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Football Recruiting News
By Nick Roush on ©January 26th, 2017 @ 8:30pm
Mark Stoops is doing everything he can to get Jedrick Wills to Kentucky.
The five-star offensive tackle and Lexington-native is committed to Alabama. After receiving a visit from Nick Saban earlier this week, Stoops has not stopped recruiting Wills. Earlier today, Stoops was spotted playing badminton with Wills at Lafayette High School. Tonight, a KSR reader sent us this picture.
Stoops has six more days to convince Wills to stay home.
By Nick Roush on ©January 26th, 2017 @ 7:00pm
Under a week till National Signing Day, Freddie and the gang preview Kentucky’s 2017 class like you’ve never seen before. It’s the first Depth Chart NSD Draft. You’ve probably seen all the rankings and highlights, but this will help you understand who we believe will make an immediate impact and who can play in the NFL with the right development. Highlights include:
— The most under-valued prospects, a.k.a. the “Josh Allen Award” winners.
— What’s the best position in the class?
— There’s room for two more additions to the class.
— O-Line talk.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbay, or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 26th, 2017 @ 2:30pm
Today in sentences I never thought I’d write: Mark Stoops spent the morning playing badminton with Jedrick Wills at Layette High School. Of course, Wills, a five-star offensive tackle, is currently committed to Alabama, but with less than a week ’til Signing Day, Stoops is still doing his best to flip him:
— Jesse Peters (@PetersLHS_HC) January 26, 2017
Or, he just really enjoys badminton. Either one.
1. Kevaughn Dingle will not take an official visit to Kentucky this weekend, he told KSR’s Jack Pilgrim. The 3-star wide receiver from Miami was committed to The U when Lamar Thomas entered the picture. Shortly after, Dingle decommitted and proclaimed the Cats as his leader. As NSD has drawn closer, Kentucky has committed resources to other wide receiver prospects, most notably Danny Davis, likely leading Dingle to make the decision to visit somewhere else this weekend.
2. ESPN is coming to town for NSD. ESPN is covering recruiting at Kentucky for football, NOT basketball. Kind of a big deal. The four-letter network is sending 16 reporters on the road to cover the biggest football recruiting day of the year. The Cats are in good company.
|School (ESPN Ranking)||Reporter|
|No. 1 Alabama||Laura Rutledge|
|No. 2 Ohio State||Quint Kessenich|
|No. 3 Georgia||Maria Taylor|
|No. 4 Michigan||Jen Lada|
|No. 5 Florida State||Ryan McGee|
|No. 6 Oklahoma||Paul Carcaterra|
|No. 7 LSU||Allison Williams|
|No. 8 Texas A&M||Marcus Spears|
|No. 9 Auburn||Cole Cubelic|
|No. 11 Clemson||Marty Smith|
|No. 15 Penn State||Coley Harvey|
|No. 16 South Carolina||Tony Barnhart|
|No. 22 Arkansas||Clint Stoerner|
|No. 23 Colorado||Kris Budden|
|No. 27 Kentucky||Matt Stinchcomb|
|No. 35 Texas||Alex Loeb|
You’ll be able to find Stinchcomb’s coverage on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
3. The Depth Chart Podcast Does NSD. KSR is still finalizing plans for what will happen next Wednesday, but it all begins tomorrow. We’ll be discussing each prospect in a way that you’ve probably never heard before. Send your questions on Twitter by including #DepthChartJKF and stay close to your iTunes feed tomorrow night.
Last week, we gave a recruiting update on some of the remaining prospects left on Kentucky’s board for the 2017 Recruiting Class, and we promised to keep it going into this week.
A lot of movement has happened since then, some good for Kentucky, some bad.
Let’s take a look at some of the big topics to take a close watch on in the final week of the recruiting season.
He officially visited Penn State this past weekend, causing many to think his commitment to Kentucky may be up in the air. I’ve been told Penn State felt the visit went well, but they are unsure if it made much of an impact on the possibility of a flip before NSD. They only have two spots remaining, and supposedly have a ton of talented guys taking visits this weekend, meaning they’re not going to invest all of their time and interest in Paschal knowing they can lock up other big-name guys this weekend. It’s always a tough call when the big schools get an official visit late, but UK is very confident they’ll be receiving his signature next Wednesday, and that’s certainly where I’m leaning right now.
Matt Jones says there’s still a very good chance UK gets him, which is definitely a new development. I was told there was a significant barricade in his academics that has scared several schools away, which explains why a top-100 prospect with offers from Penn State, Michigan State, Oregon, etc., had none of those schools on his final list. I know he genuinely likes the Wildcats and has a great relationship with the coaching staff, and Kentucky loves him as a prospect. Receiver is not really a position of need for the Wildcats, but you just don’t say no to a player of Davis’ caliber if everything checks out off the field.
