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Football Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©October 14th, 2017 @ 3:25pm
Keaton Upshaw is a big dude.
Last night the Kentucky tight end commit used his size (6’7″ 230) to create one spectacular highlight for Lima (Oh.) Senior High School. Trailing by a score, he dropped the hammer on an opponent and rushed down the sideline for a 71-yard touchdown.
— The Cube (@TheCubeDotCom) October 14, 2017
At the end of the night Upshaw had 107 yards on five catches.
Upshaw’s future quarterback, Jarren Williams, threw for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns in a losing effort on Friday the 13th. Future Wildcat running back Chris Rodriguez also scored three touchdowns last night. Edge rusher Davoan Hawkins had to say this after Eddie Gran watched his Friday night game.
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) October 12, 2017
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 13th, 2017 @ 7:37pm
We interrupt Big Blue Madness to inform you three-star wide receiver Meechi Harris has committed to KENTUCKY!
The talented Ohio native has long been rumored to favor Kentucky, but decided he couldn’t wait any longer to pull the trigger.
Here is a video of the pledge:
— XeniaAthletics (@XeniaAthletics) October 13, 2017
With the commitment, UK’s recruiting class will move to No. 18 in the nation (Rivals), ahead of schools like LSU and Louisville. Rivals lists Harris as the No. 22 prospect in the state of Ohio.
Harris held offers from 16 different schools, notably Michigan State, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Purdue before ultimately choosing the Wildcats.
Vince Marrow gave us a Yahtzee warning last night, telling the BBN to “get them dice ready.”
Get them dice ready BBN
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) October 12, 2017
Welcome to the BBN, Meechi!
By Nick Roush on ©October 09th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
If you are worried that Mark Stoops has lost his recruiting ways after Alex Reigelsperger’s decommitment, don’t. If you are worried about Kentucky’s class after losing a four-star “class leader,” don’t.
The Cats will be just fine.
First, from a talent and depth perspective the Cats are LOADED on the edge. Even if Josh Allen and Denzil Ware enter the NFL Draft, Josh Paschal is one of just three elite edge talents from the ’17 class. Jordan Bonner, Boogie Watson and Jaylin Bannerman can also factor into the equation, but there’s so much talent at Jack and Sam the latter two players changed positions.
It also should be noted that the class of 2018 has another edge rusher committed, Davoan Hawkins. From Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida, a school that will send four players to UK next year, Hawkins was one of the first to commit in the 2018 class.
When Reigelsperger initially committed to Kentucky, many said the defensive end would be a “leader” in the 2018 class. That term gets easily confused for “recruiter.” In Reigelsperger’s case, being teammates with Blue Smith only accentuated that misconception. When a recruit makes a lot of chatter on social media, fans take that for more than what it is. Reigelsperger had a presence in “UK Recruiting Twitter,” but that doesn’t necessarily translate to “on the field leader.”
As the dust settles, fans should be reminded that the Kentucky football team lost a four-star recruit and it’s not a big deal. The Cats still have a Top 25 class that features two All-Americans, a stud inside linebacker, the highest-ranked recruit in the state of Michigan (an O-lineman at that) and Kentucky’s quarterback of the future.
The Cats will be just fine.
Once thought to be one of the stars of the 2018 class, four-star defensive end Alex Reigelsperger just announced he has decommitted from Kentucky. The news, which we’re hearing was expected, was made public via this tweet from Reigelsperger this afternoon:
The 6’3″ 247 lbs. Ohio native committed to Kentucky back in February, but insisted on going through the recruiting process and taking his official visits. Sources tell KSR that when Reigelsperger informed the UK staff that he was planning to take an official visit to Minnesota on November 25, the two sides agreed to part ways. Minnesota accounts for several picks on his 247 Sports Crystal Ball this afternoon.
Best of luck to him.
Another Friday night, another five touchdown game for Kentucky quarterback commit Jarren Williams.
Jarren did everything for Central Gwinnett. He rushed for two touchdowns, threw for three and was named Homecoming King at halftime. Pulled in the fourth quarter of the 38-0 win, he still had a pretty impressive stat line.
- 13-17 completions, 213 passing yards and 3 touchdowns
- 121 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
Williams’ highlights are always entertaining, but there’s one play he made last night that perfectly captures the essence of his playmaking ability. Sitting in the pocket, his grip slipped and he fumbled the ball. Instead of diving on it and losing yards, he casually picked the ball up and ran for 15 yards (1:00 mark).
“Casual awesomeness” is not something you see on a scouting report or in recruiting rankings. It’s a trait that can’t be taught and few have.
There’s one more awesome highlight you need to see from last night. Kentucky tight end commit Keaton Upshaw walked off the field with a one-point win, thanks to Lima Senior High kicker Cole Mericle.
