Kentucky was without Quade Green for the third straight game on a night the whistle →
Football Recruiting News
By KSR on ©December 14th, 2017 @ 1:00pm
Before things get crazy on the football front over the next two weeks, the KSR Football Podcast has everything you need to be prepared for the chaos. Drew, Jared, Freddie and Nick preview the matchup between two Wildcats in Nashville before turning to next week’s signing day and the 2018 UK football recruiting class. Highlights:
— What caused Drew to break out in tears?
— Why Freddie believes next season’s starting quarterback will be announced immediately after spring practice.
— Which freshman has arms as big as Jared’s stomach?
— Nick is a nerdy jerk.
— Which UK commit looks like Lamar Thomas on the football field?
— Is the early signing period a good thing for Kentucky football?
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
Mark Stoops laid the foundation for his Kentucky program by building a pipeline into the state of Ohio. The addition of Eddie Gran has opened new doors into the state of Florida. This year has been Gran’s most successful year, starting at Chaminade-Madonna High School in Hollywood, Florida.
Kentucky’s first two commitments in the 2018 class came from the perennial powerhouse, Davoan Hawkins and Marvin Alexander. Not long after they were joined by Akeem Hayes.
This weekend Chaminade-Madonna avenged a state runner-up 2016 finish to win their first state title since 2005. Hayes scored a 44-yard touchdown to help build a two-touchdown lead, a lead they would lose in the fourth quarter. With only minutes remaining, Hayes converted on a crucial third down to set up a game-winning field goal that went through the uprights with just four seconds remaining for a 31-28 victory.
Hawkins could not contain his emotions following the win.
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) December 9, 2017
Hawkins, a 6’4″ 270 pound three-star defensive end, is explosive with his hand in the dirt. A guy who makes most of his plays in the backfield, in his final high school season he had 50 tackles, 22 for loss and 7 sacks. Miami tried to pull him away from UK, but he remained firmly committed to the Cats.
Hawkins and Marvin Alexander committed to Kentucky on the same day, just a few weeks after 2016’s NSD on February 21. Alexander, a three-star receiver who also had offers from Wisconsin, UCF, ECU and Syracuse, caught 37 passes for 585 yards and 8 touchdowns this year.
The third Chaminade-Madonna player to commit Kentucky, Akeem Hayes initially committed to Louisville back in April. Over the summer he spent one weekend camping at UofL and Kentucky. The trip to Lexington must have been much better, because shortly after he flipped his commitment to the Cats. This year he averaged 11 yards per carry, 16 yards per catch and had 5 total touchdowns out of the slot.
Hayes, Hawkins and Alexander aren’t the first from Chaminade-Madonna to play at Kentucky. A pair of UK freshmen, defensive end Christopher Whittaker and wide receiver Joshua Ali started the movement last year.
If all goes well, those five will not be the last to make the move from Chaminade-Madonna to Lexington. Keontra Smith committed to Kentucky in June and is considered the No. 11 safety in the 2019 class and a Top 150 player overall. The elite defensive back had 108 tackles, 37 for loss and 2 interceptions. After watching Smith’s highlights, you’ll understand how difficult it will be to fight off Miami, Oregon, Nebraska and Oklahoma for his services.
Mark Stoops has created success by getting some of the best from Ohio. Now he’s turned to the Sunshine State, arguably the most talented state for prep football in America. For the first time in his tenure, the recruiting class will not primarily come from Ohio. The 2018 class has six commitments from Ohio and seven from Florida.
Stoops would not be able to expand his recruiting canvass this extensively into Florida without Eddie Gran and the elite talent from Chaminade-Madonna High School.
Four-star Florida cornerback Stanley Garner was selected to play in the Miami Dolphins’ Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game, but the Fort Lauderdale native declined the invite due to a scheduling conflict.
The Dade-Broward game, which is a very big deal in the area, is scheduled for January 12, and Garner will already be at Kentucky, he says.
He announced the news of his early enrollment on Twitter this morning:
Blessed to be selected to play in the Broward vs Dade Game 🙏🏾‼️ but due to my early enrollment I won’t be playing , Kentucky Im OMW #BBN🔵⚪️
— Stanley Garner lll (@StanleyG_9) December 13, 2017
College football’s early signing period begins a week from today and it looks like Garner will be among those enrolling early in Lexington.
Late last night Kentucky picked up their first defensive tackle commitment in the 2018 recruiting class. Now the Cats have their eyes on another interior defensive lineman who will officially visit Lexington this weekend.