If UK can get the okay on his academics, I think they can, and will get him. If his academics aren’t there or he’s too close for comfort, my guess is he heads to West Virginia.
Should he commit to Kentucky, he would easily become a top three commitment for the Wildcats in their greatest football recruiting class ever.
Many people are asking about the visit between he and Mark Stoops last week, thinking there’s a chance for him to flip from Louisville. I’ve been told Yeast is still listening to several other schools and isn’t “set” on Louisville by any means. However, as awesome as it’d be for Craig Yeast’s son to suit up in blue and white, I don’t think it’s realistic right now.
I’ve been told his family loves Notre Dame and the coaching staff there a good bit, and some recruiting experts actually believe the Irish lead. I think UK could make a big push in his recruitment if they really wanted to, but I think he ends up elsewhere next Wednesday.
He officially visited Ohio State this weekend, where he received a scholarship offer from the school of his dreams. We told you last week that an offer meant Munford was going to become a Buckeye, and this remains true. He likely won’t announce his decision until Signing Day, but his mind is already made up.
He’s Ohio State bound.
Dingle took an official visit to Utah this weekend, and by the look of his Twitter feed, it went well. He also officially visited Lane Kiffin and Florida International the weekend before. As far as I know, he’s still planning on taking an official visit to Kentucky this weekend.
Danny Davis’ situation really puts a twist on things, as the Kentucky staff will absolutely not take two receivers to close out the class, meaning both Dingle and Yeast are on the back burner for now. If Davis becomes a Wildcat, both Dingle and Yeast are off the table. Dingle is a talented player and the staff loves his film, but when you look at best player available, the proof is in the pudding. Danny Davis could step in and contribute immediately, and the staff has certainly accounted for that.
Should UK skip out on Davis, I firmly believe Dingle remains an option. He certainly loves the Wildcats and has a great relationship with Lamar Thomas. My gut, however, is Kentucky looks elsewhere with their final two spots and Dingle heads to Utah.
Culpepper is still taking his official visit to UK this weekend, and there is significant mutual interest there. Culpepper, a four-star DB out of Florida, would be an incredible depth signing for UK. He wouldn’t be asked to come in and contribute immediately, instead, redshirting his first year and growing in the system.
I feel that Culpepper is certainly an option with one of the final two scholarship spots if the visit goes well this weekend. The staff has him fairly high on the priority list, and Culpepper knows this.
Things are still up in the air here, but we should know more after his visit this weekend.
This one is a name to keep a close eye on. Last week when I released this, UK and Jones were flirting with one another and a visit was possible, but it wasn’t set in stone. Now, he’s taking his official visit this weekend and his interest in the Wildcats is significantly high right now.
The only problem? UK has not had a committable offer for him, despite several sites saying he has one. If they give him one this weekend, I could definitely see him pulling the trigger and signing with Kentucky next week. There’s just so much grey area right now and a lot of moving pieces, so an offer is not certain by any means.
As far as the priority list goes for the Wildcats, I’d say Jones falls anywhere from three to five on guys they want. If they miss out on one of the top two, I think he’s right there for the Cats to sign on NSD.
Who gets the final two spots?
At this point, I’m not sure anybody knows for certain.
If Danny Davis checks out, he gets one. No debate. Beyond Davis, there’s a ton of grey area on that last scholarship offer. I believe Jones and Culpepper are the front-runners to take the spot, but the UK staff has done their homework on all prospects available. There’s a good chance they’re working behind the scenes on a guy that we haven’t been focusing on that may be committed elsewhere, and we could all be surprised on Signing Day.
What is known is that the staff is extremely confident right now, and rightfully so.
The good news for UK is that they have all of their “needs” out of the way already, meaning everything else at this point is just gravy. UK could strike out entirely before Signing Day and still be busting out the champagne when the fax machine starts rolling on Wednesday.
If they all stay together, and I truly think they will, this will end up being the greatest recruiting class in UK football history.
We’re coming in hot, BBN. Be ready for a crazy week of recruiting leading all the way up to Wednesday morning.
By Nick Roush on ©January 23rd, 2017 @ 9:30pm
Thayer Munford Probably isn’t Coming to Kentucky
For quite some time, it appeared as though the Cats would close on the four-star Ohio offensive tackle. After this weekend, all hope is (probably) gone. Since the bowl season ended, Ohio State has put on the full-court press, culminating with a scholarship offer at Munford’s official visit this past weekend. Munford will probably become a Buckeye, but you can never count out the big dog, Vince Marrow.
BBN never count out coach Stoops or the big dog i love to battle. Go Big Blue.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) January 23, 2017
UK Commit Visited Penn State
Munford wasn’t the only UK recruit taking an official visit to a Big Ten campus this weekend. Four-star Kentucky defensive end commit Joshua Paschal was in Happy Valley last weekend for an official visit. Penn State’s James Franklin will not stop recruiting Paschal until NSD, but the consensus is that it will not change Paschal’s mind *knock on wood*.