— The Cube (@TheCubeDotCom) October 7, 2017
By Nick Roush on ©October 02nd, 2017 @ 10:00pm
Mark Stoops now has two offensive players in the 2018 football recruiting class with invitations to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Offensive tackle Darian Kinnard announced on Twitter that he has been invited to play in the prestigious postseason bowl game. Kinnard’s future quarterback, Jarren Williams, is also an Army All-American.
Kinnard is a 6’7″ 340-pound left tackle from Cleveland powerhouse program St. Ignatius. Unheralded when he committed to Kentucky in April, Kinnard is now considered a four-star prospect and is ranked as high as the No. 103 overall player in the 2018 class. His soaring stock has led many local “experts” to predict a flip to Ohio State, but Kinnard said two weeks ago he’s not looking around.
If you needed another example to validate the UK coaching staff’s ability to recognize elite talent early, here ya go.
By Nick Roush on ©September 22nd, 2017 @ 3:00pm
With the bright lights shining on Kroger Field for the Saturday night showdown against Florida, Kentucky is rolling out the blue carpet for top talent to see Kentucky potentially make history. Most of UK’s 2018 recruiting class will be there, along with elite instate recruits, but first, the cream of the crop.
Zeke Correll — The Cincinnati native is the No. 10 offensive guard in the 2019 class and is a legacy recruit. His grandfather Ray was an All-American for Bear Bryant, his Dad played defensive end at UK, his mother played softball and soccer at UK and his two sisters went to UK.
Chris Oats — Oats is a four-star linebacker who attends Mike Edwards’ high school, Cincinnati’s Winton Woods. The No. 19 outside linebacker in the 2018 class has five leaders: Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Meechi Harris — A 6’2″ three-star wide receiver from Xenia, Ohio, just 15 miles east of Dayton, Kentucky has a 91-9 advantage over Michigan State in the 247 Crystal Ball.
Damien Lewis — The No. 2 JUCO offensive guard from Mississippi is taking his official visit to UK this weekend. Kentucky’s toughest competition for Lewis is from South Carolina.
Ahdarrious Gee — The three-star junior inside linebacker from Crisp County, Georgia committed to South Carolina in July, but he might be reconsidering that pledge after last Saturday.
Moses Douglass — A four-star cornerback from Springfield, Ohio, Douglass is a top 250 player in the 2019 class. He has more than 20 offers, but the 247 Crystal Ball currently predicts a two-horse race between Kentucky and Ohio State.
Paul Tyson — The great grandson of coaching legend Bear Bryant will be in the stands on Saturday. Tyson is a top 15 pocket passer in the 2019 class from Trussville, Alabama. Kentucky was one of the first schools to offer Tyson, extended a scholarship offer prior to his first high school start.
Hayden Wolff — Kentucky is the only school who has offered the 6’5″ 2019 pocket passer from South Florida.
Justin Rogers — One of the youngest recruits that will be on campus, the 2020 offensive guard is Marquan McCall’s Oak Park (Mi.) teammate. The 6’4″ 270 pound offensive guard is one of the most talented sophomores in the nation.
UK 2018 Commits
- Jarren Williams, Four-Star Quarterback, Central Gwinnett (Ga.)
- Brenden Bates, Four-Star Tight End, Cincinnati Moeller
- Keaton Upshaw, Three-Star Tight End, Lima (Oh.) Senior
- Tyler Bentley, Three-Star Defensive Tackle, Lakota West (Oh.)
- Alex Reigelsperger, Four-Star Defensive End, Dayton Wayne (Oh.)
- Xavier Peters, Four-Star Linebacker, Lakota West (Oh.)
- DeAndre Square, Three-Star Outside Linebacker, Cass Technical (Mi.)
- Marquan McCall, Four-Star Offensive Guard, Oak Park (Mi.)
- Chance Poore, Three-Star Kicker, Westside (SC)
- Manny Harper, Unranked Wide Receiver, Louisville Waggener
Wandale Robinson — What he lacks in size, the Western Hills all-purpose back makes up for in explosiveness. The 5’8″ three-star 2019 prospect posts stupid stats on a regular basis, drawing comparisons to one of Frankfort’s finest, Ryan Timmons.
Bryan Hudson — The four-star offensive tackle from Scott County is one of the best at his position in the 2019 class. Kentucky was the first to offer the multi-sport athlete who draws comparisons to Landon Young.
Tanner Bowles — The 6’5″ 280 pound offensive tackle from Glasgow is a four-star prospect in the 2019 class. LSU, Ole Miss and Louisville have shown a ton of interest, but John Schlarman is in the driver’s seat in Bowles’ recruitment.
JJ Weaver — A four-star edge rusher from Louisville Moore, UofL was one of the first to show interest in the 2019 prospect.