After hosting defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc, Amauchechukwu “Mooch” Nnaji-Collins scheduled an official visit to UK on the finally recruiting weekend prior to signing day. LeBlanc found the nose guard in Destrehen, Louisiana, a suburb about ten miles west of New Orleans where LeBlanc has deep recruiting ties after stints at LSU and Southern Miss.
Nnaji-Collins does not look like the nose guards you’re used to seeing. Unlike the goliath Matt Elam, Mooch is just 6’1″ 220 pounds. He makes up for his lack of size with exceptional explosiveness. Quinton Bohanna earned the starting nose spot for being what the coaches referred to as “quick twitch guy.” Nnaji-Collins perfectly fits that profile.
Obviously, to play nose in the SEC he would have to add weight to his 220-pound frame, but my goodness it’s fun to watch him fire off the line in the middle of the trenches.
Entering the penultimate week of the early recruiting period, it was disheartening to hear little to no buzz about interior defensive linemen, the Cats’ greatest position of need. There was reason to worry, but the moves over the last two days have been reassuring.
By Nick Roush on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 10:45pm
For the second time today, Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football coaches are rolling the dice. This time, UK has received a commitment from a defensive tackle, the first in the 2018 class.
Only hours after receiving an official scholarship offer from the Cats, Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone committed to play for Kentucky over Tennessee.
A late-rising recruit from the smallest division of football in the state of Georgia, Mahone took an official visit to Lexington this weekend shortly after receiving a scholarship offer from the Vols. The 6’4″ 295-pound all-state interior defensive lineman was discovered by Matt House. Mahone fills UK’s greatest position of need and may eventually become one of the great late recruiting steals.
Watch the best from Kentucky’s 22nd member of the 2018 recruiting class.
By Nick Roush on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 10:35pm
Kentucky’s 2018 class just got a little larger. Three-star offensive tackle Kenneth Horsey announced on Twitter that he has committed to the University of Kentucky.
Hailing from Seminole, Florida, Horsey’s announcement follows an official visit to Kentucky. The Cats quickly emerged as his leaders after the experience in Lexington. Horsey was also being recruited by UCF, USF, Mississippi State and Missouri.
The addition of Horsey moves Kentucky’s 2018 class up to No. 23 nationally in the 247 Composite rankings. Horsey brings to the Bluegrass a big 6’4″ 325-pound game and a name that’s a perfect fit for horse country.
Mark Stoops’ blue Bentley is working wonders.
Tonight Florida wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis trimmed his list of suitors to three finalists. As expected, Kentucky made the cut, along with Tennessee and Pitt.
The only finalist Jacques-Louis has not committed to previously is Pitt. He was in Pittsburgh for an official visit two weekends ago. Upon returning home from Pennsylvania, Mark Stoops greeted him with the infamous blue Bentley.
Arguably the most coveted recruit remaining in Kentucky’s 2018 class, Jacques-Louis has not set a decision date but he plans to sign on December 20 and enroll early for spring practice.
If the blue Bentley can’t close the deal, maybe Terry Touchdown can.
@ShockyMVP hmu bro 👀
— Terry Wilson (@TerryTouchdown3) December 13, 2017
I’m happy to report Kentucky is targeting a defensive lineman in the 2018 class. Today Kentucky extended a scholarship offer to Jerquavion Mahone.
A 6’4″ 295-pound defensive tackle from Manchester, Georgia, Qua Mahone has skirted under the radar playing Class A football (Georgia’s smallest division), the same division UK found T.J. Carter. A two-way starter for four years, this year he was an all-state selection on the defensive line after making 72 tackles, 30 for loss and 12 sacks. An agile athlete for his size, Mahone also plays basketball.
A late-bloomer on the recruiting scene, his only other offers are from Jacksonville State and Tennessee. The offer from Kentucky comes on the heels of Mahone’s official visit to Lexington last weekend.
Even though he’s considered a defensive tackle, you’ll see the explosive athlete primarily line up as an edge rusher in his senior highlight reel.
By Nick Roush on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
In his first interview with Matt Jones on Kentucky Sports Radio, future UK quarterback Terry Wilson had to address a controversy: does he go by ‘Touchdown Terry’ or ‘Terry Touchdown?’
“It could be Touchdown Terry, Terry Touchdown. As long as I’m getting touchdowns it really shouldn’t matter.” However, when pressed Wilson admitted he has a favorite. “But it is Terry Touchdown. I don’t know where people got Touchdown Terry from.”
Wilson, now considered the nation’s No. 1 junior college quarterback and No. 5 overall JUCO prospect by ESPN, told KSR’s listening audience his recruitment has concluded. He will sign on December 20 and arrive on campus in early January. However, he did say he may take another visit…to Kentucky.
“I’m 100 percent done. I’m not taking any visits. The next visit I’ll be taking will probably be back up to Kentucky,” Wilson said. “That’s the only place I’m going.”
In his conversation with Matt, Wilson explained that Kentucky’s family atmosphere and his relationship with Vince Marrow sealed the deal. Hear everything he had to say to the Big Blue Nation below:
By Nick Roush on ©December 11th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
When Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow first arrived in Lexington, they had to sell recruits a vision. Now all they have to do is take recruits to a practice and show them who they will be working with at UK.
When Terry Wilson came to Lexington, Kentucky pulled out all of the stops for the second-ranked junior college quarterback in America. He had dinner with Tim Couch, Derrick Ramsey offered to mentor him and he was showered with love from adoring fans at Memorial Coliseum. All of that paled in comparison to what Wilson saw on UK’s practice field.
“I wanted to go some where and have some guys around me,” Wilson told T.J. Walker and I in an interview on Big X Sports Radio. “Playing in the SEC, you gotta have some dudes around you that can get you out of trouble sometimes. When I was at practice and seeing those guys go, it was an eye-opener man. Like, Dude.
“You got Benny in the backfield; you got some awesome receivers; you got Dorian out there; you got Lynn out there; a good o-line. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Seeing what I can work with, I was ready to put some pads on and get out there. I’m just excited to play with those guys.”
When Wilson was first recruited, he fell for the bells and whistles at Oregon. This time around he cut through the crap and appreciated Marrow’s honest pitch.
“Me being through this before, I was blind to that. I really didn’t understand. I was excited to see all the gear and everything like a player coming out of high school would be, walking into a new facility that has new uniforms every game. Coach Marrow, he keeps it real. I think that’s what a lot of kids like. He keeps it real and I could just sense that as soon as I talked to him on the phone.”
Uncle Vince brought an honest pitch. The Cats are close to being great, but they haven’t quite gotten over the hump. Once Wilson watched practice, he understood exactly what Marrow was saying.
“You can sense it. You can just feel that it’s about to happen. It only takes one guy to make it click.”
Touchdown Terry can be that guy.
Listen to the entire interview below starting around the seven-minute mark. He talked about his first crazy experience with the BBN, his conversation with Couch, and Wilson answers the important question: “Is it ‘Terry Touchdown’ or ‘Touchdown Terry’?” (Spoiler: “It can be either one,” he laughed.)
You can listen to The Sports Talker with T.J. Walker weekdays from 4:00-6:00 on 1450 AM and 96.1 FM in Louisville on Big X Sports Radio.
By Nick Roush on ©December 11th, 2017 @ 4:30pm
Yesterday Kentucky found their quarterback for the 2018 class. A primary focus since Jarren Williams’ decommitment, Kentucky’s coaches are now looking elsewhere to fill positions of need before next Wednesday’s signing day. Now with 19 prospects in the class, Stoops hopes to have 23 or 24 at the conclusion of the recruiting period. Here’s what the class looks like so far.
Kentucky Football 2018 Signees
|Marquan McCall||OG||Oak Park, Mi.||6-4||320||4-star|
|Darian Kinnard||OT||Cleveland, Oh.||6-7||336||4-star|
|Terry Wilson||QB||Omaha, Ne.||6-2||180||3-star|
|DeAndre Square||S/OLB||Detroit, Mi.||6-1||200||3-star|
|Brenden Bates||TE||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-5||230||3-star|
|Stanley Garner||CB||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.||6-3||180||3-star|
|Quintin Wilson||C||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-3||290||3-star|
|Marvin Alexander||WR||Hollywood, Fl.||6-3||175||3-star|
|Jamari Brown||CB||Pompano Beach, Fl.||6-3||180||3-star|
|Davoan Hawkins||DE||Hollywood, Fl.||6-4||270||3-star|
|Akeem Hayes||ATH/WR||Hollywood, Fl.||5-10||175||3-star|
|Keaton Upshaw||TE||Lima, Oh.||6-7||225||3-star|
|Bryce Oliver||WR||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.||6-3||205||3-star|
|Christopher Rodriguez||RB||McDonough, Ga.||5-11||200||3-star|
|Ashtan Pierre||ATH||Deerfield Beach, Fl.||6-2||191||3-star|
|Domonique Williams||JUCO CB||Knoxville, Tn.||5-10||190||3-star|
|Kenneth Horsey||OT||Seminole, Fl.||6-4||325||3-star|
|Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone||DT||Manchester, Ga.||6-4||195||N/A|
|Chance Poore||K||Anderson, Sc.||6-3||200||3-star|
|Max Duffy||P||Western Australia||6-1||176||3-star|
There are a few areas of need that must be addressed. There’s one on everybody’s mind…
INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Kentucky’s only defensive tackle commit, Tyler Bentley, flipped to Pitt today. The only returning nose tackle is Quinton Bohanna. The thinnest position on defense, the weakest link on the team, currently has no reinforcements in place.
Who are they targeting? That’s a good question, one that I unfortunately do not know how to answer. It’s a weird situation. Justin Rowland reported that UK preemptively told Bentley, “Thanks, but no thanks.” It might make sense if they had others lined up, but there’s been absolutely zero buzz about any other UK defensive line recruits. There weren’t any that visited last weekend, and I don’t know of any that have scheduled visits for this upcoming weekend.
Kentucky needs to find interior defensive linemen, but where they will find them remains a mystery.
Other Needs Addressed
Kentucky piled up receivers in the last class. They didn’t need to do it again this year, but they found two in Florida that are worth the offers. Kentucky has steadily built up depth at linebacker. Xavier Peters is the perfect addition to keep that train rolling. On special teams, Kentucky is replacing a departing punter and kicker with the No. 1 and No. 2 kickers in the country.
The Cats have landed commitments from a couple of fantastic offensive linemen: All-American Darian Kinnard, Marquan McCall, Quintin Wilson and USC transfer E.J. Price. They could add one more for a solid five in the 2018 class, Florida offensive tackle Kenneth Horsey. After an official visit to Lexington this weekend, a Yahtzee! from Horsey could come in the near future.
Using the final available scholarships to get the most talented players available, Stoops is trying his hand at a few four-star defensive backs, even though they’ll likely land elsewhere. JUCO outside linebacker Bryant Pirtle may be another necessary addition if Josh Allen makes the leap to the NFL.
At the end of the day, Kentucky’s 2018 class looks good, except for one glaring omission: defensive tackles. Davoan Hawkins is currently the only defensive lineman in the class, but he can’t clog up the middle. The Cats were able to snag Bohanna at the eleventh hour last year. They must do that a few times to close out the 2018 recruiting class.
By Nick Roush on ©December 11th, 2017 @ 10:00am
After a surprise visit to Kentucky, a four-star safety has scheduled a commitment ceremony.
Former Tennessee commit Trey Dean originally planned on visiting Kentucky next weekend. Instead of traveling to the University of Florida this weekend, he came to Lexington for an official visit. Just hours after he departed from Lexington, Dean revealed he will make a commitment on signing day, December 20th at SunTrust Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves.
Florida is still in the picture; that visit will reportedly take place next week. The 247 Crystal Ball projects Dean to Alabama, the school Dean visited last weekend.
Dean was joined by another four-star defensive back in Lexington, Gilbert Frierson. A Miami commit since February of 2016, the nation’s No. 22 cornerback from Coral Gables, Florida took one of the greatest recruiting photos ever from the 50-yard line at Kroger Field.
It’s hard to tell if the visit will sway either of the two four-stars to Kentucky, but the Cats always have a good chance when Vince Marrow is involved. Watch them both do work:
In other recruiting news, former Kentucky defensive tackle commit Tyler Bentley has reportedly committed to Pitt. Bentley and UK parted ways after he took an official visit to Pitt last weekend.
By Nick Roush on ©December 11th, 2017 @ 9:00am
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Terry Wilson Picks UK
Mark Stoops’ first major recruiting weekend ended with a bang. The second-ranked junior college quarterback in America committed to Kentucky over Nebraska, Florida and others before he left Lexington.
Ranked as the nation’s No. 15 dual-threat quarterback out of high school, Touchdown Terry Wilson only played one year at Oregon before joining the JUCO ranks. Unlike Stephen Johnson, Wilson reportedly has three years of eligibility. He will sign on December 20 and enroll this January.
Before the addition of Wilson, the Cats had other options at quarterback, options that likely would have started next season if Jarren Williams was at UK. Adding a seasoned runner into the mix changes things for Gunnar Hoak and Drew Barker. They’ll have an opportunity to win the job this spring and their experience in Eddie Gran’s system will give them a leg up on Wilson. But if either cannot beat out Wilson, it’ll be interesting to see who stays and who goes. Barker has one year of eligibility remaining as he nears the completion of an MBA. Hoak, a redshirt freshman, will be in the same class as Wilson.
