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Junior College Outside Linebacker Marquez Bembry Commits to Kentucky


A junior college edge rusher from the state of Georgia has committed to Kentucky.  Marquez Bembry, a former Tennessee signee, announced he will join the Kentucky football team.

A three-star prospect from Atlanta in the class of 2017, Bembry was committed to play at Tennessee for more than a year before signing with the Vols.  After failing to academically qualify, Bembry enrolled at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss.  Bembry is expected to be a member of Kentucky’s 2019 recruiting class.

Check out highlights from his high school playing days.

Since his high school days, Bembry has transformed into a grown ass man.  He’ll play Josh Allen’s role as an outside linebacker for the Cats.

Bembry with outside linebackers coach Brad White (via @wadabbs22).

The KSR crew actually watched Bembry’s team play last year.  East Mississippi C.C. (of Last Chance U fame) hosted Jones County during KSR’s road trip to Southern Miss last fall.  Jones County’s logo shares a striking resemblance to another area logo.

Top Performers from Kentucky’s Opening Weekend Football Camps

Top Performers from Kentucky’s Opening Weekend Football Camps

Hundreds of campers filled the Kentucky football fields this weekend, hoping to captivate the the UK coaching staff.  Last night there quite a few standouts that could earn scholarship offers from Kentucky.

Kobe Stewart — A 6’3″ three-star wide receiver from Marietta, Georgia, Stewart brought a combination of length and explosiveness to the camp.  His breaks out of routes were so fast, defensive backs could not react quick enough.  Whether he was going deep, releasing into a quick slant out of bump coverage, or breaking off a defender with a comeback, it was no problem.

A 2020 prospect, Stewart’s only reported scholarship offer is from Louisville.

Dejaun McDougle —  The quickest kid at UK’s camp, the 5’10” receiver made a few people look like fools.  Exhibit A:

This one he made look even easier.

A three-star wide receiver in the 2020 class, McDougle already has more than 25 offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Alabama, Miami and Kentucky.  Wide receivers coach Michael Smith made sure McDougle did not go unnoticed.

Jaden Gibbs —  Another wide receiver that already has an offer from UK, Gibbs was arguably the most physical of the group.  A 6’3″ muscular athlete, Gibbs uses his width to create space and explode out of the catch.  A Knoxville native, Dean Hood spent plenty of time talking to the 2019 recruit once the camp concluded.

Devin Nicholson — Last fall Nicholson played alongside DeAndre Square at perennial powerhouse Cass Tech in Detroit.  Yesterday he was the most impressive linebacker at UK’s camp.  Listed as an outside linebacker, he spent the day working inside with Matt House and Courtney Love.  Quick out of his stance, Nicholson showed enough to earn an offer.  The 2019 prospect currently has nine scholarship offers, most notably from Iowa State.

Kingsley Grissett — A lengthy wideout in the 2019 class from Pompano Beach, Florida, Grissett could not be stopped at Saturday night’s camp.  Light on his feet, he earned a second and third look from Kentucky’s coaches.

Rahmod Smith — The first person to make me say, “Wow,” Smith was the camp’s most intriguing player.  Smith lined up with the wide receivers at 6’4″ 210 pounds and physically dominated his opponents.

Smith’s problem is that he’s a tweener.  You rarely see a wide receiver/defensive end combination, but that’s exactly what he is.  The fade-catching machine will likely be a tight end at the next level.  His tweener status has kept the big schools away from Miami Homestead’s 2019 prospect…for now.

Jordan Watkins — A few years ago one of my friends told me, “Roush, my next running back is going D-1.”  Normally my friend is full of it, but this time he wasn’t lying.  The bouncy 2020 Louisville DeSales athlete was one of the fastest kids at Kentucky’s camp.  The offers have not yet rolled in for Watkins, but that will not be the case for much longer.

Maverick Hansen — The UK coaches kept a keen eye on the offensive/defensive lineman from Farmington, Michigan.  Hansen displayed exceptional lateral quickness for a 6’7″ 270-pounder.  A 2019 prospect, Iowa State and a slew of MAC schools have offered Hansen.

Jacob Dean — An eye-opening offensive lineman, Dean did everything right moving North-South.  The 6’8″ offensive tackle has a powerful first step that packs quite the punch, making him one of the camp’s most physically impressive offensive linemen.  Laterally, there’s a little work to do, but he showed Michigan enough to earn a scholarship offer.  I think he did enough this weekend at UK to add another offer to his coffers.

