target, Williams became a UK targeter and recruiter himself after announcing his commitment.
September 17, 2016: Williams visited Louisville and Kentucky in one day.
Although he was committed to Kentucky at the time, Williams was in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium to catch some of ESPN College GameDay and Louisville’s Sept. 17 game against Florida State. He then made his way to Lexington to see Kentucky host New Mexico State in the Cats’ third game of the season, his first time in Commonwealth Stadium for a UK game.
Williams insisted the Louisville visit was only to see two quarterbacks he admired and that his UK commitment remained solid.
November 2, 2016: South Carolina offered a scholarship.
After some insane numbers throughout his junior season, South Carolina jumped on board the Jarren Williams train by extending him a scholarship offer.
November 10, 2016: Williams invited to U.S. Army All-American combine.
Held in January each year, the U.S. Army All-American combine invites the best underclassmen nationwide to San Antonio for the national combine at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
November 21, 2016: The U offered Williams.
Mark Richt in pursuit of the hot quarterback from his old stomping grounds. It was Williams’ 12th scholarship offer at the time and the second since he committed to Kentucky.
November 29, 2016: Louisville visited Williams in Georgia.
Bobby Petrino’s staff continued to fight the good fight despite Williams being committed to the rival school.
November 30, 2016: Mark Stoops and Darin Hinshaw visited.
Stoops and Hinshaw checked in on their prized commitment at his high school on the third day of the fall contact period, one day after Louisville sent coaches.
December 30, 2016: Williams participated in Georgia’s Rising Senior Bowl.
Williams competed against fellow junior standouts from the state of Georgia in Atlanta’s Rising Senior Bowl. He connected on five of seven passes for 21 yards in a losing effort.
January 18, 2017: Mississippi State offered Williams.
Fast forward to January when another SEC school threw an offer at Williams, making 13 offers on the offer sheet. Many more to come…
January 28, 2017: Williams visits Kentucky again.
This time Williams was in town for Junior Day in Lexington.
January 31, 2017: Missouri offered.
Offer No. 14 in hand, yet another one from the SEC.
February 4, 2017: Tennessee offered.
Big Blue Nation slowly began to panic.
February 17, 2017: Michigan State offered.
March 14, 2017: Ole Miss offered.
March 18, 2017: LSU offered.
March 23, 2017: Florida offered.
Williams now with offers from over half of the SEC.
April 9, 2017: Arizona State offered.
No. 20, this time out of the Pac-12.
April 11, 2017: Alabama offered.
“Alabama?! Here we go again,” we all thought.
April 14, 2017: Williams visited Kentucky for Blue-White game.
Good time today with my bro🤘💯 pic.twitter.com/g8V9UlGg2M
— J D U B💰💫 (@Jarren2Williams) April 15, 2017
Wildcats barely hanging on to that commitment, now that Williams is one of the hottest names in the game.
April 19, 2017: Kansas State offered.
April 24, 2017: Williams DECOMMITTED FROM KENTUCKY.
“After much thought and prayer, I have decided to decommit from Kentucky and open up my recruitment,” he wrote in a note on Twitter. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I want to make sure that I make the best informed decision regarding my future. Please respect my decision as I will not be doing any interviews regarding my decommitment.”
It was an understandable decision, considering the long list of new offers on the table from some of the sport’s top programs.
May 4, 2017: Georgia offered, Kentucky visited
Kirby Smart trying to keep one of Georgia’s star QBs at home, while Vince Marrow and Darrin Hinshaw made the trip to get their former commitment back on board.
May 7, 2017: Williams invited to Elite 11 Finals.
— Elite11 (@Elite11) May 15, 2017
He will go to Los Angeles in early June to compete against the best of the best quarterbacks in one of high school football’s premier events.
Fun Fact: 10 of the last 11 Heisman-winning quarterbacks were Elite 11 participants.
May 15: Jarren Williams RECOMMITS TO KENTUCKY.