Former UK Recruit De-Commits from UofL
With just over a week until National Signing Day, three-star Tampa, Fl. defensive end/outside linebacker Jabreel Stephens announced on Twitter today he will no longer be a UofL Cardinal. When Stephens committed to UofL back in October, he was also being recruited by Kentucky. The Cats offered Stephens back in May and he attended camp over the summer.
Could Stephens flip to Kentucky? Probably not. The 247 Crystal Ball believes Stephens will stay at home and play for Charlie Strong at USF.
Schlarman, Stoops on the Road
Mark Stoops joined John Schlarman for a trip to Pike County to see future Kentucky offensive lineman, Austin Dotson. As you can see, Dotson is not small.
One Name to Watch
Stoops will host many recruits for the final recruiting weekend before NSD (College Gameday vs. Kansas couldn’t come at a better time). The name you need to remember is Sterling Jones. A late-riser, the Cats are coming in hot for the Alabama inside-linebacker. Jones is also considering UCF, Louisville, Purdue and Auburn, but he’ll probably be rolling dice before he leaves Lexington.
Mark Stoops may have lost the battle, but he’s determined to win the war.
Russ Yeast, the 4-star athlete and son of former UK great Craig Yeast, pledged his allegiance to the blue and white early in the recruiting process, but decided to re-open his recruitment last June. Four months later, Yeast decided it was in his best interest to become a Card. Mark Stoops hasn’t quit fighting.
Good in home with @UKCoachStoops yesterday
— Russ Yeast™ (@russ_yeast03) January 20, 2017
The Under Armour All-American was offered by Notre Dame and Stoops’ brother Bob this week. Yeast revealed he also received in-home visits from UofL and Notre Dame yesterday. Mark Stoops has a 33 percent chance of flipping Yeast back to Kentucky according to the 247 Crystal Ball.
If Yeast flips, this is what you’ll see at Kentucky.
There is a popular runner-up in Lexington today visiting the state’s most prized football recruit.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban, looking a little happier than he was last week, took a break from complaining about Clemson’s pick play to pay a visit to Jedrick Willis. Saban stopped by Wills’ Lafayette High School to make sure the four-star offensive tackle is still ready to sign the Alabama paperwork on February 1.
Wills tweeted this photo of the visit:
— Jedrick Wills ii® (@JWills73) January 19, 2017
Wills is all set to become one of 23 four and five-star players in Saban’s next great No. 1 recruiting class on Signing Day.
That’s not even fair.
By Drew Franklin on ©January 19th, 2017 @ 8:30am
One of Mark Stoops’ remaining targets in the 2017 class has canceled his upcoming trip to Lexington and solidified his commitment to The U.
Jon Ford, a three-star defensive end out of Fort Lauderdale, made plans to take an official visit to the University of Kentucky this coming weekend; however, a tweet he sent out Wednesday night announced that he will remain committed to Miami, despite recent speculation that a decommitment was imminent.
— Jon Ford 🎱 (@ford__9) January 19, 2017
Ford committed to Miami in January of last year and will follow through with that yearlong commitment. Kentucky’s last-minute efforts in flipping the No. 26 defensive end came up just short, two weeks shy of National Signing Day.
The Cats currently have 23 committed players in the class.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©January 17th, 2017 @ 2:30pm
We’ve officially reached the home stretch, Wildcat fans. National Signing Day is just over two weeks away, and the Kentucky football staff is racking up their SkyMiles trying to keep the Class of 2017 intact, along with securing a few final commitments in the process.
To start the year, even Mark Stoops admitted this would be a small recruiting class, with just over 20 signatures likely to be accepted. But here we are. UK is now up to 23 commitments, and they’re not done yet. My understanding is that Kentucky has 2-3 more spots available in this class, with each likely being high-profile recruits.
Let’s take a look at final list of prospects for Kentucky:
Four-star OT out of Massillon, Ohio
Munford’s situation is extremely interesting, as it seems this recruitment is coming down to both UK and Ohio State, and a single offer can (and would) sway his decision. If Ohio State offers Munford, my understanding is that’s where he’s going. Ohio State recently paid him a visit at his basketball game, but an offer did not come.
Ohio State has several high-ranked prospects left on their board, but just two scholarship spots remaining. They only have two offensive line commitments right now, so do they go more for position need or best player available? Let’s hope for the latter.
A new piece of information I have heard is Ohio State is preparing for a current commitment to flip, and they would likely use that open scholarship for Munford. If the flip occurs, Munford gets the offer, and likely becomes a Buckeye shortly thereafter.
This recruitment will likely lead right up to the final few days of January, and Kentucky will continue to push until pen meets paper. UK is holding one of their last few spots for Munford, making him the biggest remaining priority.
