It’s hard to believe but on Monday, it marked 11 years since I began writing on KSR. Very few of you were actually reading the website at that time and on December 3rd, 2007, I actually was an intern for Matt’s radio show in Louisville called The Sports Mob with Matt and Rob. Nonetheless, if you read my daily post at 11am it was called “Bryan the Intern’s Picks to Click”. You can read my first post here. I did that daily link dumb until March 5th, 2010, when for some unknown reason Matt decided that my OPINION was worth putting on this site, and the Rants and Ramblings were born. My first Rants and Ramblings here.
And now, for the past 8 1/2 years, the management at KSR has allowed me to put nonsensical, often times misspelled, ramblings on this site every weekday at 10am. I have had some posts that I stand by to this day and some that were quite foolish, but one thing you can guarantee is I believed every one of them with a passion at the time I wrote them. The post that got the most comments? Simply a post asking who you favorite UK players of all-time was (408 comments)? And in that same time, I had put 73 posts up on this site that didn’t garner a single comment.
But throughout all of this, I can honestly say it has been the coolest thing to be a very small part of for the past 11 years. I have gotten to see the rise of KSR from a ringside seat and never once in my run at KSR have I been asked by Matt, Drew, or Tyler to change the way I do things, pull back on any opinion, or bus tables at the restaraunt. One time Tomlin did threaten to stab me if I used bold text too much, but that was a long time ago and it’s water under the bridge now.
Nonetheless, I just wanted to say thank you to the management of KSR for all their support over the years and most of all, to the readers of KSR. The entire “BTI Sucks” movement has been a lot of fun to be a part of, believe it or not, but I can not tell you how many nice emails, tweets, and messages I have received about my posts and KSR in general. When I have had the opportunity to go to KSR events, like the bar opening a few months ago, I was blown away at the people who told me they enjoyed the Rants and Ramblings.
So I am very excited to see where KSR continues to grow in the future and I fully plan to remain on the fringes, ranting all the way. Thanks to all of you!
From the White House to Beale Street and beyond, Kentucky Sports Radio has done live radio from a wide variety of locations. Today we can cross “foreign embassy” off the KSR to-do list. Matt, Ryan, Shannon and Drew will talk about everything happening across the Big Blue Nation from the United States Embassy to Canada.
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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One four-star recruit is gone, but there’s another on the horizon. This evening at 5:00 pm Jared Casey will announce his college commitment on Twitter.
Casey took an unconventional journey to Division-I football. The explosive linebacker started his high school career at Trinity. After two years he transferred to Ballard, but was stuck on the sideline with a shoulder injury throughout his entire junior year. Without any film, college scouts did not recruit Casey, until one spring weekend in Tennessee. The unranked recruit dominated the Nashville Rivals camp to earn linebacker MVP honors. Soon after Casey earned a four-star ranking and offers from Oregon, Kentucky, Louisville and more.
Vince Marrow was one of the first to visit Casey following his recruiting explosion. However, Marrow could not seal the deal the first time around. Casey initially committed to Oregon in October. Once UK’s season ended, Casey hosted the Kentucky coaches for an in-hime visit. A day later he de-committed from Oregon.
Shortly after last week’s decision, Casey was in the stands when J.J. Weaver pledged his allegiance to Kentucky. Tuesday night Marrow returned to Louisville for an in-home visit with Casey’s family. Most recruiting analysts now believe Casey will commit to UK, with 69 percent of the 247 Crystal Ball picks in the Cats’ favor.
Losing the state’s top-ranked player is tough, but landing a Top 20 linebacker is something worth celebrating. Speaking of celebrating…
Josh Allen’s Awards Ceremony
It’s technically the “Home Depot College Football Awards Show,” but they should at least consider a temporary name change. The show begins at 7:00 on ESPN, but Allen could earn a few more honors before it begins. The Walter Camp All-American Team will be announced prior to the ceremony, as well as the Walter Camp National Player of the Year, which will be revealed on the 6:00 pm SportsCenter.
A Red Carpet Special from the awards show begins at 6:00 on ESPNU. You can afford to miss that, just don’t miss the beginning of the show. Based purely off this PR lineup, the Bednarik Award will be the first honor passed out tonight. Don’t miss Allen’s night in the spotlight.
Basketball is (almost) Back
Kentucky will return to the hardwood in two days when the Cats travel to Madison Square Garden to take on Seton Hall. Before the team departs for New York City, John Calipari and a few players will speak to the media at approximately 2:00. Keep it locked here for all the coverage you need.
Tyrese Maxey is Ballin’
The Kentucky commit scored 38 points Tuesday night in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Maxey’s team lost on a lay-up as time expired.
Vernon Carey Commits
The former UK recruit is reportedly down to Duke and Michigan State. He’ll decide today around noon. If you want to know who could potentially commit to Kentucky, you should listen to the latest episode of Hardly Committed. T.J. dishes on the Matthew Hurt visit and much, much more. Download and Subscribe ASAP.
It’s cold in Kentucky, but Aaron Torres is bringing the heat from the West Coast. Later today he’ll be joined by Verne Lundquist on the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast. Uncle Verne tells quite a few tales throughout the interview, including a story about that time the Hall of Fame broadcaster and Terry Bradshaw just made up an NFL player for an entire season.
PAC-12 After Dark Buzzer-Beater
The PAC-12 team was actually the victim of a buzzer-beater. Washington took Gonzaga down to the wire in Spokane. The game was tied until Rui Hachimura hit a turn-around with less than a second remaining.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 6, 2018
Top Chef: Kentucky Premieres
After months of shooting throughout the Commonwealth, tonight the hit reality cooking show will finally debut. The first episode of Top Chef: Kentucky hits the Bravo airwaves tonight at 9:00. In case you miss it, Mrs. Tyler Thompson, KSR’s resident Top Chef fan, will share the best of the best after each episode.
The KSR crew spent another day north of the border. Shannon the Dude spent another night sleepless, wondering how one person could ever make so much noise while unconscious.
— Shannon The Dude (@ShannonTheDude) December 6, 2018
They’ll be back on the air at 10:00 am with stories from their evening with the U.S. Ambassador to Canada.
Kentucky’s top-ranked 2019 commitment has de-committed.
It stinks. There’s no other way to spin it.
A top 100 athlete and the state’s Mr. Football, Wandale Robinson was the perfect poster boy for Mark Stoops’ first class after an historic nine-win season. An affable and explosive star, Robinson was the perfect person fill a position of need as Kentucky’s offense transitioned from the Benny Snell era into Terry Touchdown’s hands.
Robinson’s decision to flip creates a void, however, the biggest impact isn’t on the field.
Wandale’s decision will hurt morale more than it will Kentucky’s roster. This is the kind of decision that will make some fans never follow football recruiting ever again. It’s not just the flip, it’s how it happened. First reports of the flip surfaced while he told reporters he still planned on signing to UK in two weeks. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
“I regret that things happened the way they did,” Wandale said. “It was never my intention to hurt or mislead anyone or play any sort of ‘game.'”
The football recruiting machine chewed up Wandale, spit him out and took fans on an unpleasant ride. De-commitments happen all the time, but this one will leave lasting scars on the Big Blue Nation.
Time to Step Up
Wandale was penciled into Kentucky’s starting “Y” position — the second slot spot that David Bouvier played in 2018 — as the heir apparent to Lynn Bowden. Lynn is still going to be Lynn in 2019, but he needs help from others in the 2017 recruiting class.
Bowden was one of five receivers in the class. JaVonte Richardson, the second-highest ranked, had to attend junior college to improve his grades. He’ll return to UK in January. Isaiah Epps and Josh Ali have a combined 25 career receptions. Each have had a good game or two, but have been inconsistent potential deep threats. Clevan Thomas showed the most early promise by catching 3 passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in the 2017 spring game as an early enrollee. Last season he redshirted. In 2019 No. 18 needs to live up to that number’s good name to make sure the Cats don’t miss a beat without Wandale.
If the 2017 class doesn’t figure it out, others are waiting for an opportunity. The 2018 class brought three players who played in four games and redshirted. The 2019 has two incredibly fast targets, TaeTae Crumes and Demarcus Harris. The talent is there. It’s time to step up.
UK still has Recruiting Momentum
Just because Kentucky lost their top-ranked recruit, doesn’t mean the class is toast.
Five days ago the Cats got a commitment from a four-star Louisville pass-rusher, J.J. Weaver. Tomorrow they’re expected to receive a commitment from another four-star Louisville linebacker (and previously an Oregon commit), Jared Casey.
Stoops and Marrow aren’t only targeting four-stars from Kentucky. Four-star South Carolina cornerback Jammie Robinson hosted Mark Stoops on an in-home visit last night. A week ago Stoops was visiting four-star Louisiana wide receiver Devonta Lee. Both will officially visit UK on the final weekend before signing day. If Kentucky lands just one they’ll finish with a top 30 class, a.k.a. one of the best in school history.
We have a great class with playmakers and future NFL players on our roster time to move on keep challenging the SEC For Champions ship. Go Big Blue.
— CoachMarrowUK (@vincemarrow) December 5, 2018
Losing Wandale Robinson is quite the buzzkill. Since Kentucky dismantled Louisville to end the regular season, everything had gone right for Kentucky football…until now. Despite the loss, Kentucky’s in position to finish the final two weeks of the recruiting season on a high note.
The Hey Kentucky! New York Road Trip is still underway, and the television crew is getting colder and colder by the day.
Yesterday, they took a pit stop in Jackson, New Hampshire to explore the highest peak in the northeast, Mt. Washington.
Chris Tomlin had to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go snowshoeing in the harsh conditions:
While Tomlin was snowshoeing, Matt and Drew had to get through the coldest television standup in history.
Just looking at them makes me want to crank the heat and throw on a coat:
Did we mention that it's cold? ??? pic.twitter.com/gSWBIGAn2V
— Hey Kentucky! (@hey_kentucky) December 4, 2018
After New Hampshire, the Hey Kentucky! crew managed to cross the border and visit Montreal, Quebec.
There, Matt and Drew talked about Wandale Robinson’s decision, Matt Bevin blocking people on Twitter, Hemp legalization, toll bridges, and more.
Check out the entire episode here:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 9:30pm
It’s no secret Bobby Petrino didn’t always give it his all on the recruiting trail, especially when it came to elite in-state talent. As Petrino’s second tenure grew longer at Louisville, top-level prospects within a 100 mile radius seemed to opt elsewhere at an alarming rate.
During that time period, one former high-level local talent told KSR the former Louisville head coach was easily one of the worst recruiters he had come in contact with during the recruiting process, and it was a big reason he opted to attend college elsewhere.
“He wouldn’t get off his couch to come talk to me,” he said. “Why would I even consider Louisville?”
When his recruitment ramped up and a decision crept closer, Louisville was one of the first schools cut from the recruit’s final list.
And it seems to be a recurring theme with other in-state talent such as Stephen Herron Jr., Milton Wright, Demontae Crumes, JJ Weaver, Shawn’Kel Knight Goff, Jared Casey, Rondale Moore, and Tahj Rice in the past two years alone. There’s a hotbed of talent, but almost none of them are opting to stay home and play at Louisville.
This afternoon, Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal investigated Petrino’s old recruiting efforts and how new Louisville football coach Scott Satterfield has pledged to change that narrative.
Satterfield said during his introductory press conference that the school’s “doors are open” going forward, meaning high school coaches and players are welcome to visit at any time and he would return that deserved attention to in-state prospects in the immediate future.
Frakes interviewed some local head coaches about what that means to them, and the responses were pretty telling.
Moore High School head coach Rob Reader shared a similar story to the one KSR heard a while back, saying Petrino never went out of his way to see one of the state’s best pass-rushers over the last several years, Kentucky’s latest commitment JJ Weaver.
“Bobby Petrino never came to our school and we have a four-star defensive end that everybody in the country was after,” Reader said. “He never took the time to drive 10 miles to our school. To hear the new coach opening that back up and being willing to share and build bridges and fix that PR is great. I’m excited for it.”
Male head coach Chris Wolfe said the difference between Charlie Strong and Petrino was night and day. While Strong invited coaches out for beer and pizza to help develop a personal relationship with each of them, Petrino stayed distant.
“Charlie Strong was very accessible,” Wolfe said. “Charlie Strong called me personally three different times, and he had his (defensive coordinator) over here every spring, no matter what, even if we didn’t have kids. He called and offered use of his facility when we were getting ready for a state championship and the weather was terrible. That goes a long way in building relationships and getting high school coaches to feel like the local colleges care about you — not just for your kids but for your program.”
With Satterfield and his promise to turn things around with local talent, Ballard coach Adrian Morton said he’s interested to see how recruiting battles will be going forward.
“It’s important to build a fence around the city,” Morton said. “I’m interested to see how the recruiting battles between Kentucky and Louisville go now.”
It’s been fun stealing away local talent such as Weaver, Crumes, Knight Goff, and likely Casey tomorrow, but the competition hasn’t quite been there from the Cardinal coaching staff over the past few years.
Let’s see what happens with the new administration.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 8:30pm
The Kentucky football regular season may be over, but that’s not stopping them from proving this is a special group both on and off the field.
Before bowl practice starts rolling again on Friday, the Wildcats used their time off to give to those in need.
This evening, several Wildcats went to Dining with Dignity, a part of Lighthouse Ministries, to help prepare and serve dinner for some very special individuals.
The official UK Football Twitter account sent out the following pictures, featuring Josh Paschal, Miles Butler, Naasir Watkins, and former linebacker Courtney Love, among others. (It looks like soup and sandwiches were on the menu):
You’ll never believe who helped orchestrate the entire event…? You guessed it, former KSR employee and current UK Director of Player Development, Freddie Maggard.
Here was a picture snapped by his wife, Jennifer, of Freddie and his daughter wrapping some forks:
Here was Naasir Watkins pouring drinks for folks in attendance:
And Courtney Love making some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:
Keep up the good work, Wildcats!
By Jack Pilgrim on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 7:30pm
The Kentucky football squad may have found their newest Charles Walker or David Bouvier to groom for a few years.
Kalon Howard, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound wide receiver/strong safety out of Louisville, has accepted a preferred walk-on spot at the University of Kentucky.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank all of the schools that I have communicated with and those who have extended offers,” he said in a tweet. “I have received a preferred walk on to the University of Kentucky! I want to thank my teammates, all of my coaches, and the staff and administration at Moore for helping me daily.”
Here was the entire tweet released this evening:
— Kalon Howard (@HowardKalon) December 5, 2018
A Moore High School standout, Howard is teammates with Kentucky’s newest four-star defensive end commitment, JJ Weaver. Like Weaver, Howard plays on both sides of the football, finishing with eight sacks in 2018, good for No. 12 in all of 4A. He also led the team in tackles.
Here are some of his senior-year highlights, featuring plays on the outside as a receiver and in pass-rush and coverage situations on defense:
I think that’s a “respect my decision” we can all get behind.
The XFL will return in 2020 and now we know the eight cities that will host XFL teams, and folks, don’t get too excited because seven of the eight cities already have NFL squads.
Remember, the WWE and NBC are set for the reboot in 2020 after the XFL started and folded in 2001. The XFL will try to compete against the NFL, but don’t forget about the new Alliance of American Football, which starts in February of 2019.
At least the AAF is going to cities that don’t currently already have NFL teams (besides Atlanta and Phoenix).
Eh, we’ll see if either league pans out (I hope at least one does), but I guess for now if you want to watch bad and disorganized football in Kentucky you’ll have to continue to go to Cardinal Stadium.
I’ll leave you with a concussed Jeff Brohm video:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 5:45pm
Josh Allen won’t be the only Kentucky Wildcat at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Mike Edwards, Lonnie Johnson, and Darius West have also accepted invitations to the annual all-star game, which takes place January 26 in Mobile, Alabama.
— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) December 5, 2018
— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) December 5, 2018
— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) December 5, 2018
The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for players to show off their talent for scouts. Josh Allen, a first-round staple in most mock drafts, doesn’t need much help with that, but his teammates could use the exposure. Also, the Reese’s Cups.
Speaking of Allen, the latest CBS Sports mock draft has him going 18th to the Tennessee Titans. I think Allen should go higher than that, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Titan blue…
By ShopKSR.com on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 5:30pm
Celebrate UK football’s invitation to the Citrus Bowl with these awesome bowl t-shirts on ShopKSR.com! These will make fantastic holiday gifts.
The KSR Shop has a great offer when you purchase your bowl tees. Buy 3 or more bowl tees, and get a special UK hat for FREE. Make sure everyone on your shopping list is covered!
By TJ Walker on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 5:00pm
While we received some bad news from Frankfort today, we don’t have to worry about three-star defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson. The 6-foot-4, 298-pound Springfield, Ohio native committed to the Cats in September and although signing day is two weeks away Gibson made his commitment official with ink, but maybe not in the way you’re thinking.
Gibson added a big Wildcat tattoo to his leg, so you could say things are pretty serious:
Some New Ink ??? pic.twitter.com/6YLKqZgIL5
— Isaiah Gibson (@IsaiahGibson75) December 5, 2018
Gibson picked UK over Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin and he’s another addition to the Ohio pipeline to Lexington. Of course he’s not the first player to get a tattoo of his future college, and if something crazy were to happen where he didn’t end up at Kentucky (not happening) that also wouldn’t be a first. Former UK QB Danny Clark was initially committed to Ohio State and put it in ink.
After decommitting from OSU and picking the Cats, Clark covered up the “O” with a lion.
Looking at Gibson’s tattoo he could flip to another Wildcat school, or maybe Cincinnati (if you’re a South Park fan this could be the start of a great ManBear Pig tattoo), but the kid seems to bleed blue so there’s nothing to worry about. Good for Gibson.
Former Kentucky great Sydney McLaughlin was named the International Association of Athletics Federation 2018 Female Rising Star Award winner. A major honor for the 19-year-old track star that spent her lone year in college at Kentucky.
Two world U20 records at 400m hurdles (52.75) ?
Two U20 indoor world bests at 400m (50.36i) ?
World senior lead at 400m hurdles ?
US collegiate champion at 400m hurdles ?
— IAAF (@iaaforg) December 4, 2018
To hold so many world records before she turns 20 is absolutely nutty. We said during the spring and last winter that she was the best athlete on UK’s campus and she may go down as one of the best athletes to every wear the blue and white. Kentucky’s most successful one and done? It’s her or Anthony Davis and the future looks incredibly bright for McLaughlin.
From UKAthletics.com, here’s what she accomplished as a Wildcat.
Here’s a race from February:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©December 05th, 2018 @ 3:14pm
How about some good news? Mark Stoops and Josh Allen were just voted SEC Coach and Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches. Earlier this week, they received the same awards from the Associated Press, making it a clean sweep.
Stoops led the Cats to a 9-3 record this regular season, 5-3 in conference play, both bests for the program since 1977. While he’s the fourth Kentucky coach to be named Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, he’s only the second to be voted Coach of the Year by his colleagues. The other was Blanton Collier in 1954.
Allen, who was named winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for nation’s top defensive player earlier this week, set the school record for career sacks (28.5) and single-season sacks (14). He led the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss (18.5), and forced fumbles (5). He’s also tied for first on Kentucky’s all-time career forced fumbles list with 11.
Congrats to both, and thanks to the SEC for the timing. We needed that.