The previous prospects stood out, but they weren’t the most talented kids on campus.  After all, UK quarterback commit Nik Scalzo was in the building, along with a dozen or more other visitors who did not participate in the camps.  Stay tuned to see who else visited and what they had to say about Kentucky’s recruiting pitch.

Views from Kentucky’s Sunday Night Football Camp

Views from Kentucky’s Sunday Night Football Camp

Kentucky brought more top talent to the Bluegrass for tonight’s primetime camp.  The weather forced the campers off Kroger Field and into the Nutter Field House, but it didn’t limit the action.

After watching hundreds of high schoolers compete over the last two days, there’s almost too much to talk about.  Before I gather my notes and thoughts from a busy weekend of football, enjoy the sights and sounds from tonight’s camp, one that featured quite a few SEC-caliber prospects.

Deajaun McDougle was one of the most impressive players at the camp.  A 2020 wide receiver with offers from Oklahoma and Alabama, McDougle took on the best DBs every single time, and usually won.  One of about 25 kids from Deerfield Beach, Florida, after reps a few UK freshmen from the area, Jamari Brown and Stanley Garner, were quick to offer advice.

The campers didn’t play at Kroger Field, but the stadium remained open so everyone could walk on the turf.


Five Things We Learned at Kentucky’s First Summer Camp of 2018

Five Things We Learned at Kentucky’s First Summer Camp of 2018

Summer football camp season opened today at Kroger Field.  Hundreds of campers worked with UK coaches inside the stadium and on the practice field throughout the day.  KSR was on the sideline to see who was the best of the best on day one.

1. Nik Scalzo, Big Visor Guy

I guess Matt Jones isn’t the only person who still wears visors.  Scalzo is bringing the visor back.  The Kentucky quarterback commit rocked one throughout the camp’s entirety.

Scalzo also spent plenty of time talking to Mark Stoops, Darin Hinshaw and Terry Wilson in-between reps. Normally the QB commits spend more time talking than working; not Scalzo.  He remained involved the entire time, showing off throws though the entire passing tree.  His prettiest pass might be the deep fade.  He puts a wonderful touch on the ball and never looks uncomfortable.  As you’ll see from his short routes, he gets the ball out of his hand quickly.

Scalzo wasn’t the only impressive quarterback at the camp.  Lexington Catholic’s Beau Allen, son of former UK quarterback Bill Allen, is a junior-to-be with a pretty spiral.  Allen’s best throws are deep outs, one of the most difficult passes to throw.  Throwing to unfamiliar wide receivers, he still hit them in stride out of the break.  Allen has a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

2. A Stand-Out South Florida Wide Receiver

During camps, there’s usually one or two wide receivers that do not look like the rest.  Today that wide receiver was Kingsley Grissett.  A 6’4″ 175-pounder 2019 prospect, usually size takes away from speed.  That’s not the case with Grissett.  In fact, his best asset is that he’s light on his feet.  Most would use the word “smooth” to describe his game, but “graceful” might be a better adjective.

From Pompano Beach, Florida, last year the three-star prospect played with UK freshman defensive back Jamari Brown at Blanche Ely High School.  Grissett’s offer sheet does not have any Power Five schools, but that will likely change after today’s camp.  Speaking of offers…

3. Offers Extended to In-State Prospects

The Big Dog put in a little extra work after camp.  Vince Marrow met with Tristan Cox, a 2021 athlete from Somerset, to extend him a scholarship offer.

Kentucky also offered a pair of rising juniors from Ballard.  Kentucky is cornerback Josh Minkins Jr.’s first scholarship offer.  Running back Markeice Warner earned his offer after reportedly running a 4.37 40-yard dash.

4. I Feel Bad for Offensive Linemen

I don’t understand how they’re supposed to put hands on pass-rushing defensive linemen when they aren’t wearing shoulder pads.  The slippery defensive linemen always have the advantage, but they don’t always win.

The most entertaining player at the camp was a large, blonde offensive tackle.  He might have been the biggest guy there, but he probably doesn’t have the height or length to play Division I football.  He does have the nastiness for it.  He mauled player after player and hit every opponent with a cock-strong punch.  At one point I thought they might have to break up a fight.  The best part?  Before he left the field, he removed his cleats, put on a pair of blue jeans over his shorts, then threw on a pair of square-toed cowboy boots.