Four-star WR out of Miami Gardens, Florida
As we told you guys a few weeks back, Kentucky is the favorite for Dingle, and will likely receive his signature on National Signing Day… if there’s space. When I last talked to him, he couldn’t stop raving about the Wildcats, the coaching staff, and how excited he was to get to Lexington for his official visit. He said, “I think this visit is going to finalize things for me, especially with Signing Day being the week after. My visit to Kentucky is going to tell me where I want to be, give me faith in my decision when I sign my paperwork.”
The players and coaching staff like this kid a lot, but wide receiver is not a position of need right now, and would like to focus on some of the “big name” options. Having a four-star like Dingle with the interest he has in Kentucky says a lot about the program and the progress they’ve made. Tell me again when UK has had the ability to keep a four-star “on hold” before?
If Kentucky misses out on Munford, I believe Dingle signs with the Cats.
Four-star ATH out of Cocoa, Florida
He visited with both Oregon State and Oregon coaches this past weekend, and by look of his social media feed, he enjoyed his time. He’s currently committed to USF, but it seems almost certain he’ll be signing elsewhere on February 1st.
UK and Oregon have been the two favorites for a few weeks now, and I believe one of those schools will be his final destination. Oregon seems to be the team to beat right now, as the commitment of Lynn Bowden puts a spin on things. UK recruited both of them to play similar positions, where getting the ball in their hands was the biggest priority. The staff doesn’t see a need for both, but could use him if he’s dying to pull the trigger. I see Bowden more in the slot and Judson as a primary rusher, so there’s room for both.
One interesting note on Judson: He and former UK receiver Jeff Badet are good friends and remain in contact, with Kentucky coming up in several conversations in the past. Did Badet’s transfer impact Judson’s interest? Who knows, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Judson is an interesting case that will likely come down to the final few days before Signing Day, with Kentucky very much in contention leading up to then.
Per his Twitter, Judson just switched out his official visit to Kentucky on January 27th to USF, meaning the Wildcats are likely looking elsewhere for one of their final few spots.
Four-star WR out of Springfield, Ohio
As of now, I believe the four-star WR out of Ohio will be headed elsewhere, despite UK being the overwhelming favorite in his Crystal Ball on 247 Sports. There was a time it seemed that Davis was a lock to Kentucky, but contact seems to have faded out from both sides. He’s a top 100 prospect and a consensus four-star, so the lack of communication has to have some reasoning behind it, especially with Vince Marrow as his lead recruiter.
Sources have told KSR that the reason for Davis’ lack of interest is, in fact, due to grades. According to an Ohio source, interest was high throughout the top schools in the nation, but they soon realized there would be a major roadblock on the academic side of things for Davis and he may not qualify. Thus, interest is low and not many are wanting to take the chance on him.
It seems West Virginia is still making an effort on Davis, and I would consider them the favorite right now.
Things could shake up in the last two weeks where the UK coaching staff makes a big push, but I don’t see it right now. If that does happen, it will be one or the other between Davis and Dingle, both will not be coming.
Four-star DB out of Miami Gardens, Florida
Does UK really need another commitment from a defensive back? Not really. But this is Mark Stoops we’re talking about, a guy that lives and breathes for freak athletes in his secondary.
He’ll be visiting Kentucky in the final week of January with teammate Kevaughn Dingle, and reportedly loves the Wildcats. With offers from Oregon, LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, and countless others, the dude is no slouch, and bringing him in at such a critical time of the recruiting season certainly means something. I don’t think the staff has made him a major priority, but if they miss out on some other guys, I’m hearing he would be a take for the Wildcats.
I’m working on getting an interview with him either before or after his official visit to Kentucky, so I’ll try to keep you guys updated with anything I hear.
Three-star DE out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Ford is the recruit I’m having the most trouble with. The staff has made him a big priority, and I certainly believe there is mutual interest, with Kentucky being in his top two schools right now. That being said, it just seems way too quiet between both sides, and he still raves about Miami (the school he’s committed to) on a consistent basis on social media.
He’s going on an official visit to UK this weekend, so he’ll be able to see the basketball game against South Carolina on top of UK football’s sales pitch. He’ll be able to interact with some crazy fans and get a real feel for campus life, two positives for Kentucky. If all goes well, I could see UK taking the lead after this weekend, even with an official visit to Miami coming the following weekend.
Ford would be a massive get both literally and figuratively. At 6’5, 250 lbs., he’s a freak of nature on the defensive line, and would just add to Stoops’ best DL class to date. The staff wants him bad, and they’ll be fighting their hardest for him right up to the end of the process.
As of now, the Kentucky staff is preparing for signatures from each committed prospect, and the general consensus is that this class will remain intact entirely. Every year there’s always a couple guys that surprise the coaching staff, but I feel that this class is extremely solid and they’ll all follow through on their word.
