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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

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@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.


Was Sunday a Good Day for Kentucky Football Recruiting?

Was Sunday a Good Day for Kentucky Football Recruiting?

On Sunday Kentucky football fans received some good news and some bad news.  First, the bad news.

Early Sunday morning three-star Florida athlete Shocky Jacques-Louis withdrew his pledge to Kentucky in light of recent offers from Michigan, Louisville, Tennessee and many more.  Even though fans did not know him for long — he was only committed to UK for six weeks — he was an elite athlete from Florida with a memorable name.

A few hours later, three-star Lakota West defensive tackle Tyler Bentley committed to Kentucky after camping with the Cats over the weekend.  One of the most sought after defensive linemen in the midwest, few expected him to make an early decision after Louisville, LSU, Alabama and many other traditional powers extended offers.  Despite the push, the Cats presented enough to convince Bentley to commit to Kentucky.

There is a crowd of fans that say, “Wait till Signing Day!” after every commitment.  Jacques-Louis’ decision only fueled their fire, leaving them unable to enjoy an important and impactful decision that happened just a few hours later.

That crowd is relatively small, however, for a majority of fans that are not football nerds (the equivalent of Cal’s “Basketball Bennies”), it’s difficult to get excited about a player who performs in the trenches.  It’s much easier to notice elite athlete when you see breakaway speed on a highlight reel, but it’s tough to tell if a defensive lineman is a stud unless they’re plowing over opponents on a regular basis.

I’m here to tell you not to get distracted by the fancy lures explosive athletes bring to the table.  Even though it’s important to see recruiting progress in South Florida, there are dozens of players just like Jacques-Louis in his neighborhood.  They don’t make many like Bentley.  It takes a special talent to take on two blockers, read a backfield, shed the blocker, react and make a play in the backfield.

For the second consecutive year, Mark Stoops has lost a starter on the defensive line, the weak link in UK’s defense, in the preseason.  Bentley is the ideal player filling an ideal position for the Cats.

He is the lowest ranked commit in the 2018 recruiting class, but he’s the third-most important commit in the class and that’s worth being excited.  Yeah, I gotta say it was a good day.


Better Late than Never: An Unlikely Foursome That Led a Turnaround

AP Photo/David Stephenson

Florida receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis de-committed from Kentucky. Ohio defensive tackle Tyler Brentley pledged his loyalty to the Wildcats. This all happened within a short period of time. Following summer football recruiting can be a tiring proposition. Commitments, de-commitments, camps here-combines there are all challenging to track and even more confusing to interpret. Terms like “committable offer” also pop into the equation which makes even less sense.

Four improbable Wildcats committed to Mark Stoops late in the process and were described by some as being “reaches”. Reach is a word that’s used to describe prospects that don’t rate high in the eyes of recruiting services and are questionable to contribute quality minutes while in college. In this post you’ll read that these four “reaches” substantially contributed to the success of the 2016 season. How much you ask? Keep reading.

Imagine if these Wildcats hadn’t signed. Oh boy, things may have turned out differently a year ago. It’s important to remember that National Signing Day was held on the first Wednesday in February for the context of this post.

Let’s take a look: 

Josh Allen, Outside Linebacker

Committed on January 31st, 2015; three days prior to National Signing Day (NSD).

Chose UK over Monmouth and Buffalo.

Contribution

2015: Allen played in all 12 games as a true freshman after being forced into action following the Jason Hatcher fiasco. Finished the season with four tackles including 1.5 tackles for loss and .5 QB sack. A redshirt would have been ideal. 

2016: Played in all 13 games, starting nine. Ended the season as Kentucky’s 7th leading tackler with 62 total. Led the team and SEC with four forced fumbles. Finished 12th in the SEC with 7 QB sacks, also good enough for tops on the team. -2017 Outlook

Rated as one of the SEC’s top outside linebackers. Projected starter and is on NFL Draft watch lists. A 2-star prospect at the time of his Kentucky commitment; Josh Allen has evolved into an upper-level producer for Mark Stoops. His best football lies ahead.

Stephen Johnson, Quarterback

Committed on January 16th, 2016; 18 days prior to NSD.