On our very own KSR radio show, Jarren Williams announced to the world that he has recommitted to Kentucky and this time it is for good. He explained the decision to reopen his recruitment by telling us, “The reason I decommitted was because talking to the coaches and stuff and my parents, we had decided to take some more visits and do camps. Being the face of the class, out of respect for the university, I thought it would be best to go ahead and decommit. That was that and talking to Coach Hinshaw and Coach Stoops and praying about it a lot, I just really got that feeling that this was the spot for me and we just decided to shut it all down and come back home.”
When asked if he’s fully back on board for good, Williams said, “Oh yeah, this is it. I’m shutting it down. This is it now. I know where my heart belongs. I’m committed 100%. I’m shutting it all down.”
Great day to get outside and play your favorite dice game. 🎲 pic.twitter.com/C6s0W6jbg0
— The Kentucky Wildcat (@The_Wildcat) May 15, 2017
The last two weeks on the recruiting front have been two of the best during Mark Stoops’ tenure. Since April 30, the class of 2018 has added four impact recruits: a trio of offensive linemen and quarterback Jarren Williams.
Now the 21st ranked recruiting class in the nation, third in the SEC, here’s what Stoops has in the eight-man class, along with his top remaining targets.
Elite Offensive Linemen
Before April 30, Kentucky had zero offensive linemen in the class. Since then John Schlarman has had plenty to smile about.
The first piece to fall was Darian Kinnard. The lowest-ranked of the offensive line recruits as the No. 32 offensive tackle, he has the desired measurables at 6’7″ 335 pounds. From St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, he’s already gained valuable experience playing for Chuck Kyle, a coach who’s won three national titles.
Michigan’s Marquan McCall was an important addition to the offensive line and to Kentucky’s recruiting strategy. The first Michigan commit for Mark Stoops, Steve Clinkscale convinced the best player in the state of Michigan to turn down Jim Harbaugh and leave home for Lexington. The No. 4 offensive guard in the class and Top 100 player overall has exceptional size (6’4′ 320 pounds) for an agile interior lineman.
Pass Rushers with Great Teammates
Kentucky’s first commitment in the class came from a Florida defensive end who excels with his hand in the dirt. Mark Stoops has groomed some phenomenal outside linebackers but has struggled to find five and three-technique defensive ends who are tasked to play with the big dogs in the trenches. At 6’4″ 250 pounds, Davoan Hawkins has what it takes to play inside with the big dogs. From Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida, he also brought a teammate to Kentucky, wide receiver Marvin Alexander.
Alex Reigelsperger tends to trend more to the outside linebacker mold. The most vocal member of the 2018 class, he quickly emerged as a leader. His next and most important task: convince L’Christian “Blue” Smith, his Wayne High School teammate, to join him in Lexington.
A Program-Changing Quarterback
I don’t care how many great recruiting classes Mark Stoops has, it’s hard to do anything without above-average quarterback play. Of all the things that made last season two wins better than the previous two, consistent quarterback play deserves most of the credit. Kentucky has found some consistency; Jarren Williams is the dynamic playmaker that can take Kentucky to places never before seen.
For the people who prefer rankings, the dual-threat quarterback is just a three-star, but that won’t last long. An Elite 11 finalist, he’ll be a four-star, Top 150 recruit when it’s all said and done.
Williams currently has three passing targets to choose from in the class: tight end Brenden Bates and wide receivers Marvin Alexander and Shockey Jacques-Louis. There will be a few more offensive weapons needed at running back and one special wide receiver.
L’Christian “Blue” Smith
They don’t make outside wide receivers much better than Blue Smith. The Top Five wide receiver does everything well — catches jump balls, creates separation at the line of scrimmage, gets yards after catch. You name it, he does it He also is/was Wayne High School teammates with two UK guys, Alex Reigelsperger and Tobias Gilliam. Kentucky is in a good position with Blue, but Ohio State looms.
Tyler Bentley and Xavier Peters
If Kentucky could land the dynamic duo from Lakota West High School (Cincinnati), it would bring superstar power to two positions of need, inside linebacker and defensive tackle.