Should there be a few surprises, look at the list above and plug them in accordingly. UK has guys lined up and ready to go in preparation of a full class, meaning the War Room will be a fun one on February 1st.
Two weeks away, folks. Get ready.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 16th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Good morning, friends, and happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Whether you’re at work/school or at home, we’ll get you through the day, which is chock full of UK sports news. Shoutout to the UK Cheerleading squad, who brought home their 22nd national championship yesterday, an unprecedented feat. Here’s part of their routine:
— American Cheerleader (@cheerleadermag) January 16, 2017
The UK Dance Squad also turned in an impressive performance, finishing second in the Hip Hop competition and fourth in the Pom competition. Well done, ladies.
Now, on to the rest of today’s agenda…
1. We’ll look forward to Mississippi State
Starkville is the armpit of America, so thankfully, Matt didn’t require one of us to go, but we’ll do our best to prepare you for Kentucky’s game throughout the day. Here’s a glimpse at what Ben Howland’s squad has done so far this season:
Given the horrid state of SEC Basketball, it’s hard to tell how impressive Mississippi State’s 3-1 league record really is, but regardless, the Cats can’t afford to look past tomorrow’s showdown at The Hump.
2. John Calipari will be on the SEC Teleconference
Cal will discuss tomorrow’s matchup and take a few questions on this morning’s SEC Teleconference, so check the site mid-morning for highlights.
3. Joel Justus will preview Mississippi State at 2:45 p.m.
Because Calipari’s doing the SEC call, assistant coach Joel Justus will preview Kentucky’s road trip at 2:45 p.m., along with a few players. We’ll have a live stream on the site and a recap shortly after.
4. Four future Cats were named to the McDonald’s All-American Game
If you missed the news last night, Quade Green, Nick Richards, P.J. Washington, and Jarred Vanderbilt were chosen for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which will be played March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. In a telling stat, 29 Kentucky players have been chosen for the all-star game in the Calipari Era, the most by far of any program. In fact, this screenshot tells you all you need to know:
Coincidentally, all four of Kentucky’s commits will play on the same team as Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox, which is good because, you know, peer pressure. Speaking of…
5. Bamba will take an official visit to UK this weekend
Mohamed Bamba is the biggest remaining target in the 2017 class and this weekend, he’ll take his official visit to Lexington. The 7-footer already visited for Big Blue Madness and has taken official visits to Michigan and Texas. Quade Green and Hamidou Diallo have been relentless in their pursuit of Bamba, so hopefully having him on campus this weekend can further Kentucky’s case. His 247 Sports Crystal Ball is a 50/50 split between Duke and Kentucky, but on Thursday, Jerry Meyer flipped his pick from the Blue Devils to the Cats, which is a very good sign.
6. Calipari visited Immanuel Quickley yesterday
Because the man is incapable of sitting still, Calipari was on the recruiting trail yesterday, visiting 2018 star Immanuel Quickley. Quickley is currently the only point guard in the 2018 class with a scholarship offer from Kentucky, and visited UK for Big Blue Madness back in October. He’s also got offers from Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, and Virginia.
7. Drake wore a Zion Williamson jersey over the weekend
Zion Williamson is considered one of the best players in the 2018 class and still doesn’t have an offer from Kentucky, but he does have the endorsement of one of UK’s most famous fans, Drake. Drake was pictured wearing Williamson’s jersey this weekend:
A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on
Don’t put your middle fingers up like that, kids. It’s not nice.
8. So, landing Lynn Bowden was huge
In case you missed it between all the basketball, Mark Stoops landed a huge recruit on Saturday in four-star athlete Lynn Bowden. Bowden chose the Cats over Penn State and West Virginia, and has been described as the most electric playmaker since Randall Cobb. Keeping Bowden on board will be paramount over the next couple of weeks, and cross your fingers that Ohio State doesn’t come calling.
A photo posted by HUNCHO 😎 (@h.huncho_) on
9. How about those Green Bay Packers?
Speaking of Randall Cobb, how about last night’s Packers/Cowboys game?? Green Bay advanced to the NFC Championship in thrilling fashion thanks to a last second 51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. It was awesome:
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 16, 2017
Bud Dupree and the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship game as well. The Packers take on the Falcons in Atlanta next Sunday. Anyone want to swing through Nashville and pick me up on the way to the game?
10. Today’s the last day to #NBAVOTE
Do you want your favorite former Cats to be NBA All Stars? Then you best get to voting because the polls close today. Here’s how:
- Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
- Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
- Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
- Do the same thing on Facebook
- You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.
Radio in an hour…
By Haley Simpson on ©January 15th, 2017 @ 6:00pm
With the addition of Lynn Bowden to the 2017 recruiting class yesterday, Kentucky’s class is now listed in the Top 25 of every major website.