Arguably the most-talented offensive lineman on campus did not participate in camp activities.  2020 LCA offensive  tackle Walker Parks took an unofficial visit just a few days after receiving a scholarship offer from Clemson.  The legacy recruit received plenty of attention from the Kentucky coaching staff.

5. Leaders Emerge

Kentucky football players weren’t required to be at today’s camp, but there were still a dozen or so in attendance.  Drake Jackson, Dom Williams, C.J. Conrad, Terry Wilson, Josh Paschal and Josh Allen were just a few that caught my eye.  Voluntarily attending a camp is a little thing, but it’s the little things that make a big difference when it matters most.

Big George and Josh Allen want a Few Football Updates

Sheesh! (via @UKFootball)

In their first week back on campus, the Kentucky football team has spent much of their time in the weight room.  After watching for only 35 seconds, I am exhausted.  I can’t imagine doing this for a couple hours four days a week.

If you’re still freaking out about Lynn Bowden’s Tweet, you’ll see him running in the video below. 

Wednesday is the team’s “off” day.  That’s a relative term.  Even though the team isn’t lifting and conditioning, they’re still together.  This weekend Freddie Maggard invited Jim Cavale to speak to the team about branding and how to best develop one using social media.  After the presentation, they enjoyed crawfish and a little wife ball.

There haven’t been too many other developments on the football field, but there is in the recruiting world.

Local Legacy Recruit Picks Up Big Offer

This week Walker Parks earned an impressive scholarship offer.  Following an outstanding performance at Clemson’s football camp, Dabo Swinney extended an offer to the 6’5″ 250-pound offensive tackle from Lexington Christian Academy.

A three-star recruit in the 2020 class, Parks has been recruited by John Schlarman for quite some time.  He received his offer from UK at this spring’s Junior Day.  A legacy recruit, his father David was an offensive lineman on the Kentucky team that went to the 1993 Peach Bowl.  Parks is a priority for the Cats, but keeping the college football powerhouses away will not be easy.

Cats Make Top 10 for Isaiah Gibson

Three-star defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson has narrowed his selection of suitors to Kentucky, Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Rutgers, Michigan State and Indiana.  Why is this a big deal?

Gibson is teammates with UK commit Moses Douglass.  It looked like the Cats were in the driver’s seat for the explosive interior defensive lineman, but Purdue and Wisconsin have become a problem.  Gibson is expected to officially visit Kentucky in two weeks, the perfect time to seal the deal.

Bud Dupree wants more Sack Lunches

Injuries have made Dupree’s career as a Pittsburgh Steeler inconsistent, however, he showed enough in 2017 to earn a fifth-year option on his rookie contract.  Still, Dupree told ESPN he’s not satisfied with last season’s performance.

“I just left double-digit sacks on the field,” said Dupree, a third-year pass-rusher who finished with a career-high six in 2017. “I still can get double-digit sacks even though I’m in coverage a lot. I just have to capitalize on my opportunities. I’ve just got to close the deal.”

If he can reach double-digits in the sack column, he’l be the first Steeler to do so since 2010.  It would happen at the perfect time, as Dupree enters free agency for the first time following the 2018 season.

Holy Highlight

This has nothing to do with Kentucky football and everything to do with awesomeness.

Previewing Kentucky Football’s Biggest Recruiting Weekend of the Summer

The summer football recruiting season is getting off to a hot start at the University of Kentucky.  This weekend hundreds will gather at Kroger Field to camp with the Cats and tour the Joe Craft Football Training Center.

Tracking every prospect is almost impossible, however, there are a few names that you should know.  Kentucky is hosting five official visitors, and a few could pull the trigger and commit before the weekend concludes.

Officials Visitors

Nikolas Ognenovic

A three-star tight end, Ognenovic (Og-nin-O-vich) catches passes from Nik Scalzo at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  A 6’6″ 240-pound prospect, Ognenovic is agile for his size.  He primarily lines up in the slot as a wide receiver, rather than in a three-point stance as a traditional tight end.

Ognenovic is familiar with Kentucky’s campus.  He attended a UK Junior Day and made the trip to the Cats’ spring game with Scalzo, who will accompany him this weekend too.  Kentucky will try to close the deal on a commitment.  If Kentucky plays their cards right, Ognenovic will roll the dice and cancel next week’s official visit to Pitt, UK’s toughest competition.

Jaden Davis

After losing a commitment from a four-star cornerback from South Florida, Kentucky is on the verge of landing another four-star cornerback from South Florida.