The recruitment of Bentley, a Top 50 defensive tackle, was initially a two-horse race between Kentucky and Louisville. He decided to push a summer decision back once the big dogs got involved: Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Florida and LSU. Still, the Cats are the 247 Crystal Ball favorites.
As Jordan Jones and Courtney Love’s time at Kentucky nears a conclusion, Stoops turns to Xavier Peters. A consensus four-star Top 250 prospect and an Opening Finalist, Penn State is Kentucky’s toughest competition for the elite linebacker, even though he has an Alabama offer.
A defensive end from Cleveland Heights High School, the home of Dorian Baker, he’s one of the ten best pass rushers in the country and a Top 150 player overall. Today he trimmed his list to 12 and the Cats made the cut. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and USC are the early leaders, but he told Rivals, “I am definitely going to go see Kentucky.”
A Running Back
Benny Snell and Sihiem King will be finished at UK after the 2018 season, leaving just three running backs on the roster. This position of need will likely be filled by a late-emerging target who surfaces in the middle of the season.
Another Michigan Kid
When Steve Clinckscale first went to Michigan, McCall wasn’t the only player to see on his agenda. Many of the elite athletes he offered were younger, following Kentucky’s “Find ’em First” approach, but there will likely be one or two more from the Great Lake State to follow in McCall’s footsteps in the class of ’18. One name to keep an eye on: DeAndre Square, a Top 25 safety in the class.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 3:30pm
Four-star dual threat quarterback Jarren Williams is back on board and chose to announce the big news in a big way: on your favorite radio show, Kentucky Sports Radio. In case you missed his announcement early this morning, you can hear it at the 10:53 mark of the first hour:
While you’re at it, check out hour two, which includes more UK news and plenty of randomness, including a girl scout cookie theft and an Avril Lavigne conspiracy:
By the way, Avril Lavigne is totally alive.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 2:30pm
Last week, the NCAA approved an early signing period for football, which will run from December 20-22, allowing players who want to go ahead and shut down their recruitments the chance to do so. The early signing period was a popular topic on today’s SEC Coaches Teleconference, and when asked, Mark Stoops said the staff will definitely use it to lock in players who are ready to sign in December.
“I think yes, definitely. If we feel very comfortable with the player and we have a good feel for them personally, for their character and their families and we can get it knocked out, I definitely think we would use it to try and get them locked up.”
While the early signing period is generally seen as a win for programs like Kentucky, Stoops was careful to point out that it could have drawbacks, such as the effect it will have on the recruiting calendar.
“I think, like I said, there’s good and bad. If you look through the years, it certainly could have benefitted us in certain ways. I think it’s good as far as having the early signing period, having that ability. As far as changing the calendar and all those things, when you package it together I don’t think I was total in favor of that, but you have to make due with the rules that were given to you.”
“So, a player that we have committed that I know very well that we’ve had a relationship with for a year, year and a half or so, if you want to clean that up and get him signed in December, I see no harm in that. With the change and bringing in the visits so early and all that, that’s something that’s going to take some thought and we’ll work our way through that.”
In Stoops and Marrow we trust.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
As you might expect, it was a happy day for the UK coaching staff, which just reeled Jarren Williams back in to the 2018 class. The staff’s excitement spilled onto social media, starting with this tweet from quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw, who has been Williams’ primary recruiter along with Vince Marrow:
— Darin Hinshaw (@CoachHinshaw) May 15, 2017
I love it. BBN let's go.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) May 15, 2017
Marrow’s tweet may seem a little subdued, but you know he’s doing this in his office right now:
Even the official UK Twitter account got swaggy:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) May 15, 2017
Here’s Williams’ tweet after announcing the news on KSR:
— J D U B💰💫 (@Jarren2Williams) May 15, 2017
Four-star defensive end Alex Reigelsperger, the lead recruiter in the 2018 class, was ecstatic:
Got my quater back 😋🤗😎 https://t.co/sYqkc0UtRh
— Alex Reigelsperger (@a_reigelsperger) May 15, 2017
Not a bad way to start a Monday.