Joe Mussatto of SEC Country compared the 2014 class, the best in program history from Stoops second year at UK, and 2017 class to figure out which one was really the best.
The class of 2014 brought Kentucky six four-star recruits, the top ones being Drew Barker, Matt Elam and Darius West. However, it was several others who contributed the most, according to Mussatto:
“Boom Williams, who declared for the NFL Draft, was the No. 5 prospect in the class and was a 1,000-yard rusher in his junior season. He averaged more than 6.5 yards per carry in his three seasons with the Wildcats and found the end zone 20 times. Kentucky had no more dynamic playmaker than Williams.
Safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Denzil Ware have developed into two of Kentucky’s best defenders. Both were top-10 commitments of the 2014 class. Edwards was second on the team with 100 tackles and intercepted Lamar Jackson twice in the regular-season finale against Louisville. Ware was Kentucky’s fourth-leading tackler and was second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss.”
Overall, the 2014 class was ranked No. 22 and tenth in the SEC by 247Sports and then No. 18 and ninth in the SEC by Rivals.
From the class of 2017 Kentucky has four five-star recruits coming in, the top ones being Lynn Bowden, JaVonte Richardson and Joshua Paschal. Ranked N0. 21 and ninth in the SEC by 247 Sports and No. 17 and eighth in the SEC by Rivals. Time will tell with this class, just as it did with the 2014 class but here’s what Mussatto had to say about it:
“Bowden projects as a slot receiver and he will join incoming No. 2 prospect JaVonte Richardson in the pass catching corps. The Cats are loading up on playmakers and 4-star wide receiver prospect Danny Davis (Springfield, Ohio) remains a top target.
Defensive end is another position group that sticks out. Three of the top-8 commits in the class are defensive ends, led by 4-star Joshua Paschal (Olney, Md.). Three-star prospects Alex King (Mason, Ohio) and Jordan Wright (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) are the other two.”
National signing day is just a little more than two weeks away, meaning the staff will be spending the time keeping the recruits they have settled with Kentucky. February 1st will tell the tale of which class is the better.
To read the rest of Joe’s post, click here.
Four-star athlete Lynn Bowden announced he will be a Kentucky Wildcat. The nation’s No. 5 athlete and No. 160 prospect overall chose Kentucky over Penn State and West Virginia.
The Youngstown-native was recruited by a pair of Youngstown’s finest, Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow. Bowden becomes the 23rd player in the 2017 class. The highest-ranked player in the class, Kentucky’s Top 25 class should become a Top 20 class, jumping the likes of Florida and Arkansas in the process.
Bowden was this year’s Mr. Ohio runner-up, falling just short to former UK commit Michael Warren. Still, Bowden’s senior statistics are ridiculous: 2,277 rushing yards, 1,366 passing yards and 57 total touchdowns. Bowden finished his career with 4,178 rushing yards. In his four years he broke almost every school record held by Ohio State’s National Championship-winning running back Maurice Clarett. Watch how he racked up some of those statistics.
Stay tuned for more on what Bowden’s announcement means to Kentucky.
By Nick Roush on ©January 14th, 2017 @ 10:00am
Normally gamedays begin by discussing the game, but today is different. Yesterday I woke up to Ryan Lemond’s laugh. The roster news didn’t end there. We might even receive more football roster news before the day is done. Here’s what happened and what could happen before the day is done.
1. Jeff Badet to Graduate, Transfer
Kentucky’s leading wide receiver is leaving the program. Badet caught 31 passes for 670 yards and 4 touchdowns. At 21.6 yards per catch, he led the SEC in yards per catch and was sixth in the nation. What’s most problematic: Kentucky’s two fastest players on the 2016 team, Boom and Badet, left with a year of eligibility remaining.
It stinks, but it makes sense. Badet was recruited into an Air Raid offense. He struggled with injuries until his talents were finally validated this year, but in a run-first offense. Even as Kentucky’s greatest homerun threat, getting 10 caches in a game is improbable. The most any receiver had in a single game this season was when Badet caught seven passes against Miss. State.
It stinks, but it makes sense, and we wish him the best.
Moving forward, Kentucky has plenty of receivers ready to fill his spot. Tavin Richardson, Jabari Greenwood and Kayaune Ross have adequate experience on the outside, and Garrett Johnson can be a speedy deep ball threat (just ask UofL). Also, the highest-ranked recruit in the 2017 class, Javonte Richardson, plays his position.
2. UK Announces Seven Mid-Year Signees
Fifteen minutes after breaking the Badet news, Kentucky announced the addition of seven early enrollees: QBs Danny Clark and Walker Wood, WR Clevan Thomas, RB Bryant Koback, OLB Jamin Davis, and DBs Cedrick Dort and Lonnie Johnson. Of the seven, JUCO safety Lonnie Johnson is the only one guaranteed to play immediately, filling the holes left by Blake McClain and J.D. Harmon.
Jamin Davis is Freddie’ favorite, but mine is Bryant Koback. Koback’s play is reminiscent of Benny Snell’s. He doesn’t run over people like Snell, but he plays with a low pad level, carrying his momentum forward whenever he’s hit.
Koback could have attained some HUGE offers, but was injured in just the fifth game of the season. Prior to the injury, Koback rushed for 1,096 yards on 93 carries (11.78 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns in just four games (more than 5 scores per game). His highlights are not too shabby.
You can see highlights from of all seven early enrollees here.
3. Lynn Bowden Announcement
Before the craziness of yesterday, I planned on leading off with Bowden’s announcement. Even with a home basketball game, the potential addition of Bowden is the biggest news of the day. He’s that good.
I’ve ranted and raved about Bowden before, but you can’t say enough about Youngstown’s finest. The No. 5 athlete in the nation is a program-changing player. Just like Boom Williams, Bowden has the potential to bust open a big play on any given snap. Bowden is set to choose between Penn State, West Virginia and the Cats. If Ohio State stays away, Bowden will be in blue next fall.
Bowden said he’ll announce “around 1:45ish.” Don’t wait around on your computer for the announcement like last Saturday. Just download the KSR app (Google Play and iTunes), turn your notifications on and I’ll let the sound of Ryan Lemond’s laughter bring you joyful news.
4. Bruce Pearl Returns to Rupp
The former head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers is in his third season at Auburn. This year the Tigers are 11-5, but I’m more focused on the coach than the players. Pearl has a 2-7 record against John Calipari. He’s never won at Rupp Arena, but the Tigers enter with a one-game winning streak over the Cats after last year’s win at Auburn Arena.
Even though he’s been a Tiger for three years now, this is still the first thing that comes to mind every time I hear Pearl’s name.
5. Quick-Hitters on Today’s Game
- It tips-off at 4:00 on ESPN with Tom Hart, Kaylee Hartung and Kara Lawson Barling on the call.
- The KSR Pregame Show begins at 1:30 on 630 WLAP.
- Auburn is led by Mustapha Heron, a fourth team preseason All-SEC selection. Heron averages 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
- Auburn has two signature wins. They beat Oklahoma by four and defeated UConn by three in overtime.
More on the Tigers later today.
6. Go Behind-the-Scenes for Today’s Game
Drew Franklin is busting out the Snapchat machine to take you behind-the-scenes for today’s game at Rupp Arena. From watching warm-ups on the floor to the City BBQ nachos, Drew will show you what it’s like to cover a Kentucky basketball game for KSR. Take a pic of the pic below or add him at drew_franklin.
7. Watch Bamba Play Ayton After UK
After you watch your Kentucky Wildcats, grab a meal, then head back to your TV to see the two best post players in the country face off at 8:00 on ESPN. DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 player in the nation, is committed to Arizona. Mohamed Bamba, the No. 3 player in America, first entered Cal’s radar after dominating Ayton in the first event of this year’s EYBL. The 247 Composite gives UK and Duke a 50/50 shot at landing Bamba.
The Cats are also recruiting Bamba’s teammate, Cameron Reddish. The No. 4 player in the 2018 class, John Calipari watched the Westtown teammates play on Wednesday.
8. Today’s Sports Schedule
With the NFL Playoffs beginning at 4:35, it’s a front-loaded college basketball schedule.
- Noon: Trippers vs. Strippers on ESPN
- Noon: UGA at No. 23 Florida on ESPN2
- Noon: UConn at Georgetown on Fox
- 2:00: No. 9 Florida State at No. 11 North Carolina on ESPN
- 2:00: Oklahoma State at No. Kansas on ESPN2
- 2:00: No. 15 Xavier at No. 12 Butler on FS1
- 4:00: No. 10 West Virginia at Texas on ESPN2
- 4:30: No. 1 Baylor at No. 25 Kansas State on ESPNU
- 4:35: Seahawks at Falcons on Fox
- 8:15: Texas an Patriots on CBS
- 10:00: No. 21 St. Mary’s at No. 5 Gonzaga on ESPN2
9. You Need to start Watching Taboo
This week FX debuted Tom Hardy’s new show Taboo. I will not geek, but let’s just say I’m glad I used my DVR.
Without providing spoilers, I’ll set the scene. It’s London in 1814. Many thought Hardy’s character was dead, but he returns from Africa for his father’s funeral. His inheritance causes a split between Hardy and the East India Company. Hardy’s badassery and the wonderfully created setting will make this show one of the best this year. Hurry up and start it before you get too far behind.