Chose UK over Hawaii and Arkansas State

Contribution

Entered fall camp as the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Drew Barker. Led the Cats to seven wins in its last eleven games of 2016. Holds a 5-4 record as a starter but entered the game early in relief duty in wins over New Mexico State and Austin Peay.

Completed 145 of 265 passes (54.7%) for 2,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johnson was named SEC Player of the Week by Gridiron Now and the Manning Award Start of the Week for his 16-27, 338 yard, 3 TD, and 83 rush-yards performance in the Cats win over Louisville. He was also selected as the Taxslayer Most Valuable Player after completing 19 passes for 175 yards and 2 touchdowns. Johnson did not throw a 4th quarter interception in 2016.

2017 Outlook

Stephen Johnson was a program lifesaver. Wasn’t always the prettiest quarterback in the league, but the California native simply won games. At times, UK quarterbacks in the Stoops era appeared to become rattled in the face of adversity. Not the unflappable Stephen Johnson. He made mistakes, sure. But the positives greatly outweighed the negatives.

Nobody could have guessed that he would eventually lead the team to a New Year’s bowl after being thrown into the early fire following Barker’s injury. I think most agree that Johnson has much to improve upon. But; his composure, leadership, and tendency to play his best in big games were essential to Kentucky’s 7-6 season.

Coaches insist a quarterback competition will ensue but Johnson is considered to be the team’s starting quarterback and team leader going into fall camp.

TJ Carter, Defensive End

Committed on January 29th, 2016; three days prior to NSD.

Chose UK over Memphis, Samford, and Wyoming

Contribution

2016: Not a lot of folks jumped up and down following the Georgia native’s commitment. One that did was former UK great Jeremy Jarmon. Jarmon took one look at his film and proclaimed that “this kid will be a starter.”

The former 2-star prospect earned playing time as a true freshman. Carter registered 11 total tackles, .5 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup in his rookie year. He earned PFF (Pro Football Focus) top grade for all defensive Wildcats in the Taxslayer Bowl.

2017 Projection

Projected as the starting defensive end following the news of Alvonte Bell’s dismissal. His January 29th commitment now has major win/loss ramifications and Stoops and company appear ingenious in hindsight. Extremely high ceiling.

Naquez Pringle, Nose Tackle

Committed on January 17th, 2016; seventeen days prior to NSD.

Chose UK over Appalachian State and Central Florida

Contribution

Given the direness of the nose tackle position, an argument could be made that Naquez Pringle was the most essential Class of 2016 signee. Pringle came on to the scene with very little fanfare but quickly earned respect by inserting himself into the lineup and becoming a key component of the Wildcat defensive line. While the BBN awaited Matt Elam’s emergence as a reliable starter, it was Pringle that went on to lead the defensive line in tackles.

2016: Started five games after recording his first start against Vanderbilt. Did not play vs. Southern Miss, registered 5 tackles and a TFL in game two against Florida. Finished last season as the team’s top interior defensive line tackler with 39 total tackles, 2 TFL, 1 QB sack.

2017 Outlook

Projected to start at nose tackle. Transformed his body into a more durable down-lineman. Was in my opinion the most improved player on the team from spring to fall. Diligent worker, Pringle’s best football lies ahead. 

What does all this mean?

Kentucky would not have enjoyed a winning season in 2016 if not for the four late, unheralded pickups listed above. Plain and simple. Think about it; this group includes the team’s highest offensive stat producer, most QB sacks and forced fumbles, top defensive line tackler, and the future at defensive end.

Football recruiting is a strange business. Yes, I said business. The premise of this post is based on the significance of four prospects that were late additions that chose Kentucky over the likes of Appalachian State, Samford, Buffalo, Arkansas State, and Monmouth. Efficient roster management requires all types of players: From 4-stars to 2, early and late commitments, JUCO and high school prospects alike.

Full disclosure; I tried my best to watch last weekend’s recruiting showcase camp at Kroger Field. I lasted all of three minutes. I understand their importance but I can’t imagine having to watch those type events on a regular basis throughout the duration of the summer.

I know; I’m old and suffer from a severe case of old-schoolitis. The game has passed me by. Fill in the blank with any other reaction that will likely be made here. But, call me when the pads start popping for accurate evaluations. The truth of the matter is that we really don’t know which players will decide the fate of a season until they get onto campus. Very few if any predicted that the foursome comprised of Josh Allen, Stephen Johnson, Naquez Pringle, and TJ Carter would quickly become fundamental members of a bowl team that is currently trending upward in the SEC East.