By Nick Roush on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 11:00am
Beating the Big Dogs, Twice
Every time a highly rated prospect commits to Kentucky, we are awed by who the Cats beat. This time it’s exponentially more impressive. Kentucky took on all comers, to the point of decommitment, yet created a strong enough bond that could not be broken by Alabama, Florida, LSU and even his home state school of Georgia. Fans may have sighed at the sight of every additional offer, while the coaching staff never flinched.
The last Mark Stoops elite recruit to decommit and recommit was Denzil Ware, a defensive star who will play in the NFL.
Being the First to Find Williams Helped
Kentucky’s ability to find talent before they blow up has transformed into a recruiting trend. Not long after UK extends an offer, other major programs quickly follow. Few schools were gauging any interest in Williams when Kentucky entered the picture. It wasn’t the deciding factor, but it definitely helped.
“It’s not a big factor, but it does hold some weight,” Williams said. “Kentucky they took me in when I didn’t have any offers and they treated me like family. They really showed me I was a priority early. That does matter to me.”
Williams created a bond with the school and the coaches early, a bond that was too strong to be broken by others.
“My heart’s always been with Kentucky,” Williams said. “When I go up there I just feel like I belong. There’s no other feeling like it.”
A Position of Need
Kentucky currently has six scholarship quarterbacks — Stephen Johnson, Drew Barker, Gunnar Hoak, Luke Wright, Danny Clark and Walker Wood — but they will not be here for long. Johnson and Wright will graduate after this year and the status of Barker’s back is unknown. Even though they picked up two quarterbacks in last year’s class, finding a piece to build around was a priority for Mark Stoops.
“I think quarterback is what everybody wants to discuss all the time,” Mark Stoops told the Herald-Leader last week. “And let’s face it, you need to have a good one and you need to have some depth there. That’s a position that’s very unique because, generally speaking, they need to pick a program and you need to pick your guy because you get that marriage very early because it’s such an important position…
…It’s critically important. It’s very hard to have a great team without a great quarterback.”
A Quarterback for the Future
Williams fills a necessary void in the recruiting class with skills that are rarely seen in a Kentucky uniform. We’ve seen a few scramblers, but not with this passing caliber. His mechanics are exceptional. There’s little wasted movement in his powerful throw. It’s difficult to determine a passer’s poise and decision-making from a highlight reel, but Williams always looks confident with the ball in his hands.
Above all else, Williams is a program-changing player. When Charlie Strong signed Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville went from being an above average team, to a team that beat up Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Conversely, Will Muschamp never had a program-changing quarterback at Florida. They were good, but could never get over the hump because of the quarterback position.
Mark Stoops has the Cats “knocking down doors.” He now has a quarterback to take Kentucky to new heights.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 10:20am
If you’re listening to Kentucky Sports Radio, then you just heard the exciting news: four-star dual threat quarterback Jarren Williams just recommitted to Kentucky live on air.
“I’m recommitting to Kentucky,” Williams said on KSR. “I prayed about it and my heart has always been with Kentucky, so I’m making that move.”
After receiving offers from schools like Alabama, Florida, and LSU, the 6’2″ Georgia native reopened his recruitment on April 24, a decision he said he actually made out of respect to Kentucky, not wanting to give the program or staff a bad look while he took additional visits.
“The reason I decommitted was because talking to the coaches and stuff and my parents, we had decided to take some more visits and do camps. Being the face of the class, out of respect for the university, I thought it would be best to go ahead and decommit. That was that and talking to Coach Hinshaw and Coach Stoops and praying about it a lot, I just really got that feeling that this was the spot for me and we just decided to shut it all down and come back home.”
Vince Marrow and Darin Hinshaw visited Williams at his high school as recently as this weekend to see him play in his spring game. Coaches from the University of Georgia were also there after offering Williams on May 4, but Williams’ loyalty to the UK coaching staff was stronger than the pull to play for his home state school.