Considered the No. 208 prospect in America by the 247 Sports Composite, UK is going up against the big dogs for Jaden Davis — Miami, Florida, Penn State and Oklahoma.  Hailing from perennial powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, a commitment from Davis would not only make waves around the region, but within his team.  It might not happen this weekend, but the visit should get UK one step closer to landing the elite athlete.

Braylen Ingraham

Davis’ teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas, the defensive end is a four-star, Top 300 prospect.  Like Davis, his offer sheet is extensive.  Kentucky is fighting off Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Clemson and Alabama to land Ingraham.

Before he transferred to Thomas Aquinas for his final season, Ingraham played at Dillard High School, the home of Kentucky Wildcats Jordan Wright, Stanley Garner and Bryce Oliver.  Winning this recruiting battle will be no easy task, but Eddie Gran’s South Florida connections and Kentucky’s reputation with pass rushers could put the Cats over the top.

Ruke Orhorhoro

This pass-rusher is from the other end of the country.  Hailing from River Rouge, Michigan, Orhorhoro is down to four schools: Michigan, Clemson, Indiana and Kentucky.  The Cats get the chance to make the best first impression before the three-star defensive end visits Clemson and Indiana next week.  Michigan-native DeAndre Square could play a big part in his decision, which will happen in late June or early July.

Triston Miller

A 6’6″ 275-pound three-star offensive tackle, Miller is from an area you don’t see Kentucky recruit often: Charlotte, North Carolina.  A territory Dean Hood is familiar with, the Cats are competing with Arkansas, North Carolina, N.C. State and a slew of ACC schools for his service.

Unofficial Visitors

Nik Scalzo —  The UK commit will join his tight end, Ognenovic, as he takes an official visit.  Like most commits, Scalzo will probably not participate in camp drills.  Once players have made their pledge to UK, they use the camp weekends to build camaraderie with current players and recruit others to join the cause.

Jared Casey — Last week the newly-minted four-star linebacker from Louisville Ballard visited Kentucky’s campus for the first time.  Casey was convinced to return just seven days later to shadow a player during the Cats’ massive recruiting weekend.

Moses Douglass — The highest-ranked commit in Kentucky’s 2018 recruiting class, the four-star safety is the No. 259 player overall according to 247 Sports.  The son of former Wildcat and Chicago Bear, Maurice Douglass, Moses will be a frequent flyer to Lexington throughout the summer.

Josh DeBerry — UK was the three-star Michigan cornerback’s first scholarship offer.

Kaleb Boateng — The three-star Ft. Lauderdale offensive tackle has almost 40 scholarship offers.  A 6’4″ 300-pounder, Boateng will be one of many from Ft. Lauderdale High School camping at UK as his head coach leads a group on a tour of schools throughout the South.

There will be a ton of underclassmen on campus; here’s a small sample that shows kids are coming from Florida to Michigan to camp with the Cats.

Colby Dempsey — A rising junior cornerback, Dempsey hails from Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the same school where Eddie Gran found redshirt freshman cornerback Cedrick Dort.

Kyle Arnoldi — One of many from Michigan who will make the trip down I-75, Arnoldi is a 2020 offensive guard.

James Davis — The 5’11” junior wide receiver from South Florida already has a scholarship offer from Kentucky.

Today on KSR: The Beginning of a Big Recruiting Weekend

Summer is starting with a bang.  To celebrate the first weekend UK student-athletes are on campus, Mark Stoops and John Calipari are hosting quite a few talented recruits.

Stoops and Vince Marrow have a little more juggling to do.  Kroger Field will host hundreds for camps, beginning Saturday evening and running through the week.  Some of those campers could be future Wildcats.  Others, like quarterback commit Nik Scalzo, will be there for unofficial visits, but will not likely participate in football activities.  There will also be a handful of prospects receiving the red carpet treatment in the form of an official visit.

On the other side of campus at the Joe Craft Center, Calipari’s Cats will entertain a pair of prospects, Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen and Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr.  After touring campus and playing a few pick-up games, they could leave campus with scholarship offers.

It’s an exciting time in the recruiting world, and KSR will have everything you need to be prepared later this afternoon, as well as updates throughout the weekend.  Stay tuned.

Kentucky Track Dominates

Last night Kentucky’s Tim Duckworth became the first Kentucky Wildcat to ever win a National Title in the decathlon by posting the seventh-best score in NCAA history.  He’s just the second man to win gold in the indoor heptathlon and outdoor decathlon in the same year, joining two-time Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton.  Duckworth’s win proves he’s destined for stardom.

He wasn’t last night’s only National Champion.  Olivia Gruver went back-to-back, bringing home the gold medal in the pole vault for the second straight year after a 4.55m jump.

While Gruver and Duckworth won medals, Sydney McLaughlin was dusting her competition. In the 400m hurdle semifinal she looked like Secretariat in the Belmont.

It Really is the Caps Year

Forty-four years after Washington D.C. was awarded a hockey team, the Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup.  NHL’s lovable losers were trailing 3-2 entering the third period, but rallied with two goals to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights and clinch the cup in game five.

As Vegas tried to extend the series into overtime with less than a minute to go, the clock malfunctioned and chaos ensued.  Luckily, there was a stoppage in play that gave officials time to review the clock and fix the problem, narrowly avoiding disaster.

A New Aaron Torres Sports Podcast

Not long after Scottie Lewis dropped a quote bomb on Corey Evans, the Rivals recruiting analyst talked about it on The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast.  Subscribe to hear more about the Kentucky recruits at the U18 Team USA tryouts when the episode hits iTunes later today.

A Pardon for Ali?

President Donald Trump told the Associated Press he may pardon Muhammad Ali.  The Louisville boxing legend was convicted of draft evasion, a ruling the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in 1971.

Just Laugh

The KSR Golf Scramble

Today Kentucky Sports Radio will be LIVE from The U Club (that’s what the cool kids call The University Club) for the KSR Golf Scramble.  Will Drew’s team take another WD?  Stay tuned.


Vince Marrow’s Pitch to In-State Recruits

Marrow with Frankfort’s Wandale Robinson (@Robinson_era)

Kentucky’s football recruiting guru earned his stripes in the state of Ohio.  Now the Big Dog is setting up shop in the state of Kentucky.

The Commonwealth is not well-known for producing a ton of high-caliber recruits.  However, the 2019 recruiting class has plenty of prospects on Kentucky’s radar.  It’s Vince Marrow’s job to make sure many of them play college football in Lexington.

“It’s very important,” Marrow told KSTV’s Lyndsey Gough.  “This year there’s 10-15 guys that can actually play in the SEC.  You gotta keep them guys here, or at least get your share.”

After a few early misses, Kentucky is in the mix for quite a few talented prospects, most notably all-purpose back Wandale Robinson, defensive end J.J. Weaver and inside linebacker Jared Casey.  The message Marrow preaches is simple.

“My message and Coach Stoops’ message to these guys is that it ain’t just a four year decision.  It’s a forty year decision.  These people in the state of Kentucky will remember when you come here, even after (football).  I’ve seen that for myself.  I see basketball players who are here and they’re doing very well.  I will commend the way the university treats these kids but also the community.  The message from us is: ‘You’re going to graduate.  You may go on to play pro ball.  You may go do some things, but when your career is done, Kentucky takes care of its own.'”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  The “4 for 40” message Marrow uses has been Freddie Maggard’s calling card since he joined the program in April as UK’s Director of Player Development.  Marrow said he used something similar for years, but Freddie brought clarity and steadfast conviction to the motto.

“It’s been a real blessing to have Freddie,” Marrow said.  “His heart really bleeds for the University of Kentucky and this state.  The local kids see it.  We’ve had a lot of big-time recruits the last few weeks on campus and he’s really knocked it out the box.  It ain’t a sales pitch.  He really believes it.  I think it’s going to be a great addition for us.  That was a great hire by Coach Stoops.”

Nicholasville offensive lineman Eli Cox is the Cats’ only 2019 commitment from the state of Kentucky.  If Marrow continues preaching this message around the Commonwealth, that will quickly change.

See the rest of Marrow’s 15-minutes interview with KSTV here.

UK Football is Successfully Recruiting the Most-Talented Schools in America

As the Kentucky football team expands its recruiting boundaries, it’s important to note the Cats aren’t just going to new areas; they’re recruiting at the most talent-rich schools in America.

Mark Stoops’ first act as Kentucky’s head coach was to recruit the state of Ohio.  With Stoops and Vince Marrow’s connections to a ton of schools — including their alma mater, Cardinal Mooney — it quickly paid dividends.

Two years ago, they upped the ante by heavily investing in Florida.  Eddie Gran brought expertise from South Florida, while his running mate, Darin Hinshaw, took over the panhandle.  In their first two full recruiting classes, Gran and Hinshaw have signed 17 players from the Sunshine State.

Recruiting Florida and Ohio makes sense.  They are two of the most talented high school football states in America.  Two years ago Stoops’ staff made another, more unorthodox change.  Stoops has sent coaches to the most talented high schools in two new areas, the “DMV” (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) and Michigan.

A state that has not produced a Kentucky Wildcat in decades, the highest-ranked player in the 2018 recruiting class is from Michigan, nose guard Marquan McCall.  The other signee Steve Clinkscale brought from Michigan is outside linebacker DeAndre Square.  Square attended Cass Tech, one of the Top 20 Power Five talent producers in America.

When Vince Marrow went to the DMV, he went to Maryland’s most-talented school, Our Lady of Good Counsel.  There Marrow successfully signed offensive tackle Naasir Watkins and future superstar defensive end Josh Paschal.  According to research by the College Football Data Lab (@redmondlonghorn), Good Counsel has produced the fifth-most Power Five college football players since 2004.

A look at Kentucky signees that have come from the most talented high school football institutions in America, based off players that signed with Power Five schools:

Kentucky Players from Top High School Football Programs
Player (Recruiting Class) School Region Rank (National)
Austin MacGinnis (13) Prattville, Al. 3
Marcus McWilson (13) Cardinal Mooney, Oh. 13
Jaleel Hytchye (13) LaSalle, Oh. 15
Dorian Baker (14) Cleveland Heights, Oh. 26
Dorian Hendrix (14) Wayne, Oh. 25
Jared Tucker (14) Stephenson, Ga. 2 (8)
Mikel Horton (14) Lakota West, Oh. 19
Kobie Walker (14) Good Counsel, Md. N/A (5)
George Asafo-Adjei (15) Lakota West, Oh. 19
Kei Beckham (15) Trotwood-Madison, Oh. 8
Jordan Jones (15) Cardinal Mooney, Oh. 13
Sihiem King (15) Colquitt County, Ga. 24
Kayaune Ross (16) Lakota West, Oh. 19
Tobias Gilliam (16) Wayne, Oh. 25
Gunnar Hoak (16) Dublin Coffman, Oh. 23
Roland Walder (16) Trotwood-Madison, Oh. 8
Jaylin Bannerman (16) Pickerinton Central, Oh. 20
Lynn Bowden (17) Warren G. Harding, Oh. 24
Naasir Watkins (17) Good Counsel, Md. N/A (5)
Josh Paschal (17) Good Counsel, Md. N/A (5)
Sebastian Dolcine (17) Miramar, Fl. 17
Chris Whittaker (17) Chaminade-Madonna, Fl. 19
Josh Ali (17) Chaminade-Madonna, Fl. 19
Jordan Wright (17) Dillard, Fl. 22
Jamari Brown (18) Blanche Ely, Fl. 24
Davoan Hawkins (18) Chaminade-Madonna, Fl. 19
Marvin Alexander (18) Chaminade-Madonna, Fl. 19
Akeem Hayes (18) Chaminade-Madonna, Fl. 19
Nick Lewis (18) The Bolles School, Fl. 18
Stanley Garner (18) Dillard, Fl. 22
Bryce Oliver (18) Dillard, Fl. 22
DeAndre Square (18) Cass Tech, Mi. 2 (17)
Brenden Bates (18) Moeller, Oh. 6
Darrian Kinnard (18) St. Ignatius, Oh. 5

What Does This Mean?

There’s no denying Kentucky has stepped up its recruiting game under Mark Stoops.  Kentucky used to beat out MAC schools for recruits; now they’re beating out the big dogs.  That’s an obvious metric of improvement.

This analysis proves Kentucky football recruiting took the next step in the 2017 recruiting season, the first class after Kentucky played in the TaxSlayer Bowl.  Of the 34 players signed from the nation’s top schools, half have come in the previous two recruiting classes.  Not only are the Cats recruiting the best players against the best colleges, they’ve established a brand that is recognizable at the nation’s top high schools.

Kentucky might not always be able to land the best player from the best school (a la Josh Paschal), but if the Cats can get the second or third-best player from that school, it’s still a significant battle won in the recruiting war.

The UK Football Team Returns to Work

The UK Football Team Returns to Work

UKFootball | IG

The Kentucky football team is back in the lab.

Yesterday the Cats welcomed a few fresh faces to campus.  Running back Kavosiey Smoke and offensive lineman Quintin Wilson were all smiles as they entered the dorms for the first time.

Not long after the new guys moved in, it was time to hit the gym.  This morning the team hit the weight room and performed plyometrics on the hill behind the practice field.

While the Cats put in work on the field and in the weight room, there’s plenty of Kentucky football happenings outside of the training facility.

Tim Couch is on the CFB Hall of Fame Ballot — The former Kentucky quarterback is up for the Hall of Fame for the second consecutive year.  The ballot was sent to current Hall of Famers and more than 12,000 members of the National Football Foundation.  Once the votes are tabulated, a selection committee makes a final decision that will be announced January 7, 2019.

It’s not a matter of ‘if’ Couch will make the cut; it’s a matter of ‘when.’  Hopefully they make it happen this year.

A Couple of Recruiting Misses — Last week I mentioned two four-star players that appeared to be Kentucky leans.  By the end of the week, they committed elsewhere.  Cincinnati offensive lineman Zach Carpenter committed to Michigan and Michigan safety Marvin Grant committed to Purdue.  You can’t blame a kid for going to Michigan, but it does sting to lose another recruit to Jeff Brohm.

This Guy is Officially Visiting UK this Weekend — Michigan pass-rusher Ruke Orhorhoro certainly looks the part.


Jared Casey will Return to UK for Second Unofficial Visit in Two Weeks


Jared Casey liked Kentucky so much, he’s going back for more next weekend.

The rising four-star inside linebacker from Louisville Ballard talked to KSR about Friday’s unofficial visit, his first trip to Lexington, and revealed that he will return to shadow a current player during next weekend’s showcase camp.  With dozens of elite players taking official and unofficial visits, next weekend is setting up to be UK’s biggest recruiting weekend of the summer.

During Friday’s tour of the football facilities, Casey got the opportunity to meet Mark Stoops.  Casey had nice things to say about UK’s head coach, but even better things to say about the Big Dog, Vince Marrow.

“He’s an O.G. and tells you things straight up,” Casey told KSR.   “We talked forever when he first came up (to Louisville).  He’s the main reason I want to come to Kentucky.”

During one of their conversations, Marrow sold Casey on playing in the SEC and Kentucky’s history of producing NFL-caliber linebackers.

“The SEC, that’s grown man ball,” Casey said.  “Coach Marrow was telling me how many players in the draft came out of the SEC.  He also showed me all of the linebackers in the league from Kentucky.  Kentucky’s always had good linebackers.”

There were a few eye-opening moments during Casey’s tour of UK’s new football facility.  What stood out the most will surprise you — the hill.  Kentucky built a hill at the back of the practice field, designed for plyometric training (a.k.a. ass-kicking) on the steps of the manmade slope.  “I’ve never seen anything like that before,” he said.

Kentucky is not the only school recruiting Casey.  He’s picked up a handful of offers since he burst onto the recruiting scene at the Rivals Three-Stripe Camp in Nashville.  He could recall a few schools — Purdue, Oregon, Syracuse, Minnesota, Indiana, Notre Dame — but his list of potential suitors is currently too long to recall.

Casey did admit that he grew up cheering for UofL, but that isn’t knocking Kentucky out of contention.  Right now the Cats are in a great spot.  “I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite, but they’ll be on my short-list.”


Four-Star In-State Linebacker Visits Kentucky


Yesterday Kentucky hosted one of the region’s rising stars.  Louisville Ballard four-star linebacker Jared Casey took his first unofficial visit to UK.

“Really enjoyed my time at Kentucky.” – @Jared_casey01

Casey received a scholarship offer from Vince Marrow on May 21.  The inside linebacker blew up on the recruiting scene after he earned the linebacker MVP honors at the Rivals Three Stripe Camp in Nashville.  His performance earned him offers from UK, UofL, Syracuse and Oregon, and an invitation to the Rivals Five-Star Challenge at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Casey, a transfer from Trinity, missed his junior season with a shoulder injury.  In one spring he’s shown that he can be an elite linebacker at the next level.

Shawnkel Knight-Goff De-Commits from Kentucky


Less than two weeks after committing to Kentucky, Shawnkel Knight-Goff is reopening his recruitment.  The defensive end/outside linebacker from Louisville Doss said on Twitter that he wants to take more time before making a final decision.

I would like to gracefully thank University Of Kentucky for their efforts in recruiting me ??. University of Kentucky is a great school. I feel as if my commitment was rushed and not fully thought through and I want to make the best decision for my future. Therefore, I plan to research my decision a little further. I’m going to open my recruiting process back up as I continue my search for the college that is best fit for my career & most importantly, my education. Again, thank you Kentucky for your interest.

The move by the three-star pass-rusher does not come as a surprise.  His initial commitment was odd; he told Justin Rowland he committed to UK, but did not announce it publicly until much later.  Shortly after he made his decision, there were rumblings that it would not stick.

Knight-Goff is no longer committed, but Kentucky will still recruit the two-sport star from Louisville.  By the sounds of his announcement, Knight-Goff will listen to every word Vince Marrow and the Kentucky coaches have to say until he makes a final decision.

Five Things You Missed from UK Football Recruiting During Memorial Day Weekend

The last weekend of May serves as the unofficial start of the summer.  While many of you were enjoying barbecues or a little time on the lake, the Kentucky football coaching staff logged a few hours recruiting.  Here are a few developments from the frontline:

1. UK Makes Cut for Elite Defensive Ends

Top 300 defensive end Michael Fletcher has set a decision date.  On June 29 he will choose between Alabama, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Michigan and Kentucky.  The 6’5″ 240-pound four-star athlete will officially visit UK on June 15, two weeks before he makes a final decision.  It could be just in time for the Cats to gain momentum with the Flint, Michigan native.

Another highly-touted Michigan pass rusher, Ruke Orhorhoro, announced a top four today: Clemson, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.  Orhorhoro will officially visit Kentucky on June 8, the opening weekend of camps at Kroger Field that will serve as the Cats’ first big recruiting weekend of the summer.

2. DeAndre Square Recruiting Michigan Kids

Kentucky outside linebacker DeAndre Square is the first player from Michigan to enroll at UK in years.  He’ll be joined by Marquan McCall when freshmen report to camp this weekend.  In the meantime, Square is doing what he can to make sure more from Michigan make the trip down I-75.

Friday night, he posted pictures with a few of the best from The Great Lakes State.  Square posed alongside offensive guard Justin Rogers and safety Marvin Grant.

Rogers (left) is really, really, really good.  He’ll just be a junior this fall, but the Oak Park native has already picked up 35 scholarship offers and is considered the No. 13 player in the 2020 class by 247 Sports.  Rogers is a long way from making a decision, but the Cats were one of the first to offer and he’s made the trip to Lexington a handful of times.

Kentucky is considered the favorite for Grant, a four-star 2019 prospect that is eighth-ranked safety and No. 126 player overall according to Rivals.  It looked like he was going to commit to UK earlier this spring, until he pushed back his initial decision date.  Grant is one player you definitely need to keep an eye on.

3. UK Offers Enormous Tennessee Commit

If you follow UK football recruiting, you’ll see new offers extended almost daily.  Not all are noteworthy, but the latest offer to Darel Middleton is.

A 6’7″ 290-pound defensive tackle, Middleton is an absolute monster.  Hailing from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, he originally committed to Tennessee in 2013.  Middleton never made it to Knoxville and spent the last season playing for East Mississippi C.C.  He recommitted to the Vols in April.  Middleton has one more season in Scooba, enough time for UK to make a move.

4. Bad News/Good News at Offensive Guard

First, the bad news.  Jamari Williams, a three-star offensive guard for Nik Scalzo’s Cardinal Gibbons, committed to UofL Friday night.  An expected move, Kentucky was one step ahead.  The weekend prior UK hosted Zach Carpenter, the nation’s No. 20 offensive guard who plays for Cincinnati Moeller, the same school as future Kentucky tight end Brenden Bates.  Carpenter gave UK an exceptional review in a conversation with 247’s Steve Wiltfong.

“The visit to Kentucky was good,” Carpenter started in. “I got the chance to meet the coaches and Coach (John) Schlarman went over formations and blocking schemes, but I enjoyed being quizzed by what calls to make based on defensive formations and alignment they gave me.

“I enjoyed talking to Coach (Eddie) Gran because we talked about the importance of faith which plays an important role in my decision. Then I talked to Coach (Mark) Stoops and he told us how they are turning things around with the program. He also talked about where he saw me in the program and we were able to see facilities and toured campus.”

To get Carpenter to Kentucky, UK will have to beat out Clemson, no small task for Vince Marrow.

5. Terry Wilson Worked Out in Arizona

It’s not technically recruiting-related, but it was kind of cool to see Terry “Touchdown” Wilson workout with kids at this weekend’s quarterback academy in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Thank you @TerryTouchdown3 for for taking time out of your holiday weekend to help me get better!!!” – @AliamAppler