10. Ali’s 75th Birthday Celebration Begins Today
Muhammad Ali would have turned 75 this upcoming Tuesday. The Center bearing his name will host a four-day celebration beginning today. There will be a service project with Ali Center staffers, a new Ali Art Tribute exhibit and free film screenings in the auditorium. Today’s lineup features a documentary I’m ashamed I’ve yet to see, When We Were Kings. Ali Bomaye!
10:00 a.m.: Ali Rap
11:00 a.m.: When We Were Kings
1:00 p.m.: The Trials of Muhammad Ali
3:00 p.m.: Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World
Unfortunately, it will not be as star-studded as his 50th birthday celebration.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 13th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Greetings, everyone, and happy Friday the 13th. If you believe in such things, I advise avoiding black cats, ladders, and opening umbrellas inside. According to the ever reliable internet, 17 million people suffer from “friggatriskaidekaphobics,” aka fear of Friday the 13th, which is an actual thing, I swear. If you’re one of them, we’re here for you. Just check out how happy our fans of the day look. They’re reppin’ the Cats atop a glacier in the New Zealand Southern Alps. Not bad, guys. Hope you enjoyed the helicopter tour.
Here’s what’s on today’s agenda…
1. John Calipari will preview Auburn
Fresh off the recruiting trail (more on that in a minute), John Calipari will meet with reporters at the Joe Craft Center this afternoon to preview tomorrow’s game vs. Auburn. Check the site around 2 p.m. for a live stream of his and select players’ comments, and shortly after for a full recap.
2. Yesterday, Calipari went recruiting
Cal went to the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Missouri to check in on UK signee PJ Washington and the top players in both the 2018 and 2019 classes, forward Marvin Bagley and wing RJ Barrett. The visit wrapped up a busy week of recruiting for Cal, who checked in on future UK point guard Quade Green on Wednesday, along with 2017 target Mohamed Bamba and 2018 star Cameron Reddish. That visit with Bamba must have gone well, because recruiting guru flipped his pick for Bamba from Duke to Kentucky, noting that Bamba’s friendship with Quade Green and the rest of UK’s 2017 class has put the Cats in a very good position.
3. Ellen went recruiting, too!
Can we talk about how much fun Ellen’s having this season? Not only is she in the stands to see Brad play every game, she’s even going on recruiting trips, which was unheard of in years past. Calipari joked on his podcast (for which Ellen helps him read ads) that before this year, Ellen was “Mrs. No” and now, she’s “Mrs. Yes.” The Caliparis even brought Ellen’s parents (pictured with them above) with them on this trip to Missouri.
You go, Ellen. Cute boots, too.
4. A quick glance at what Auburn’s been up to this season:
Auburn started its SEC slate with a three-game losing streak before getting back on track with a five-point win over Missouri, although anyone who’s seen Missouri play this year will tell you that’s not much.
5. How much will UK be favored by?
Despite Bruce Pearl’s best efforts, Auburn is not good, so I’m going with a lot. As in 17+. After a hard-fought win over Vanderbilt in which the Cats never really looked in sync, I’ll think they’ll come out on fire and cover, maybe even double up if Malik Monk’s hot. Sorry, Bruce.
6. Lynn Bowden announces tomorrow
Plenty of football recruiting to go along with basketball as we inch closer to Signing Day. Tomorrow, four-star athlete Lynn Bowden will announce his decision and all signs point to Kentucky. Yesterday, Freddie Maggard said Bowden is the most Randall Cobb-like prospect he’s evaluated since Randall Cobb, which is high, high praise. A source close to Bowden told me that Saturday should be huge for the Cats, barring a late offer from Ohio State. Stay away, Urban Meyer!
7. UK Hoops got a win last night
The ladies easily knocked off Alabama 71-54 in Tuscaloosa, thanks in part to a big night from Evelyn Akhator, who had a career-high 29 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. It was a much-needed win for Matthew Mitchell’s squad, who dropped out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since February 2010 on Monday. They’ll return to action on Sunday when they host Georgia at Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff’s at 3 p.m. ET and the game will be televised live on the SEC Network.
8. Alex Poythress scored 35 last night
Poythress continues to do good things in the D-League, and last night, scored 35 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Check out his first-half highlights below:
— NBA D-League (@nbadleague) January 13, 2017
9. Have you voted for your NBA Cats today?
If not, stop what you’re doing and get to it. Fan participation make up 50% of the vote this year. Here’s how:
- Go to NBA.com/vote and select your favorite players (you can vote once per day)
- Vote through the NBA app (once per day)
- Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. You can vote for up to ten players per day using this method.
- Do the same thing on Facebook
- You can even just Google search “NBA Vote All-Star” and it will pull up a special ballot.
10. KSR is live at Comedy off Broadway this morning
Matt and Ryan will hang out with The League‘s Steve Rannazzisi this morning and it’s open to the public, so start your weekend early and get down there. You’ve got one hour.