“I knew that I’d always be surrounded by great people,” Williams said of Kentucky. “They’ve always been up front about everything and I know I could trust them. They’ve always supported me, even the fans, they’ve been very supportive. That’s the kind of stuff that stands out to me. All the glamour and all that stuff, that doesn’t make my decision. It’s about the little stuff, being able to trust in the Lord Jesus. When I go up there, I just get that feeling. This is where I belong. There’s no other feeling like it.”
There’s a long ways to go until Signing Day, but the fact that Williams recommitted in spite of offers from the best programs in the country — including his home state Bulldogs — is a very good sign this pledge will stick. From here, Williams will resume his role as one of the lead recruiters in Kentucky’s 2018 class, which he will represent in the Elite 11 Finals June 2-4 in Los Angeles.
“Oh yeah, this is it,” Williams said when asked if this was his final decision. “I’m shutting it down. This is it now. I know where my heart belongs. I’m committed 100%. I’m shutting it all down.”
Stay tuned for more on Williams’ commitment as the day goes on.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 15th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Greetings all, and welcome to a new week. Shoutout to KSR and UK fan Nick for repping the Cats at the Parthenon. Sure, it may be the full-scale replica that’s here in Nashville — built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition — but it’s still impressive and in close proximity to plenty of great hot chicken places and craft breweries. Nick, I hope you took advantage of all that.
Before I call Prince’s to see if they’re open at 9 a.m., let’s roll through the top ten, because that’s probably a decision that I’d regret later today.
1. Sorting through the aftermath of the NBA Combine
The NBA Draft Combine finally wrapped up yesterday in Chicago, and for Kentucky fans, there were two main takeaways: 1) Hamidou Diallo’s measurements/agility piqued the interest of several teams; and 2) De’Aaron Fox did himself some favors. We’ll start with Diallo, who has nine days left to make the decision to stay in the draft or come back to Kentucky. After doing some reading, it seems that Diallo’s 44.5″ vertical and 6’11.25″ wingspan were enough to make NBA teams want to hear more. According to Chad Ford, Diallo is now viewed as an “intriguing” prospect that could go in the 20’s, whereas if he stayed at Kentucky and had a good season, could go in the top 10 of the 2018 draft. The speculation surrounding Diallo is overwhelming and, honestly, a bit exhausting, but we’ll keep bringing you the news as it happens.
2. De’Aaron Fox charmed everyone
The other big takeaway of the Combine to me was the emergence of De’Aaron Fox. Fox was one of the few projected top 10 prospects to actually attend the Combine, and that decision seems to have worked in his favor. Fox charmed everyone, to the point that Chad Ford believes many squads would pick him over Lonzo Ball, putting him in contention for the second or third pick. That’s huge.
One of the many media opps Fox did this week:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 13, 2017
Fox seems primed to become the next great ambassador of Kentucky Basketball. Let’s hope he lands somewhere good.
3. The NBA Draft Lottery is tomorrow
Here are the latest odds:
4. It’s Game 7 for Wizards/Celtics
Friday night was the night John Wall told the world that he’s an NBA superstar. Wall quietly put together an impressive regular season, and when some haters — cough, Cowherd, cough — still questioned that he had the talent and charisma to be among the league’s elite, he made a statement Friday night. After the buzzer sounded following his game-winning three, Wall leapt on the scorer’s table and motioned to the Washington crowd to get loud. The pictures and video of the moment have been everywhere, but this perspective from the crowd may be my favorite:
Tonight, the Wizards and Celtics will meet one final time in Boston to decide the series, the winner of which will advance to play the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals. That game tips at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
5. UK Baseball swept the Vols
UK Baseball made Senior Weekend one to remember by sweeping Tennessee at The Cliff. After a date with Northern Kentucky on Tuesday, the Bat Cats will turn their sights to a crucial weekend showdown with Florida with the SEC championship on the line. The Cats (36-16, 18-9 SEC) will need to win at least two of three games to claim a piece of the division – and possibly overall – crown in coach Nick Mingione’s first season as head coach.