Beau Allen — A member of the 2020 class, the Kentucky legacy recruit is in his first year as Lexington Catholic’s starting quarterback.
The handsome and talented Joe Mussatto over at SEC Country’s Kentucky site reported on Thursday that UK quarterback commit Jarren Williams has a date set for his official visit to UK.
According to Mussatto, Williams will take his official visit on Saturday, October 7 for the Cats’ home game against Missouri.
Williams’ father, Anthony Williams, said the family has not yet made plans to visit any other schools, but they haven’t ruled out other stops. LSU and South Carolina have maintained contact since Williams’ re-commitment to UK, so those are two programs he is likely keeping in consideration for other visits.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 13th, 2017 @ 9:00am
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After Williamson canceled Monday’s visit with Calipari and raved about Duke in his USA Today HSS blog, we were all a teeny bit concerned, so it was reassuring to see Ben Roberts’ report that Calipari will see the five-star forward tonight in Spartanburg. If all goes well, I expect Zion will schedule his official visit to Lexington, likely for the weekend of Big Blue Madness, October 13.
Recruiting timeline for the rest of the week
I went over this last night in detail, but here’s who Calipari has seen and will see the rest of the week:
- Sunday: Quentin Grimes, PG
- Monday: Keldon Johnson, SF/SG
- Tuesday: Simi Shittu, PF
- Wednesday: Zion Williamson, SF
- Friday – Saturday: Immanuel Quickley, PG & Keldon Johnson, SF/SG (OFFICIAL VISITS)
- Sunday: Bol Bol, C
Mark Stoops will be on the SEC Coaches Teleconference
Stoops will take questions from the league’s reporters around lunch on the SEC Teleconference. ICYMI yesterday, freshman Lynn Bowden addressed reporters for the first time and said he’s ready to move past the distractions of the first few weeks and just play ball.
“It was hard, but I’m fine,” Bowden said of being ejected for targeting vs. EKU. “I’m an athlete. I got to adjust.”
More maturity where that came from in last night’s feature from Nick:
Last night, UK got a new preferred walk-on
Waggener High School two-way star Manny Harper committed to Kentucky last night as a preferred walk-on. With a 4.2 GPA, the Governor’s Scholar will get a full academic scholarship and also be able to play football for the Cats, a dream realized for the wide receiver/defensive back from Louisville.
“It felt great to hear coach say that I had a spot on the roster after touring the campus and facilities,” Harper told KSR after receiving his offer a few weeks ago. “UK has a lot to offer to me academically, socially and athletically. I can see myself fitting in well in all those areas at UK, it was just a really good vibe. I thank God for blessing me with opportunities and options.”
Already impressed by this kid.
I get to tour the new TopGolf in Nashville
If you’ve driven through Nashville in the past few months, you’ve seen the massive nets near downtown marking the spot of the new TopGolf, a golf entertainment mega-complex that’s popping up in cities across the nation. Nashville’s is set to open later this month and I’ve been invited to tour it with other sports media folk this evening. Between basketball, football, and everything in between, Kentucky fans love to come to Nashville to party, so I’ll share some pictures and thoughts on the facility tomorrow.
Speaking of the BBN in Nashville, the alumni group has moved its game watch location to the new Double Dogs at 4017 Charlotte Avenue, presumably because the Hillsboro Village location is absolutely insane on Saturdays.
Adorable animal video of the day
Ava the cat was abandoned in a garage in London, England and brought into an animal shelter, where she met her new best friend Barney the dog. The video of the two cuddling is the cutest thing you’ll see today:
— BatterseaDogs&Cats (@BDCH) September 12, 2017
I needed that after seeing the price tag on the new iPhone X.
By Drew Franklin on ©September 12th, 2017 @ 9:33pm
One of the top seniors in Kentucky high school football has joined UK’s class as a preferred walk-on.
Manny Harper, a two-way standout at receiver and defensive back for Waggener High School in Louisville, announced on Twitter that he is committed to the University of Kentucky and accepted a preferred walk-on spot with the Wildcats for next fall.
I am committed to…… pic.twitter.com/4rTlZf0YXe
— Manny Harper (@mannyharper20) September 13, 2017
In an interview following his offer, Harper told KSR, “It felt great to hear coach say that I had a spot on the roster after touring the campus and facilities. UK has a lot to offer to me academically, socially and athletically. I can see myself fitting in well in all those areas at UK, it was just a really good vibe. I thank God for blessing me with opportunities and options.”
Harper will be provided with a full academic scholarship, which he more than deserves as a Governor’s Scholar with a 4.2 GPA and a 25 on the ACT.