Visit Prestonsburg’s KSR Top 10

Discover Prestonsburg, the “Star City of Eastern Kentucky”. Whether you’re into outdoor adventure, musical entertainment, theatre, history or science, Prestonsburg has a little something for everyone.  Located along U.S. 23, the country music highway, Prestonsburg offers an array of musical entertainment.  The Mountain Arts Center is a performing arts venue that hosts the Billie Jean Osborne’s KY Opry.  Be mesmerized by the local talent on stage that will leave you understanding why we say, “There’s something in the water”.   The KY Opry kicks off June 17.  If you’re looking for just a relaxing music evening, checkout some of our local restaurants such as McGuire’s Brickhouse or Lizzie B’s on Friday and Saturday Nights that have local bands performing into the night.

Catch an outdoor theatre show at the Jenny Wiley Theatre this summer.  This year’s summer shows will include Tarzan and Madagascar.  Shows start June 23 for a magical experience under the stars.   For history buffs, educate yourselves at the Battle of Middlecreek, the largest Civil War battle in Eastern KY or tour through the Historic Samuel May House.  Explore the East Kentucky Science Center & Varia Planetarium one of the most technologically advanced planetariums in the nation.  You also don’t want to miss out on the Hubble Exhibit on display until September.

For the outdoor enthusiast, enjoy Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.  The park features plenty of hiking, biking, fishing, birding, boating opportunities and even elk tours during the fall & winter season.  Check out our newly created Sugar Camp Mountain Trails that add an additional 26 miles of mountain biking that are like no other in the region.  Like Kayaking? Experience our Levisa Fork PaddleFest, the fourth Saturday May – Sept., and kayak up the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River into Paintsville.  Of course no trip to Prestonsburg is complete without a trip to StoneCrest Golf Course, whether an avid golfer or just there to take in the views, this reclaimed strip mine is a beauty like no other.  Call Prestonsburg Tourism at 800-844-4704 or visit prestonsburgky.org for more information.


Good morning, friends. Let’s do this.

1. The team is on campus and working out

The basketball team rolled into town last week, and over the weekend, we got lots and lots of pics of them hanging out with fans at John Calipari’s first father-son camp of the summer. On Saturday, former Cat Julius Randle came to town to help out with the camp, as you can see in this pic from Cal:

No word yet on who’s impressing in pickup games, but it’s only a matter of time before some chatter leaks out.

2. Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries are working out for the Lakers

The NBA Draft is a week from Thursday, and today, both Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries will work out for the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the 2nd and 28th picks in the draft. Neither Briscoe nor Humphries are listed in any mocks, but a good performance could land them in a summer league. Meanwhile, De’Aaron Fox will be in LA tomorrow to meet and work out with the Lakers, who are still considering taking him at #2. As I told you on Friday, they’re still not sold on Lonzo Ball.

3. Mark Stoops lost and gained a commitment

Football recruiting giveth, and football recruiting taketh away, right? Yesterday, Florida wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis decommitted from Kentucky and, a few hours later, three-star defensive end Tyler Bentley committed to Kentucky. The 6’2″ Bentley is considered the 64th best defensive tackle in the country and the 35th best player in the state of Ohio. Not too shabby.

4. It was a big weekend for Kentucky track

The UK Women’s Track and Field team finished fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon this weekend, its second best team finish at the event in the program’s history. The women’s 4x100m relay got things off to a great start, winning the first event on Saturday:

I’m tired just watching that.

5. Darius Miller got another German championship

@BroseBamberg

Shoutout to Darius Miller and Brose Bamberg for winning their third straight easyCredit BBL Championship in Germany this weekend. The former Cat averaged 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the best of five championship series, hitting 58.8% of his shots from the outside. Miller has a championship in high school, college, and now, three in the pros, so the saying is true, all he ever does is win, win, win no matter what what what.

6. Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight

Honestly, I was surprised the Warriors didn’t sweep the Cavs last week, but the Cavs forced a Game 5, which takes place tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC. There’s no way the Warriors lose at home, right?

7. Marshall Henderson found himself a Kentucky girl

He’s not wrong. If you’re curious what Marshall’s up to these days, well, not a whole lot. After a stint with the Reno Bighorns in the D-League, he most recently played for Pavia Basket in Italy. Now, apparently, he’s dating Kentucky girls.

8. What a season for the Nashville Predators

It didn’t end how I wanted it to, but my Nashville Predators had a hell of a run in the Stanley Cup Finals. Watching the city lose its mind over hockey was incredible, and even though that early goal totally should have counted, I’ll remember the run fondly, right down to the last sequin-hat wearing catfish. To go from the 16th seed all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals is a heck of an accomplishment, so there will be no head-hanging in this house. Now, everyone please leave Nashville and let us get back to normal.

9. Happy birthday, Drew!

Everyone take a moment to wish my compadre Drew a happy birthday. Last I heard, he was partying hard on Broadway in Nashville, so I’m sure he made the most of it. Enjoy your day, Drew.

10. The KSR Summer Tour begins

Today, Matt and Ryan kick the 2017 KSR Summer Tour off in Prestonsburg, so if you’re in the area, come on out to hear them discuss the UofL audit, Matt’s trip to Charleston, and lots of other fun and random stuff.


Yahtzee! Kentucky picks up commitment from 3-Star Defensive Tackle

Yahtzee! Kentucky picks up commitment from 3-Star Defensive Tackle

Kentucky Football has just received a commitment from Tyler Bentley a 3-star defensive tackle from Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. Bentley is 6’2″ member of the Class of 2018. 24-7 Sports ranks him as the number 35 player in the competitive state of Ohio. Bentley also held offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, LSU and Louisville.

Watch him work below:

 


Three Players pick up UK Offer

This weekend, UK Football is hosting one of its’ football camps. For a recap of yesterday’s events, check out this article from Nick Roush.

The event has also left three players with UK Offers. Here is what you need to know about each of them:

Christopher Henle

Henle is a 3-star tight end from Arlington, Texas. In his junior season, he finished with 579 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. He currently holds offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Houston, Illinois and now Kentucky. Watch Henle work below:

Antonio Gibson 

Gibson is a JUCO Wide Receiver from McDonough, Georgia. He currently attends East Central Community College. In his freshman season there, he hauled in 29 passes for 563 yards and 9 touchdowns. Gibson currently holds offers from schools like Colorado, Mississippi State and West Virginia. Watch him work below:


A.J. Kirk Jr.

From the Class of 2021, Kirk landed his first D1 offer, with the Cats offer. He has yet to play a down of high school varsity football as he will be entering his freshman year in Columbus, Ohio this coming season. He is the younger brother of former NFL Safety Mike Doss. Watch some highlights of him from this weekend from Scout.com below:


Follow me on Twitter @GormleyKSR


BREAKING: Shocky Jacques-Louis Decommits from Kentucky

Mark Stoops’ 2018 class took a potentially big hit this morning, as highly touted wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis has decided to decommit from the program and weigh his options:

Jacques-Louis would’ve made for a big recruiting victory for Darin Hinshaw. Hopefully the kid comes back around.

@JayWinkKSR


What We Learned at the First Kentucky Football Camp of the Summer

What We Learned at the First Kentucky Football Camp of the Summer

The summer season for Kentucky football began with more than a hundred campers the Kentucky football facility.  Split between the stadium and practice fields, coaches spent more than three hours working with some of their top recruits.

Here’s what we learned, along with a disclaimer: there are no rosters at these events.  Figuring out who is who can be difficult, but I think I got all I needed.  Check it.

—  Jarren Williams went to the Elite 11 Camp.  If you didn’t know who he was, all you had to do was see the quarterback’s Elite 11 swag.  From his shoes to his backpack, he brought everything from L.A. to Lexington.  Williams did not throw today, instead he spent his time talking with Darin Hinshaw and future teammates.

—  Williams’ wide receiver dominated.  A pair of Central Gwinnett wide receivers made the trip to Kentucky, Jallah Zeze and Khmari Thompson.  One player in yellow shorts — I’m almost certain it was Thompson — took on all takers in one-on-one drills and never lost.  He caught everything that went his way all over the football field.  Only once did he get bested with a bump at the line of scrimmage, and that was by arguably the most talented player at the camp.

—  Top 20 Cornerback from Michigan Visits.  I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out who the wide-bodied cornerback in adidas cleats was.  My Google search led me to Kalon Gervin, the No. 2 player in the state of Michigan, a Top 200 player overall and Top 20 cornerback in the nation.

Gervin is a teammate of DeAndre Square at Cass Tech in Detroit.  Square, a safety/outside linebacker, spent the day with Matt House, who often used Square as a teaching example during drills.  Gervin received that individual attention from Steve Clinkscale, the UK defensive backs coach and Gervin’s primary recruiter.  On one occasion, Clinkscale wouldn’t let Gervin get a water break with the rest of the players until he walked him through some man coverage tricks of the trade.

—  “Stay Up.”  Those two words were uttered more than any other by Steve Clinkscale during one-on-one period.  Everybody wants to be at their best in front of the coaches.  After getting beat, a few DBs tackled the WRs instead of letting them run the play out into the end zone.

“You ain’t going to get a scholarship by tackling somebody!” Clinkscale had to yell after his initial instructions were not followed.  One of the few who got a scholarship offer was a 2021 recruit, A.J Kirk Jr. from Columbus. Kirk is the younger brother of former NFL and Ohio State DB Mike Doss.

—  “Big Dogs.”  That was of course what Vince Marrow required the tight ends to say when they broke out of the huddle.  Tight end commit Brenden Bates was in Lex, but Keaton Upshaw received most of Marrow’s attention.

“You ever been in a fight?” Marrow asked after seeing Upshaw fire out of his stance for the first time.  After Upshaw replied negatively, Marrow implored, “Bring your whole body.  STRIKE!  PUNCH!”

Upshaw ferociously followed Marrow’s instructions.  It was impressive.  Normally 6’7″ 17-year old tight ends are gangly pass-catchers.  That’s not the case with Upshaw.  The Lima, Ohio native is jacked.  UK needs a second tight end in the 2018 class and Upshaw would be the perfect fit.

(L to R) Keaton Upshaw (@UpshawKeaton) with Jarren Williams and Brenden Bates.

—  Talented underclassmen running backs.  This is where figuring out names became too difficult.  There were some good looking guys working out with Eddie Gran, but differentiating the short, explosive underclassmen from one another was too much to handle.  Still, they were much more talented than I anticipated.

—  Nepotism.  Strength coach Corey Edmund’s son was one of the underclassmen at the camp.  A wide receiver, every current player on the field was watching him during one-on-ones.  He did not disappoint.  After one catch down the sideline, Coach Ed turned to the players and said, “Stay off his back,” causing the crowd to erupt in laughter.

—  One Player with Buzz.  There was a good crowd of current players at Kroger Field watching today’s activities.  Mike Edwards, Derrick Baity, Tobias Gilliam, Kayaune Ross (his younger brother camped), Clevan Thomas, Tymere Dubose, Jamin Davis, Cedrick Dort and A.J. Rose stayed the longest.  One player who wasn’t there was the most talked about newcomer: Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald.

Freddie was right, again.  The steal of the 2017 class, people around the program marvel at the freshman’s size and work ethic.  He is in the weight room every single day, so much so that they’re probably going to have to tell him to slow down soon.  Losing Alvonte Bell doesn’t hurt so bad after hearing about the progress of our boy Abule.


Mark Stoops’ Expected Visitors for this Weekend’s Camps

This weekend Mark Stoops is hosting his most talented crop of recruits for a pair of evening camps.

From a recruiting aspect, it’s another opportunity to roll out the red carpet for their top targets.  The camp also gives coaches another look at young talent that may not have been previously on their radar.  Most importantly, this is the only venue where coaches can individually work with commits.  The coaches can tell them where they want them to improve, show them different drills and techniques, all while building camaraderie to solidify their commitment.

Many of Kentucky’s 2018 commits and top targets are expected to appear at Kroger Field over the next two days.  Take a look…

Commits

Jarren Williams– The Kentucky quarterback commit received a four-star rating from Scout following his trip to L.A. for the Elite 11.  A finalist, he’s one of 11 quarterbacks who will compete with America’s best at The Opening in Oregon.

