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YAHTZEE! Tight End Keaton Upshaw Commits to Kentucky

(L to R) Keaton Upshaw (@UpshawKeaton) with Jarren Williams & Brenden Bates at UK camp in early June.

Mark Stoops just got another big, talented tight end from Ohio.

Keaton Upshaw, a 6’7″ 230-pound tight end from Lima, Ohio, has committed to Kentucky over Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Purdue and a plethora of MAC schools.  Upshaw is Vince Marrow’s sixth commitment from the state of Ohio in the 2018 class and his second tight end, joining Cincinnati Moeller’s Brenden Bates.

Now with 14 commits, UK’s 2018 class moves up seven spots to No. 20 in the 247 Composite Rankings.

Upshaw attended Kentucky’s first football camp of the summer.  There he got an opportunity to receive extensive one-on-one instruction from Vince Marrow.  Upshaw’s eagerness to learn was evident; Marrow never had to tell him to do something twice.  His size was the biggest surprise.  In pictures he looks lanky, but that’s because pictures never do his back and shoulders justice.  Built like a traditional tight end with the skills of a spread offense tight end, Upshaw and Bates give the Cats an exceptional one-two punch in the 2018 class.

Rising on the recruiting scene, UK’s Big Dog got ahold of Upshaw before the big dogs of college football could.  A player that continues to improve, Upshaw’s ceiling is the roof.


Blue Smith says Kentucky Feels Like Home

@BlueSmith_ with Jerry Rice at The Opening

It’s a two-team race for one of the best high school football athletes in the country.  Normally you’d choose Ohio State over Kentucky whenever it relates to football, but that may not be the case for L’Christian “Blue” Smith.

“Whenever I go down there, there’s just such a feeling of home,” Smith told Land of 10 at The Opening. “Coach Marrow and Coach Stoops always treat me so well and give me so much love. I love the love that they show me.”

The Cats were the early favorites for the third-ranked athlete in the 247 Composite, but the Buckeyes have gained ground over the summer.  Urban Meyer said enough at a visit to Columbus in May to give Ohio State momentum.  Smith has pushed back his decision date twice since then, except he actually never had a decision date.

“Honestly, it’s just to keep people guessing,” the 6’6″ wide receiver said. “Like I said at the beginning, when all this started, I was going to take as long as I needed. I am not going to have a date, I’m going to commit when I am ready to commit. Because you know what? It’s fun. I mean, sometimes I just want to get away because it can get overwhelming, but it’s fun for the most part.”

Smith’s honesty is refreshing.  I was already a fan of his game and his name, but now he’s just messing with people?  Fantastic.

Smith did not set a decision date in the interview but he did provide an excellent tease in the Land of 10 article.


Jarren Williams named top performer on Day 1 of The Opening

Future Kentucky quarterback Jarren Williams is off to a great start at The Opening Finals out in Oregon, if we’re to believe 247Sports recruiting analyst Barton Simmons. Simmons is in Beaverton for the high profile Nike event and he named Williams one of his top performers from Day 1.

From 247Sports.com:

Jarren Williams – We like Williams a little more every time we see him. The guy does everything well. He may not do any one thing at a rare level but he’s also has no real deficiencies. During a competition period, Williams made a throw on a vertical route that was one of the better throws of the day.

The Opening Finals 2017 lasts through July 3rd at the Nike World Headquarters. Hopefully we hear more about Williams standing out amongst his peers in the QB competitions.

Go Cats.


Vince Marrow teases a possible commitment this weekend

Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow made a special guest appearance on today’s KSR and he dropped a bomb as the show went off the air.

When asked by guest hosts Mrs. Tyler Thompson and Jennifer Palumbo if the Cats have any Yahtzees coming up in the near future, Marrow told Big Blue Nation to be ready for a possible commitment this weekend.

Ohio tight end Keaton Upshaw, perhaps?

Get those dice ready.


UK Football got some very big news today

Things are looking up for the UK Football program, which just got some very good news about one of its top playmakers. Lynn Bowden, one of the most anticipated incoming freshmen, has yet to join his peers in Lexington, but according to various reports, that’s about to change. As first reported by Justin Rowland, Bowden will arrive on campus soon after obtaining a score he needed to enroll. SEC Country’s Joe Mussatto spoke to Bowden’s high school coach, who confirmed that Bowden could be on campus as early as next week. That is very, very good news, because Bowden is very, very good.

In his senior season, Bowden had 2,277 rushing yards, 1,366 passing yards and 57 total touchdowns. He finished his career with 4,178 rushing yards and broke almost every school record held by Ohio State’s National Championship-winning running back Maurice Clarett. On Signing Day, Vince Marrow called him the best player in the state of Ohio.

“I will go on the record as saying this: we signed the best player in Ohio,” Marrow said. “Lynn Bowden is the best player in Ohio. And if you ask probably 30 reporters that cover Ohio football, they’ll all say he’s the best player in Ohio.”

If you’re looking for a football fix, enjoy 15 minutes of Lynn Bowden highlights below:

 


Louisville’s Bobby Petrino Does Not Recruit Top 50 Players from Louisville

Getty Images

Louisville football fans sold their soul to a man they consider a college football coaching mastermind, yet this genius isn’t wise enough to recruit the best kids in his own city.

Rondale Moore and Stephen Herron aren’t just the best kids in the city of Louisville, they’re a pair of Top 50 players and future high school All-Americans.  Moore is a 2018 slot receiver and Herron is a 2019 defensive end, but their finalists share one thing in common: Louisville was not there, but Kentucky was.  Why?

“Louisville is 10 minutes away and they never even showed up at school,” Herron told Jon Hale of The Courier-Journal. “They never did anything. I don’t know if it was just the fact they thought they were so close they didn’t have to work as hard, but whatever it is, UK came up a few times and I went down for the spring game.”

The best football program in the state, who is just six years removed from a national championship, is ten minutes away from Petrino’s office, and he won’t even stop by the school to show his face.

It gets better.

“For me, my position coach (at Louisville) and I just didn’t have that relationship,” Moore said before committing to Texas on Sunday. “I camped twice, and I just felt like I hadn’t got that respect that I believed I deserved. … I felt like they just recruited out-of-state guys more than the guys 10 minutes away from their home. That was just kind of disrespectful to me. Louisville was always kind of like a dream school of mine, you’d say, if I had one.”

When a four-star receiver who runs a legitimate 4.3 and squats more than 500-pounds calls your school his “dream school,” you turn that dream into a reality.  Charlie Strong made it happen for All-American and Kentucky Mr. Football James Quick when he was Louisville’s head coach, but Bobby does not seem to care much about local talent.

“I feel like Louisville right now is very focused on these Florida boys and these Southern dudes and are not really even giving in-state a look unless you’re a top dog,” Herron said. “Right now, I don’t really understand it, but that was Louisville’s problem: Just the fact that Grantham left and they didn’t really even make an effort to come see me, any contact. … They never came out to the school. It just seemed like they were recruiting out-of-state dudes better than they were recruiting me and Rondale, two big athletes, 10 minutes away.”

Not only does Petrino not care, his coaching staff is so disorganized, they forget to keep recruiting players once other assistants leave.

The statements from Moore and Herron should be music to Kentucky fans’ ears.  Since Petrino returned to Louisville, only his first class was ranked higher than UK’s.  We’ll see if his new bold strategy to surpass UK on the recruiting trail — ignore all of the best players that live close to your school — will produce results on National Signing Day.

[The Courier-Journal]


Cats Still in the Hunt for Instate Football Star

Scout

On Sunday Louisville Trinity four-star wide receiver and UK target Rondale Moore announced he will attend the University of Texas.  One of his Trinity teammates, five-star defensive end Stephen Herron Jr., was visiting Texas when Moore pulled the trigger, but he’s not quite ready to follow in his footsteps.

A year behind Moore in the class of 2019, Herron is a consensus Top 50 player and a five-star prospect.  The junior to-be has cut his list of schools to ten: Texas, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Stanford, Ole Miss, Miss. State, Georgia and Tennessee.  He told The Courier-Journal he will begin visiting one finalist per weekend once the dead period ends.

“I am taking a visit to all of my schools on my top 10, so I can give them all an equal chance no matter where I have them at right now in my mind,” Herron said. “Everybody is going to get an equal chance.”

The Cats have a clear advantage if Herron chooses to stay in his home state.  Mississippi State replaced Louisville once Todd Grantham left Herron’s hometown for Starkville.  Still, it may be too difficult to keep him home.

“Texas is definitely going to be a big school for me right now just considering the fact that I came down here, they showed me the world and not even all the coaches are in right now,” Herron said. “Definitely it’s going to be a hard decision when it comes to decision day … As far as Texas goes, it’s definitely a nice place out here, nice fan base. Without a doubt, they definitely showed me the most love. I’ve got some close friends of the family out here, so it’s a pretty good place.”

An edge rusher that would play outside linebacker in UK’s 3/4, Herron’s top priorities when picking a school are playing time, academics and his relationship with the coaching staff.   If Kentucky can’t keep Herron home, they’re still in good shape with the best prospects in Herron’s junior class.

Kentucky was the first to offer Scott County offensive lineman Bryan Hudson, an elite multi-sport athlete that draws comparisons to Landon Young.  John Schlarman was also one of the firsts to offer another elite offensive tackle, Glasgow’s Tanner Bowles.  Milton Wright, a do-it-all athlete for Stefan LaFors at CAL, has offers from UK and UofL and will be a top candidate for Mr. Football in the near future.  On the other side of the ball, South Warren defensive tackle Jacob Lacey already has 12 major offers and will be considered a Top 300 player in his class.

In 2018, they have some ground to make up with Waggener four-star cornerback Jairus Brents, but they’re in good shape with two other elite athletes.  The Cats are in a duel with Tennessee for Bowling Green linebacker Justice Dingle, while Doss athlete Terez Traynor is on the verge of committing to UK.

[The Courier-Journal]


Kentucky makes Final Seven of 3-Star Offensive Lineman

Kentucky makes Final Seven of 3-Star Offensive Lineman

Kentucky has made the top seven for Samuel Baker, a three-star offensive guard from Saint Petersburg, Florida. Baker received an offer from the Cats on May 2nd and currently holds other offers from Rutgers and Indiana.

You can watch Baker work below:


YAHTZEE: Florida Wide Receiver Flips Commitment from Louisville to Kentucky

@9GoLive

Three-star Florida wide receiver Akeem Hayes committed to Louisville on April 27.  Today he dropped the Cards to become a Kentucky Wildcat.

Hayes’ timing was impeccable, announcing the decision on Twitter just moments after the Cards lost to Florida in the College World Series.

Hailing from Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida, he is now the third player from the South Florida football powerhouse in UK’s 2018 class, joining defensive end Davoan Hawkins and wide receiver Marvin Alexander.

Considered the No. 65 athlete in the nation, Hayes was offered by Kentucky a month after he committed to UofL.  He camped in Lexington after making a stop in Louisville two weeks ago.  Now he’s a Wildcat.

I’d like to think this poll had something do with it.

See what Hayes has to offer Eddie Gran’s offense.


Monday’s Top 10: All eyes on Colorado Springs

Good morning, friends. Hope you had a nice weekend. This week, our focus will be training camp for the U19 National Team, which started last night in Colorado Springs. What does Colorado Springs look like in the summer? According to Google, something like the picture you see up there. Hopefully John Calipari and his squad can get out and enjoy the views, although I have a feeling they’ll spend most of their time in the Olympic Training Center. That’s where we’ll start today’s top 10.

1. Training Camp has begun for Calipari’s U19 National Team

Last night, the 28 players invited to try out for the U19 National Team arrived in Colorado Springs to begin training camp. That group includes current Cats Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, and PJ Washington, and 2018 targets Bol Bol, Immanuel Quickley, Romeo Langford, and Cameron Reddish. Last night, the team practiced for two and a half hours, and today, they’ll go from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. this evening. Finalists will be announced tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ll bring you any news, pictures, or videos that leak out. Some already have…

2. Diallo to Knox sure looks nice

3. Bol Bol looks great as well

Calipari said the transformation the 7’2″ Bol has made since he watched him last year to when he saw him this spring is unbelievable. Look how easily he handles the ball in transition, an impressive feat considering his ridiculous size:

Plenty of more highlights like that in the post directly below this one, so scroll on down to get your first sneak peek of Diallo, Knox, Washington, and the 2018 recruits.

4. Keep an eye on Immanuel Quickley

The 2018 point guard has already narrowed his list to four (Kentucky, Maryland, Kansas, and Miami), and the Cats seem to be the overwhelming favorite. Last week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Quickley admitted that being around Calipari this week is a huge plus for Kentucky.

“Actually, I can’t lie,” Quickley said, via Adam Zagoria. “It does give him an advantage just because I get to spend more time [with him] but all the coaches tell me they’ll be able to see me in Colorado.”

With unprecedented access to many of his top 2018 prospects, it will be fascinating to watch Calipari recruit over the next month.

5. The Celtics and the 76ers have agreed to trade picks

The big news on Twitter this weekend was the Boston Celtics reportedly agreeing to trade the #1 pick in Thursday’s draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the Sixers’ 3rd pick. The Celtics will also receive a protected 2018 first-round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers, or the Sacramento Kings’ first-rounder in 2019. The trade should become final today, and the Sixers reportedly plan to take Markelle Fultz.

6. Boston fans seem to be taking it well

What does this mean for De’Aaron Fox? The Sixers hosted Fox this weekend for a solo workout before deciding to trade up, and the Celtics don’t need another guard, so if the Lakers pick Lonzo Ball, look for the Phoenix Suns to take Fox at four, opening the door to trade Eric Bledsoe. If for some reason that doesn’t happen, Sacramento will be waiting at five.

7. Stoops got some big Yahtzees over the weekend

It was a good weekend for Mark Stoops and staff, who pulled in commitments from 2018 4-star outside linebacker DeAndre Square and 2019 4-star safety Keontra Smith. On Friday, Square picked the Cats over programs like Michigan State, Wisconsin, Arizona, Iowa, and LSU, becoming the 12th commitment in Kentucky’s 2018 class. Smith is a 2019 prospect, so it’s early, but the Hollywood, Florida native picked Kentucky over Auburn, Louisville, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ole Miss, Wisconsin, and others.

On Thursday, UK landed a commitment from 2018 JuCo defensive back Domonique Williams, and if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Jack Pilgrim’s interview with him from yesterday.

8. Kroger Field is one step closer to reality

The old Commonwealth Stadium sign is officially gone, as captured by Jen Smith last night:

Sigh. I guess it’s really happening.

9. J.B. Holmes finishes 12th at the US Open

Congrats to the former Wildcat, who finished 12th at the US Open this weekend, his best finish in that major ever. Holmes was one stroke off the lead going into Sunday, but no one could stop Brooke Koepka, who finished the final round -5 for a final score of -16. Meanwhile, Stephan Jaeger, caddied by KSR’s Aaron Flener, tied for 60th at +9. Someone remind Flener to take the flag back before they leave Erin Hills, please:

10. The KSR Summer Tour is in DANVILLE

In about an hour, the gang will be live from Dexter Insurance in my hometown. Who’s bringing the Burke’s Bakery?


@EvanPetzold

UK Makes Top 10 For Number 1 In-State 2019 Player

@EvanPetzold

4-star defensive end Stephen Herron, Jr. out of Trinity released his top ten college choices today. UK made the cut, along with a laundry list of elite schools:

Funnily enough, hometown Louisville didn’t make the cut.

@JayWinkKSR


@d_square10

Take a look at the two newest football commits

@d_square10

Because it’s always fun to envision the future of the football team, let’s take a look at Kentucky’s two newest recruits from the last two days.

DeAndre Square: 2018 Four-Star Outside Linebacker

Square is one of the best players out of Michigan in the 2018 class. Standing at 6’1″ and 205 pound, the defenseman out of Cass Technical High School in Detroit is sure to make an impact in two years for the Cats.

Keontra Smith: 2019 Four-Star Safety 

Looks pretty savage to me. This guy will be suiting up for the Cats in three seasons, just in time to fill Mike Edwards shoes. I’m a fan.


@IronMan794

YAHTZEE: 2019 Four-Star Safety Keontra Smith Commits to Kentucky

@IronMan794

Mark Stoops and his crew are rolling into the weekend with two back-to-back yahtzee’s.

Listed as a four-star prospect on both Rivals and 24-7 Sports, Keontra Smith tweeted his commitment to the Big Blue this morning, choosing the Cats over: Auburn, Louisville, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon and his home school of Miami.

Smith is a 5-11, 205-pound safety at Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, FL – just another recruit for Stoops and Co. out of the Sunshine State.

This is the second commitment in two days for the Cats, as DeAndre Square – a 2018 four-star outside linebacker – committed to Kentucky yesterday.

What a way to start a Saturday.

 

@haleysimpKSR


YAHTZEE! DeAndre Square commits to Kentucky!

YAHTZEE! DeAndre Square commits to Kentucky!

Coach Stoops and the boys are rolling some dice on this Friday evening because class of 2018 outside linebacker DeAndre Square has tweeted that he is committing to the University of Kentucky.

Square is listed as a 6’1″ and 205 pound outside linebacker out of Cass Technical High School in Detroit. The four-star defenseman is rated as Scout’s #20 outside linebacker in the class. This is a big time commitment for the Wildcats at a very critical position for an SEC caliber defense.

Take a look at Square’s recent camp work:

Love the recruiting ability of the staff that Stoops has assembled in Lexington. Solid effort across the board.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Friday’s Top 10: Did something big happen yesterday?

Friday’s Top 10: Did something big happen yesterday?

@LouisvilleZoo

You’re looking at Cora and Catina, two wolf pups recently born at the Louisville Zoo. The zoo held a naming contest for the pups and announced the winners yesterday, and you’re never going to convince me that “Catina” (“Cat” for short) won because it means “pure” in Portugese; in fact, that makes the irony even more wonderful. “Catina” won because zoo fans in Louisville either have a really awesome sense of humor (Kentucky fans) or they wanted to make it clear a wolf got in their hen house and ruined their basketball program (Louisville fans). Regardless, I’m happy the zoo has a living, breathing reminder of UofL’s depravity, and a pretty cute one at that.

Let’s jump right into today’s top 10, because there’s a lot to go over.

1. The NCAA is after UofL’s banner

The national media thinks the headline is Rick Pitino being suspended for five conference games, but to anyone who’s followed the situation, far more interesting is the NCAA making it clear UofL’s 2013 National Championship and 2012 Final Four banners will come down. Three players were ruled ineligible due to their participation in the sex acts/stripper parties, putting 108 wins and 15 NCAA victories in peril. Per standard procedure, UofL must submit a list of those games to the NCAA in the next 45 days, and even then, they plan to appeal the findings.

2. The appeal is a very, very long shot

UofL’s defense coming into yesterday was that because the sex acts/stripper parties didn’t cost much ($5,400), the banner shouldn’t come down. The NCAA thoroughly debunked that by making it clear that the monetary value has zero correlation to the reprehensible nature of the acts themselves. So, just because your strippers were cheap doesn’t change the fact that they were strippers, and pressuring 16 and 17-year-old kids into participating in these acts makes it a million times worse.

3. Yet, Rick Pitino remains confident they’ll win the appeal

Pitino went on a tirade about the NCAA’s “over-the-top,” “unfair,” and “unjust” findings, telling reporters he’s completely lost faith in the institution. That was just the start. Here’s a brief list of outrageous things Pitino said yesterday:

  • He doesn’t stay up past 10 p.m., so he shouldn’t be held responsible for what his players do between then and 8 a.m.
  • He shouldn’t have to answer questions because he doesn’t want to
  • A reporter must not be from Louisville because he asked a valid question
  • The NCAA investigation of NC State gave Jimmy Valvano cancer

He’s lost it, guys. Meanwhile, at home…

4. Calipari leaves for Colorado Springs tomorrow

Training Camp for the U19 Men’s National Team begins on Sunday in Colorado Springs, and tomorrow, Calipari will head west to prepare. Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Hamidou Diallo are among the 28 players who accepted invitations to the camp to try out for the 12-man team that will compete for the FIBA World Cup in Cairo next month. Also on the invite list: 2018 targets Bol Bol, Immanuel Quickley, Cameron Reddish, and Romeo Langford.

5. Shai Alexander is skipping the FIBA World Cup to stay in Lexington

Alexander initially planned to play for Team Canada, but according to Adam Zagoria, he has decided to skip it and stay in Lexington to train with his new squad. Tai Wynyard is still expected to play for New Zealand. Hopefully they’ll play Team USA and we’ll get to see them do the Haka:

6. Malik Monk’s workout with the Sixers went well

Yesterday, Monk had a solo workout with the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the third pick in the NBA Draft, which is less than a week away (!). Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Nik Stauskas, and a handful of other Sixers watched Monk’s workout, and he delivered, knocking down threes and driving the lane with ease. When reporters asked him what he was best at, he quipped, “Everything.” Clearly, he’s confident. You can see more below:

Elsewhere, Bam Adebayo will work out for the Nuggets today and Isaac Humphries will work out for the Sixers. On Saturday, De’Aaron Fox will take his turn working out for the Sixers.

7. UK Football holding a reunion for the 2006, 2007, & 2008 teams

Saturday, October 28 will be a huge day for UK Football. Not only are the Cats taking on the Tennessee Vols that day in Commonwealth Stadium Kroger Field, the program is also holding a reunion for the 2006, 2007, and 2008 teams. Rich Brooks, Jacob Tamme, Andre Woodson, Stevie Johnson, and John Conner are just a few of the names that could be back in town, which I’m seeing as a very good omen for our chances of an upset.

8. The football team got a Yahtzee

In case you missed the news late last night, JuCo DB Domonique Williams committed to Kentucky, picking the Cats over Colorado State, Arkansas State, Iowa State, and others. Last year, he finished with 49 tackles, 10 pass breakups, and 3 interceptions. He announced his commitment via this video on Twitter:

Williams will be part of Kentucky 2018 class. Welcome, young man.

9. J.B. Holmes is tied for 11th at the US Open

Holmes is three under going into the second round of the US Open, and will tee off at 1:47 p.m. ET today, giving you the perfect excuse to take off work early to watch on FS1…or, just stream it on PGATour.com/live like the rest of us. Stephen Jaeger, caddied by former KSR writer/viral video star Aaron Flener, is tied for 28th at one under. He tees off at 2:31 p.m.

Speaking of the US Open, did you see that blimp go down?

Just like the University of Louisville, amirite? (Thankfully, the pilot survived, suffering some serious burns)

10. Today’s KSR is one you won’t want to miss

The gang is at Don Franklin Auto on Richmond Road in Lexington to recap a crazy day. Get on out there to enjoy the show and register for the chance to win tickets to a game. Sounds like a perfect way to start the weekend if you ask me.