The first episode of the Elite 11 documentary is set to air tonight at 10:30 p.m. on the NFL Network and Kentucky’s next great quarterback, Jarren Williams, is expected to be a part of the show.
The Elite 11 event was held earlier in the summer, but the documentary is just now coming out for your viewing pleasure. Williams was among the participants at the Elite 11 Finals and he played well according to reports, if my memory serves me correctly.
It’ll be fun for Kentucky fans to get a closer look their next quarterback via this show.
The #Elite11 Documentary is finally here.
Episode 1, airing on NFL Network on September 12. 10:30pm EST. pic.twitter.com/a2LRd8Jcad
— Elite11 (@Elite11) September 9, 2017
So tune in.
By Nick Roush on ©September 09th, 2017 @ 8:30am
Every week Kentucky dual-threat quarterback commit Jarren Williams does something spectacular and this week is no exception.
After Central Gwinnett let a 17-point lead slip away, the Army All-American took control in overtime. On third-and-goal, Williams found a way to get the ball into the end zone.
— CGHS Athletics (@CentralGwinnett) September 9, 2017
The rushing touchdown was his third score in the 23-20 victory. Williams completed 23-of-38 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns.
High School Scores from around the State of Kentucky
- Trinity 22, Male 0
- Frederick Douglass 29, Lafayette 14
- Beechwood 36, Corbin 29
- Ballard 30, Central 7
- Lexington Christian 56, Lexington Catholic 36
- Belfry 54, Newport Central Catholic 29
- Manual 7, Western 6
- Henry County 34, Spencer County 33 OT
- Middlesboro 14, Harlan 12
- Somerset 20, Hazard 9
- South Warren 27, Central Hardin 17
- Metcalfe County 18, Adair County 12
- Magoffin County 18, Betsy Layne 16
- Butler 28, Fern Creek 20
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 06th, 2017 @ 5:20pm
Back in April, Mark Stoops offered top 2019 quarterback Paul Tyson, the great-grandson of legendary Alabama and Kentucky coach Bear Bryant. Several months and major suitors later, Tyson said he plans to visit Kentucky this fall.
In an interview with Bleacher Report, Tyson, considered the 11th best pro-style quarterback in his class by Rivals, insisted that even though he spent his childhood going to Alabama games with his family, he’s not set on becoming a member of the Crimson Tide.
“It would definitely be awesome to play there,” Paul says. “I’ve watched so many games there, and playing on the same field would be really cool. But no one has put any pressure on me to play there. I want to go to the best place for me. I want to go somewhere I can win a national championship and where I’m the school’s No. 1 guy.”
One of those places could be Kentucky, where Bryant coached from 1946 to 1953. Tyson and his family have already visited Alabama, Duke and North Carolina State, and have trips to Kentucky, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee planned. That’s a very good thing, because in his first varsity start for Hewitt-Trussville on Friday, he went 19-24 for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Impressive.
If only there were a place where he could honor his great-grandfather’s memory AND be the number one guy. Hmm…
By Drew Franklin on ©August 29th, 2017 @ 9:41pm
Darin Hinshaw took to Twitter to promote a phone conversation he had Tuesday night with a “big time gun slinger from the (peach emoji) state.”
It’s pretty safe to assume he is referring to Jarren Williams, Kentucky’s prized quarterback commit in the 2018 class, and it’s good to hear the relationship is still going strong.
Just had a great conversation on the phone with a big time gun slinger from the 🍑 state!! Can't wait to coach this guy!! #BluegrassBound18
— Darin Hinshaw (@CoachHinshaw) August 30, 2017
Williams recently told Joe Mussatto over at SEC Country that he is still taking calls from other schools (LSU and South Carolina to name a couple), but his commitment to Kentucky is firm.
According to @Bill_Kurelic, an Ohio State recruiting expert, Blue Smith has committed to Ohio State.
On Ohio State, Smith has this to say:
“I just felt like it was home. When I was at the camp (in June) it was the place to be. I felt comfortable in my decision and the opportunity they give players outside of football after they leave college.”
Kurelic has more from Smith at this link.
Smith was long a UK target as he visited the Cats seven times over his recruitment with the most recent being on May 27th. Over the past few weeks, Smith has gone from a possible UK lean to his inevitable commitment to Urban Meyer. As I mentioned in a earlier post, while Smith’s commitment is a disappointment, but it is not the end of the road for the Class of 2018. This class is still looking to be the best in Mark Stoops’ time at Kentucky.
To have even been in the conversation for a player of Blue’s caliber was unheard of 5 years ago and it is proof as to how far this program has come. Instead, we were used to following announcements of whether a recruit would choose Kentucky or a MAC/AAC school. This program has come a long way and while we didn’t win today, there will be a lot more opportunities to win next time.
Good luck to Blue in his future!