We’ve said it a lot, but what Mingione has done this season is incredible. Keep it up, fellas.
6. The football team landed a three-star center
Mark Stoops added an eighth member to his 2018 class this weekend in the form of three-star center Quintin Wilson. Wilson is the third offensive lineman in the 2018 class and the fourth recruit from the state of Ohio, aka Vince Marrow land. UK’s 2018 class is now ranked 22nd in 247 Sports’ rankings, and Alex Reigelsperger, who has seized the role of lead recruiter, says more Yahtzees are coming soon:
#22 class and yall don't even know 2 more we got coming 😭😧 woooooooooo
— Alex Reigelsperger (@a_reigelsperger) May 14, 2017
7. UK Softball will host a regional
Last night, the UK Softball team drew the No. 14 national seed in the 2017 NCAA Softball Championships, and will serve as regional hosts this weekend at John Cropp Stadium. Illinois, Marshall and DePaul will come to town for the double-elimination style bracket, the winner of which will advance to the super regionals. Kentucky will open play on Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET against DePaul, which will be shown live on ESPN 3/WatchESPN.
Tickets are available now at the UK Ticket Office, so make plans to go support the ladies this weekend.
8. My Preds dropped Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals
Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals started well for the Nashville Predators, who quickly leapt to a 2-0 lead, but Anaheim didn’t give up, eventually winning by a final score of 5-3. Thankfully, Nashville won Game 1, so the series is tied at 1-1, and now comes home to Bridgestone Arena, which will be absolutely nuts on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Hopefully I can be there on Tuesday to cheer them on before leaving for vacation. Either way, I’m taking jersey with me to Italy.
9. Julius Randle won Mother’s Day
Shoutout to Julius Randle for a very impressive and creative Mother’s Day gift for his fiancée, Kendra. Guys, good luck topping this one:
10. Some big news is going to drop on today’s show
I suggest you be by your radio at 10 a.m. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By Nick Roush on ©May 14th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Cincinnati center Quintin Wilson has committed to Kentucky. The 6’3″ 290-pound three-star recruit used his commitment as a gift to his mom on Mother’s Day.
Considered the No. 8 center in the country, the Walnut Hills High School star chose Kentucky over Duke, Virginia, Cincinnati and Minnesota. Wilson becomes the third offensive lineman in the eight-man 2018 class and the fourth from the state of Ohio. 247 Sports hasn’t bumped UK’s ’18 class to No. 22, third in the SEC.
John Schlarman will get to work with the nation’s No. 32 offensive tackle, Darian Kinnard, the nation’s No. 4 offensive guard, Marquan McCall, and the nation’s No. 8 center, Quintin Wilson. Watch Wilson do work:
By Nick Roush on ©May 14th, 2017 @ 9:30pm
Kentucky’s relentless recruitment of Jarren Williams continued last night.
According to Justin Rowland, Vince Marrow and Darin Hinshaw went to Central Gwinnett High School to watch the dual-threat quarterback’s Spring Game. They were not alone. Craig Kirschner reports coaches from the University of Georgia also attended the game.
Unlike most Spring Games, it was live action (h/t Turtle Man). The full contact exhibition against another team didn’t prevent the opponent from hitting the quarterback. Williams thrived under duress, leading his team to a 34-0 victory. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
For a more entertaining angle, check out Kirschner’s highlight reel.
Justin Rowland from Cats Illustrated is reporting that top Linebacker Ethan Tucky is transferring from Boston College and visiting Kentucky soon.
ICYMI: Boston College grants transfer release to linebacker, he’ll visit Kentucky very soon https://t.co/yK00an970L
— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) May 13, 2017
Tucky was part of the 2016 class for Boston College, turing down scholarships from Wisconsin, Iowa and Cal to play for the Eagles. It’s no secret that Stoops has a special connection with players from Ohio and lucky for us, Tucky was born and raised in Delaware, Ohio. That and the fact that UK recruited him earlier too seem to give us a nice little advantage.
Here’s a video from his high school days: