Saturday’s Kentucky-Virginia Tech game in Rupp Arena lived up to the billing as the two →
Mark Stoops laid the foundation for his Kentucky program by building a pipeline into the state of Ohio. The addition of Eddie Gran has opened new doors into the state of Florida. This year has been Gran’s most successful year, starting at Chaminade-Madonna High School in Hollywood, Florida.
Kentucky’s first two commitments in the 2018 class came from the perennial powerhouse, Davoan Hawkins and Marvin Alexander. Not long after they were joined by Akeem Hayes.
This weekend Chaminade-Madonna avenged a state runner-up 2016 finish to win their first state title since 2005. Hayes scored a 44-yard touchdown to help build a two-touchdown lead, a lead they would lose in the fourth quarter. With only minutes remaining, Hayes converted on a crucial third down to set up a game-winning field goal that went through the uprights with just four seconds remaining for a 31-28 victory.
Hawkins could not contain his emotions following the win.
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) December 9, 2017
Hawkins, a 6’4″ 270 pound three-star defensive end, is explosive with his hand in the dirt. A guy who makes most of his plays in the backfield, in his final high school season he had 50 tackles, 22 for loss and 7 sacks. Miami tried to pull him away from UK, but he remained firmly committed to the Cats.
Hawkins and Marvin Alexander committed to Kentucky on the same day, just a few weeks after 2016’s NSD on February 21. Alexander, a three-star receiver who also had offers from Wisconsin, UCF, ECU and Syracuse, caught 37 passes for 585 yards and 8 touchdowns this year.
The third Chaminade-Madonna player to commit Kentucky, Akeem Hayes initially committed to Louisville back in April. Over the summer he spent one weekend camping at UofL and Kentucky. The trip to Lexington must have been much better, because shortly after he flipped his commitment to the Cats. This year he averaged 11 yards per carry, 16 yards per catch and had 5 total touchdowns out of the slot.
Hayes, Hawkins and Alexander aren’t the first from Chaminade-Madonna to play at Kentucky. A pair of UK freshmen, defensive end Christopher Whittaker and wide receiver Joshua Ali started the movement last year.
If all goes well, those five will not be the last to make the move from Chaminade-Madonna to Lexington. Keontra Smith committed to Kentucky in June and is considered the No. 11 safety in the 2019 class and a Top 150 player overall. The elite defensive back had 108 tackles, 37 for loss and 2 interceptions. After watching Smith’s highlights, you’ll understand how difficult it will be to fight off Miami, Oregon, Nebraska and Oklahoma for his services.
Mark Stoops has created success by getting some of the best from Ohio. Now he’s turned to the Sunshine State, arguably the most talented state for prep football in America. For the first time in his tenure, the recruiting class will not primarily come from Ohio. The 2018 class has six commitments from Ohio and seven from Florida.
Stoops would not be able to expand his recruiting canvass this extensively into Florida without Eddie Gran and the elite talent from Chaminade-Madonna High School.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 13th, 2017 @ 1:00pm
If you stop by The Good Batch bakery in Brooklyn, you’re likely to see a man with a very unique tattoo. It’s a Tim Couch tattoo — a brown couch and the number 2 — and Kyle Hart, an employee at The Good Batch, got it on his arm because he is a huge fan of the Cleveland Browns and the franchise’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 1999.
According to SB Nation, which has an entire story on the tattoo, Hart isn’t from Ohio or Kentucky, and he once played in a band he named “Couch”:
Hart isn’t from Cleveland, and he isn’t even from Ohio. He’s also not from Kentucky, where Tim Couch was a Heisman finalist in the late ’90s. Hart actually grew up a Niners fan in the Bay Area, but his family was big into college football, and he loved watching Couch play. He was so into this guy that he named his old band Couch (they played music that was “very derivative” of Weezer).
After college, Couch (Tim, not Hart’s band) went on to become one of many somewhat-consistent quarterbacks the Browns have been lucky enough to have on their roster. Johnny Manziel, the promising Cleveland quarterback who flamed out a few years ago, also wore No. 2. The couch was necessary in the tattoo to make it clear which quarterback Hart was honoring.
“There was just something about [Couch],” Hart said. “He always seemed like a good person. He was just a great player, he was exciting to watch. When he got drafted by the Browns, your heart goes out — I just wanted him to succeed so much.”
Read the entire story here, which includes a response from Tim Couch himself.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 13th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
After accidentally breaking his son Konner’s new UK Christmas ornament, David Howard thought it would be funny to buy a U of L Christmas ornament as a replacement.
Konner was not amused by the trick.
See his reaction in this clip:
This is so cruel.
Four-star Florida cornerback Stanley Garner was selected to play in the Miami Dolphins’ Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game, but the Fort Lauderdale native declined the invite due to a scheduling conflict.
The Dade-Broward game, which is a very big deal in the area, is scheduled for January 12, and Garner will already be at Kentucky, he says.
He announced the news of his early enrollment on Twitter this morning:
Blessed to be selected to play in the Broward vs Dade Game 🙏🏾‼️ but due to my early enrollment I won’t be playing , Kentucky Im OMW #BBN🔵⚪️
— Stanley Garner lll (@StanleyG_9) December 13, 2017
College football’s early signing period begins a week from today and it looks like Garner will be among those enrolling early in Lexington.
Late last night Kentucky picked up their first defensive tackle commitment in the 2018 recruiting class. Now the Cats have their eyes on another interior defensive lineman who will officially visit Lexington this weekend.
After hosting defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc, Amauchechukwu “Mooch” Nnaji-Collins scheduled an official visit to UK on the finally recruiting weekend prior to signing day. LeBlanc found the nose guard in Destrehen, Louisiana, a suburb about ten miles west of New Orleans where LeBlanc has deep recruiting ties after stints at LSU and Southern Miss.
Nnaji-Collins does not look like the nose guards you’re used to seeing. Unlike the goliath Matt Elam, Mooch is just 6’1″ 220 pounds. He makes up for his lack of size with exceptional explosiveness. Quinton Bohanna earned the starting nose spot for being what the coaches referred to as “quick twitch guy.” Nnaji-Collins perfectly fits that profile.
Obviously, to play nose in the SEC he would have to add weight to his 220-pound frame, but my goodness it’s fun to watch him fire off the line in the middle of the trenches.
Entering the penultimate week of the early recruiting period, it was disheartening to hear little to no buzz about interior defensive linemen, the Cats’ greatest position of need. There was reason to worry, but the moves over the last two days have been reassuring.
By Bryan the Intern on ©December 13th, 2017 @ 10:00am
I think one of the more surprising trends experienced through 9 games this season has been the big-time scoring efforts from some unexpected places. Already, 5 different UK players have scored more than 20 points in a game this season, for a total of 8 times. Kevin Knox and Nick Richards have done it multiple times. And that also considers Jared Vanderbilt hasn’t played yet.
So how has that compared to trends in big time scoring with other Cal teams? You find some really interesting numbers:
2017-18: 5 players, 8 times
Knox (3), Richards (2), Diallo (1), Washington (1), Green (1)
2016-17: 5 players, 39 times
Monk (19), Fox (10), Briscoe (6), Adebayo (3), Gabriel (1)
2015-16: 6 players, 39 times
Murray (18), Ulis (15), Poythress (3), Willis (1), Briscoe (1), Labissiere (1)
2014-15: 4 players, 8 times
Towns (2), Aa. Harrison (2), An. Harrison (1), Cauley-Stein (1)
2013-14: 4 players, 27 times
Young (9), Aa. Harrison (8), Randle (7), An. Harrison (3)
2012-13: 6 players, 17 times
Poythress (6), Goodwin (5), Wiltjer (3), Mays (1), Cauley-Stein (1), Harrow (1)
2011-12: 6 players, 19 times
Davis (6), Lamb (5), Jones (4), Gilchrist (2), Teague (1), Wiltjer (1)
2010-11: 5 players, 30 times
Knight (14), Jones (8), Lamb (5), Miller (2), Harrellson (1)
2009-10: 5 players, 23 times
Wall (8), Patterson (6), Bledsoe (4), Cousins (4), Miller (1)
What is interesting is you could argue that Cal’s 3 best teams (2010, 2012, and 2015) had 3 of the 4 LOWEST total of 20+ point games. So while I think it should be an advantage that UK has so many guys that could go off in a game, it also hasn’t shown to be an important factor in success. We will see how this develops over the rest of the season, especially with the competition ramping up in the upcoming weeks.
By Drew Franklin on ©December 13th, 2017 @ 9:55am
KSR returns Wednesday morning with talk of Kentucky’s new football commits, the upcoming slate of basketball games, and a brief appearance on the Howard Stern Show.
Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080 or send a text to the KSR Texting Machine at (859) 300-3264.
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By Drew Franklin on ©December 13th, 2017 @ 9:00am
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Kentucky added two new football commits yesterday.
Welcome aboard Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone, who picked the Wildcats over Tennessee, Tuesday evening. Mahone plays the much-needed position of defensive tackle, and is the only interior D-lineman in UK’s current 2018 class.
Mahone’s commitment came hours after Kentucky received a commitment from Kenneth Horsey, a three-star offensive lineman out of Florida. Horsey chose the Cats over offers from UCF, USF, Mississippi State and Missouri.
Here’s how the class looks as of this moment:
Kentucky Football 2018 Recruiting Class
|Marquan McCall||OG||Oak Park, Mi.||6-4||320||4-star|
|Darian Kinnard||OT||Cleveland, Oh.||6-7||336||4-star|
|Xavier Peters||OLB||West Chester, Oh.||6-4||225||4-star|
|Terry Wilson||QB||Omaha, Ne.||6-2||180||3-star|
|DeAndre Square||S/OLB||Detroit, Mi.||6-1||200||3-star|
|Brenden Bates||TE||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-5||230||3-star|
|Stanley Garner||CB||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.||6-3||180||3-star|
|Meechi Harris||WR||Xenia, Oh.||6-2||188||3-star|
|Quintin Wilson||C||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-3||290||3-star|
|Marvin Alexander||WR||Hollywood, Fl.||6-3||175||3-star|
|Jamari Brown||CB||Pompano Beach, Fl.||6-3||180||3-star|
|Davoan Hawkins||DE||Hollywood, Fl.||6-4||270||3-star|
|Akeem Hayes||ATH/WR||Hollywood, Fl.||5-10||175||3-star|
|Keaton Upshaw||TE||Lima, Oh.||6-7||225||3-star|
|Christopher Rodriguez||RB||McDonough, Ga.||5-11||200||3-star|
|Ashton Pierre||ATH||Deerfield Beach, Fl.||6-2||191||3-star|
|Domonique Williams||JUCO CB||Knoxville, Tn.||5-10||190||3-star|
|Chance Poore||K||Anderson, Sc.||6-3||200||3-star|
|Max Duffy||P||Western Australia||6-1||176||3-star|
|Kenneth Horsey||OT||Seminole, Fl.||6-4||325||3-star|
|Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone||DT||Manchester, Ga.||6-4||195||N/A|
It’s Terry Touchdown. End of discussion.
Despite a strong push from the other side of the Terry aisle, Terry Wilson’s nickname is set and it is Terry Touchdown. Kentucky’s new QB confirmed the nickname on Tuesday’s KSR, telling the show he prefers Terry Touchdown over Touchdown Terry, and the decision is only his to make. We hope you respect and honor that decision moving forward by only referring to him as Terry Touchdown.
We’re recording a new Free Money Podcast today.
After weeks of silence from the Free Money team, we will be back in the lab later this afternoon to record the Free Money Bowl Extravaganza episode of the show. It will likely be the last installment of the 2017 Free Money Podcast season.
For fans of the KSR Football Podcast, a new episode of it will hit the internet tomorrow afternoon.
Syndney McLaughlin named National Athlete of the Week.
In case you missed it: UK’s Sydney McLaughlin made her highly-anticipated collegiate debut for UK Track & Field over the weekend as she won the Hoosier Open 300 meters in 36.12 seconds. McLaughlin’s debut run was the second fastest time in American history, second fastest in collegiate indoor history, and seventh fastest in world history. On Tuesday, she was named National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. She good, folks.
By Nick Roush on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 10:45pm
For the second time today, Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football coaches are rolling the dice. This time, UK has received a commitment from a defensive tackle, the first in the 2018 class.
Only hours after receiving an official scholarship offer from the Cats, Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone committed to play for Kentucky over Tennessee.
A late-rising recruit from the smallest division of football in the state of Georgia, Mahone took an official visit to Lexington this weekend shortly after receiving a scholarship offer from the Vols. The 6’4″ 295-pound all-state interior defensive lineman was discovered by Matt House. Mahone fills UK’s greatest position of need and may eventually become one of the great late recruiting steals.
Watch the best from Kentucky’s 22nd member of the 2018 recruiting class.
By Nick Roush on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 10:35pm
Kentucky’s 2018 class just got a little larger. Three-star offensive tackle Kenneth Horsey announced on Twitter that he has committed to the University of Kentucky.
Hailing from Seminole, Florida, Horsey’s announcement follows an official visit to Kentucky. The Cats quickly emerged as his leaders after the experience in Lexington. Horsey was also being recruited by UCF, USF, Mississippi State and Missouri.
The addition of Horsey moves Kentucky’s 2018 class up to No. 23 nationally in the 247 Composite rankings. Horsey brings to the Bluegrass a big 6’4″ 325-pound game and a name that’s a perfect fit for horse country.
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You can be a part of McDowell’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day.
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#10 Julia Ritchie
— Julia Ritchie (@juliamarie82) December 12, 2017
The BBN loves Terry Touchdown already.
#9 Roy Combs
— Roy Combs (@broncofan4life) December 12, 2017
Yeah, that sounds about right.
#8 Curadhan Powell
Ready for the implosion. pic.twitter.com/TwsijBdHMo
— Curadhan Powell (@TheCuradhan) December 12, 2017
We’ll do our best to make sure a bus doesn’t park right in front of our camera beforehand.
#7 Wes Ledford
— Wes Ledford (@wesledford) December 12, 2017
ESPN’s faces right now… probably.
#6 Matt Durst
— Matt Durst (@MattDurst) December 12, 2017
#5 Joy Raley
— Joy Raley (@KYJDjunkie) December 12, 2017
Welcome to the BBN.
#4 Brandon Fryman
— Brandon Fryman (@BrandonFryman10) December 12, 2017
Pour one out for the Kiran Blanding Towers.
#3 Dekoda Clark
— Dekoda Clark (@ClarkDekoda) December 12, 2017
Well this is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
#2 Julia Ritchie
— Julia Ritchie (@juliamarie82) December 13, 2017
That’s the… worst?
— JustinPowell1 (@Justinpowell1) December 12, 2017
The world is so small.
The Packers squeaked by the Browns with a 27-21 victory in overtime, keeping their playoff hopes alive as Aaron Rodgers is expected to return from injury this week. Randall Cobb bounced back from last week’s poor performance by catching 8 passes for 39 yards.
Avery Williamson finished Sunday’s game with two tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. The Titans had one of their worst performance’s of the season losing to the Cardinals (6-7) by a score of 12-7.
Wesley Woodyard had another good week with 7 tackles, a sack, and 3 tackles for a loss in the Titans 12-7 loss.
Behind huge performances from Big Ben and Antonio Brown the Steelers scored 19 points in the 4th quarter to comeback and beat the Baltimore Ravens in a game that had major implications for playoff seeding. Bud Dupree finished the game with just one tackle but he consistently put pressure on the quarterback.