We’ll see how the quarterback competition shakes out during spring practice. Until then, kudos to Stoops and his staff for convincing a future star to commit to Kentucky when most believed (including myself) he would go elsewhere.
Wilson wasn’t the only Official Visitor
Kentucky also hosted two other JUCO prospects on the defensive side of the ball, safety Aaron Maddox and edge rusher Bryant Pirtle. Apparently the visit with Pirtle went really well. You’ll hear more about those visits and Kentucky’s surprise guest later in the day.
No Bowl Practice During Finals Week
To all of the students taking finals this week at UK, that must really suck.
Unless you’re a Kentucky football player because the coaches have been kind enough to give them the week off from practice. For those who don’t believe bowl practices make a difference, when Wilson watched Saturday’s practice he said he was ready to throw on pads and play right away. That’s not something he would’ve experienced at Florida or Nebraska.
Hear from Coach Cal Tonight
Kentucky’s head coach was extremely critical after the Cats’ last game at Rupp Arena, but John Calipari was surprisingly pleased after the win over Monmouth at Madison Square Garden. He’ll talk about the game and much more on the John Calipari Show tonight at 6:00 on the UK Sports Network.
A Tip of the Cap to the UK Volleyball Team
Two unbelievable comeback victories sparked Craig Skinner’s team to the program’s second ever Elite Eight appearance. Unfortunately they didn’t have enough left to overcome a 2-0 deficit to Nebraska, but their efforts made the BBN proud. They rallied the troops to their support. Standing at the forefront was the Kentucky football team.
— Tommy Deeter (@TDeets25) December 9, 2017
— Stephen Johnson II (@stephen_h_j) December 8, 2017
The UK landmark announced it’s closing its doors for good at the conclusion of the semester. An institution on the corner of Limestone and Winslow, it was the place where students begrudgingly bought their books for more than 60 years. A victim of the internet (I’m looking at you, Amazon), the iconic blue building will likely be torn down and transformed into a parking garage.
There was a Good Thing on Social Media
The video of young bully’s victim, Keaton Jones, has raced around the internet. A sad story has turned into a good one as thousands have reached out to the middle schooler to show their support. From the UFC’s Dana White to Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, the outreach has been inspiring.
This is Keaton Jones, he lives in Knoxville and he has a little something to say about bullying.pic.twitter.com/coyQxFp33V
— Everything TN (@Everything_TN) December 9, 2017
Jones’ life has been forever changed by this video, which begs me to ask the question: What would your life be like if everyone knew you as the kid who got bullied?
Winning a rec league flag football championship is exponentially more awesome when you rock a Kentucky hat and catch a Hail Mary as time expires to beat a former Louisville footballer.
By Nick Roush on ©December 10th, 2017 @ 6:08pm
Did Kentucky just find their next quarterback? Terry Wilson’s commitment to Kentucky has made next year’s battle to be QB1 exponentially more intriguing.
Already projected to be a three-horse race between Drew Barker, Gunnar Hoak and Danny Clark, now Eddie Gran and Darin Hinshaw have another thoroughbred. Just like Stephen Johnson, Wilson is a dual-threat weapon who proved to be a proficient playmaker at the junior college level. Johnson wasn’t expected to play right away but an injury from Barker forced him into action. The Kentucky coaches told Wilson he needs to be ready to play right away.
“They’re talking about me playing right away,” Wilson told the Herald-Leader on Sunday. “I just have to come in, grind, and I have to take it. They’re not going to give anything to me. I’m definitely going to have to go out there and showcase what I can do. And they like what I can do, so I have to go out there and prove it.”
The second-ranked junior college quarterback in America will have to earn the title QB1. Touchdown Terry has all of the tools to do just that when he arrives on campus in January.
YAHTZEE! Four-star QB and former Oregon Duck has committed to KENTUCKY!
Just last week, most recruiting analysts wrote the Cats off following Nebraska’s hiring of Scott Frost and Wilson’s previous relationship with the former UCF head coach.
After announcing he’d be visiting a “special” place this weekend, many thought Nebraska would be the destination. Reports broke that it was, in fact, Lexington, and early rumors were that the visit went extremely well.
Obviously those rumors ended up being true, as Kentucky has found their stud quarterback signee for 2018.
Wilson is an extraordinary talent with a legitimate shot at starting for the Cats next year.
We’ll have more later breaking down Wilson’s game, but until then, celebrate. Kentucky just got a star.
Welcome home, Terry Touchdown!