Alex Reigelsperger–  Vince Marrow’s lead Ohio recruiter for the Class of 2018, the defensive end from national powerhouse Wayne High School in Dayton will be busy convincing his peers to commit to UK.

Brenden Bates–  A three-star tight end from Cincinnati Moeller High School, the exceptional pass catcher is the first to fill the position of need in 2018.  They’ll add another tight end,to the class before National Signing Day, maybe a player who’s on campus this weekend.

The calm before the storm.

Quintin Wilson–  The Cincinnati Walnut Hills center is arguably the most underrated player in Kentucky’s 2018 class.

Marvin Alexander–  The three-star Florida wide receiver will get to show off his speed on the Kroger Field turf for the first time.

Marquan McCall–  The highest-ranked commit in the 2018 class, the Michigan offensive lineman is bringing plenty of talent with him to Lexington this weekend.  As you’ll see, one of them could commit before returning to Michigan.

Top 2018 Targets

Akeem Hayes– He’s committed to Louisville, but he has two Chaminade-Madonna Prep teammates committed to Kentucky, wide receiver Marvin Alexander and defensive end Davoan Hawkins.  Hayes will be in Lexington tomorrow after a trip to UofL.  If the Lexington trip doesn’t convince him to change his mind, maybe this Twitter poll might.

Tyler Bentley and Xavier Peters–  These two defenders from Lakota West are two players that would fill positions of need.  Bentley is one of the Midwest’s best defensive tackles and Peters is considered one of the ten best outside linebackers in the country.

DeAndre Square– The safety/outside linebacker could become Kentucky’s second commitment from the state of Michigan.  A top ten player in the Great Lakes State, don’t be surprised if he pulls the trigger and commits before returning to Detroit.

Keaton Upshaw–  A 6’7″ three-star tight end from Lima, Ohio, the lengthy athlete looks right at home in the Nutter Football Training Facility.

@UpshawKeaton

 

These are just a few of the hundreds who will be on campus this weekend.  For every player mentioned above, there will be three or four more teammates participating in the camp.

Follow me on Twitter and stay tuned to KSR later tonight where I’ll provide updates from Kroger Field.


Cats Make Top Six for Elite Louisville Wide Receiver

@Rondale_Moore03

Louisville Trinity slot receiver Rondale Moore is one of the fastest college football prospects in the country.  Moore’s 4.33 at a Nike Opening Regional was the fastest in the country among all receivers.  Now he is making moves in his recruitment.

On his birthday, Moore cut his list of potential schools to six: Kentucky, Purdue, Ohio State, Pitt, Penn State and Texas.

@Rondale_Moore03

It’s great that Kentucky is still in the mix, but it might be even better that Louisville is not.  A 67 percent favorite on the 247 Crystal Ball, many believed Moore would stay home to play for the Cards, but that’s not the case.

Other than the Buckeyes, Jeff Brohm at Purdue might be the Cats’ biggest threat after he received a commitment from quarterback Jack Plummer, son of Jake the Snake.  Moore visited Lexington for UK’s Spring Game and he may return for this weekend’s camps.  I’ll keep an eye out at Kroger Field tomorrow evening.


Jarren Williams is on campus today and he brought friends

Future Heisman trophy winner Jarren Williams is back in Lexington with a couple of his high school teammates and several other junior and senior football prospects. Williams tweeted out that he was on his way to town early this morning, reportedly alongside two of his wide receivers, Khmari Thompson and Jallah Zeze.

They’re all in town for Kentucky’s Saturday Night Prime Time Camp, where they will meet up with other UK commits and targets. UK commits expected to be in attendance include Alex Reigelsperger, Marvin Alexander, Quintin Wilson, and Brenden Bates.

Go Cats.


Kentucky’s new kicker featured in poll on MSN front page

Days after pledging his commitment to the University of Kentucky, the Wildcats’ new kicker for the future, Chance Poore, finds himself on the front page of MSN.com.

Poore is featured in today’s poll as one of four sports figures with ironic/unfortunate names, joining Grant Balfour (ex-MLB pitcher), Chris Blewitt (Pitt kicker) and Bob Walk (ex-MLB pitcher) on the list:

And he currently sits in second place:

Go vote and show him some more love.