Za’Darius Smith sat out the Ravens big divisional match-up with an injured shoulder, the 3rd year pro did not practice throughout the week.
The Bears defense plays much better with Danny Trevathan on the field, Chicago held the Bengals to just 234 total yards of offense in the 33-7 win. Trevathan led the way with 10 tackles.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 9:30pm
How about a feel-good story for the holiday season? Today, Anthony Davis surprised a family in New Orleans with some toys and — allow me to cue up my best “Price is Right” voice — a NEW CAR! Watch below as the mom absolutely loses it when she realizes Anthony Davis just handed her keys to a new SUV:
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 12, 2017
Clearly, that little boy is not happy with his mother’s outburst.
Last week in New Orleans, fellow “Pelicat” DeMarcus Cousins took some lucky children on his annual “Santa Cuz” shopping spree:
Here comes Santa Cuz, Here comes Santa Cuz 🎅
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 8, 2017
Boogie will do the same thing in Mobile, Alabama tonight.
It’s no coincidence that Cousins and Davis are spending their holiday season giving back; both have won the NBA Cares Community Assist monthly award several times. Cousins won the offseason version of the award a few months ago, and in 2016, Davis was up for the season-long award, but came in second to…John Wall.
John Calipari’s not joking when he says servant leadership is a cornerstone of his program; it’s nice to see his biggest stars continuing to make it a priority once they have the means to really make a difference.
By Aaron Torres on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
Right now, it isn’t a stretch to say that Trae Young is the most talked about player in college basketball – and at this particular moment, there’s nobody even close. The 6’3 guard who plays at Oklahoma has lit the sport on fire, averaging a Division I best 28.8 points per game, and is also third in assists at 8.8 a contest as well. And he’s doing it for a non-traditional power, with no one close to his talent level on the roster. While it’s arguable if Young is the “best” player in college basketball, there’s no one – not Marvin Bagley, Kevin Knox or Devonte Graham – who is anywhere near as valuable as Young is to his team.
Young is also a player who has been on the minds of Kentucky fans for a few weeks now, for a few different reasons. The first is because Young was once considered to be leaning towards attending Kentucky during the recruiting process, meaning that many UK fans couldn’t help but think “what if” after Young’s hot start. What if Young had enrolled at Kentucky, and played alongside Knox, Hamidou Diallo and Nick Richards? How much better could this team be?
More recently however, Young has been on the mind of Kentucky fans after John Calipari actually talked about him during an interview on Jim Harbaugh’s podcast.
While Calipari didn’t name Young by name, it was clear he was talking about him when he said:
“Tell me what kind of program you want to be in,” Cal said of how he talks to families on in-home visits. “Tell me how you want to play or be coached. And through the questioning, sometimes I look and say, this is not going to work. Now, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong in not coming to Kentucky. There’s a kid that’s father wanted him to shoot every ball and I said, we just don’t do that here. Well, he’s gone to a school and he had 40 last night as a freshman. The most in 20 years. Well, that may have been right for their son.”
Now of course when Calipari’s comments dropped, it caused a little bit of an uproar in the college basketball world, because well, any time Calipari says something interesting it causes an uproar. At the same time, after seeing Young play in person last Friday night when Oklahoma faced off with USC at Staples Center, I feel pretty safe saying that Calipari is exactly right. That’s not a knock on Young and certainly not on the Kentucky program, but instead reality. Young’s commitment is one of the rare ones where a big-time recruit turned down a big-time tradition rich program, and it worked out for both sides.
By Hey Kentucky! on ©December 12th, 2017 @ 8:30pm
Sunday morning Dr. Ricky Jones grabbed the nation’s attention on E:60 by describing “the pimp game” that happened between Adidas, Tom Jurich and the University of Louisville. Tonight he joined Matt Jones to talk about it on Hey Kentucky!
See the entire episode after the jump.