By Drew Franklin on ©August 21st, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Mark Stoops made a special guest appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio during a break in Week 3 of his team’s fall football camp.
As always, Stoops was very candid and transparent to the show in his comments; although, he did not reveal any new information as to who the starting quarterback will be in 11 days. (Sorry.) He did, however, say, “I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t made a decision on it as far as when and how I’ll make that public.”
Stoops also raved about his team’s veteran leadership in a year that, for the first time, the best players are also its best leaders.
“We’ve been more consistent,” Stoops told the show. “I’ve been impressed; in particular, some of those guys on the offensive side of the ball with Benny, CJ and all the O linemen. All those guys are leaders and want to do the right thing all of the time, so they’ve been impressive. Same with the quarterbacks.”
Overall, he sees his best football team since he’s been at the University of Kentucky. But only time will tell if his best roster will translate to the Cats’ best record in his six seasons in Lexington.
“Without a doubt, we’re a stronger football team this year,” Stoops said, proudly. “Whether we play better or whether we win those games, that’s why we play them. But we’re a better team this year than we’ve ever been. And as I say all the time, we should be. How it translates to wins and losses, that’s why we gotta go play because I can’t just say that.
“We have a great opportunity. I like this football team. But until you go play, you don’t know exactly what we have.”
11 days until we see it on the field.
Listen to Stoops’ entire interview:
By TJ Walker on ©August 21st, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Former Michigan State star Jaren Jackson Jr. was running The Players’ Tribune Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon and gave UK sophomore Nick Richards some praise.
Jackson Jr. was drafted No. 4 in the 2018 NBA Draft after his lone season as a Spartan. He averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and three blocks per game. Michigan State was upset by Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Jackson Jr. was asked about his toughest matchup in the Nike EYBL.
My bro Nick Richards
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) August 21, 2018
The two unfortunately didn’t square off against one another in college, but it’s more evidence that Richards can be a star. Richards’ issues seems to be consistency, which isn’t surprising given he’s only been playing basketball since he was a teenager.
Richards did a lot of nice things in the Bahamas, he had a couple great games last season and clearly frustrated Jackson Jr. in the Nike EYBL two years ago.
Let’s hope consistent Richards is here to stay in 2018-2019.
By TJ Walker on ©August 21st, 2018 @ 9:00pm
Anonymous coaches are at it again! This time talking to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, discussing which eligible college basketball player they would most like to have on their roster.
Reid Travis was the only Kentucky player listed and was named by 9 percent of the coaches that disclosed their votes to Norlander. That was good enough to be tied for fourth place with SEC rival Grant Williams.
I don’t think anyone should have any major issues with R.J. Barrett at No. 1. I disagree with Zion Williamson and Carsen Edwards at No. 2, but I’m not overly passionate about it. Both are great players that should have good seasons.
But how is P.J. Washington excluded by these college coaches? He averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds on a team that featured two NBA lottery picks and three other players that are currently on NBA rosters.
If you’re worried about Duke having two players at the top, there seems to be a bit of a CBS Candid Coach curse. Only one player who received the most votes has gone to the Final Four and no player has helped lead their team to a national championship since CBS started doing this in 2012.
By TJ Walker on ©August 21st, 2018 @ 8:00pm
Kentucky’s 2018 football motto derived from one of the most controversial officiating decisions from the 2017 season. It ended Benny Snell’s sophomore season and drastically hurt UK’s chances of winning the Music City Bowl.
You remember the play. Snell was on the turf and when an official went to help him up, he declined the help and got up on his own. He was thrown out of the game because he brushed aside the officials (despite the official making contact first) and now UK is using #GetUp for the 2018 season.
Snell told the KSR crew on Tuesday that he hasn’t forgotten.
“They took me out the game early last year,” Snell said. “I’m ready to get back. I’ll forever remember that.”
Matt Jones reminded Snell how the ejection became a national story and put the UK back on the map after back-to-back successful seasons.
“At the end of the day when I was talking to my parents and some of the coaches it was like a blessing in disguise,” Snell said. “I learned my lesson from it- the lesson is to stay far away from a ref as possible, or do what they say.”
Matt suggested just allowing the officials to help him up? It wasn’t surprising to hear Snell disagree.
“Stay away. I gotta stay away.
Smart, Benny. Smart.
The entire audio is below and it’s the start of the interview.
By TJ Walker on ©August 21st, 2018 @ 6:30pm
Another day and another potential college football scandal. This time it’s Texas A&M.
Former Aggie (now at Arizona) Santino Marchiol is spilling the beans on new A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and how he operates his program. USA Today’s Dan Wolken has the story, and boy, is it interesting.
Marchiol red-shirted at A&M last season and was willing to give Fisher a chance this year, but decided to transfer after a handful of incidents took place between him and the coaching staff.
Because he was a red-shirt, Marchiol would have to sit out a year at Arizona and lose a year of eligibility. But there is a relatively new NCAA rule that could grant Marchiol instant eligibility. If he details wrongdoing at A&M, mitigating circumstances, then he could be instantly eligible.
So, Marchiol snitched and there were three major claims:
- Assistants (former UK assistant Bradley Dale Peveto was specifically named) handed Marchiol and his teammates cash. The money ($1,000 mentioned) was to be used on recruits during their unofficial visits. This is an obvious NCAA violation but Marchiol did state there was no evidence of the interactions with Peveto and he kept the leftover money.
- A&M coaches made players participate in “voluntary” workouts, practices and film sessions during the summer.
- A&M coaches used disrespectful language when talking to players and didn’t use caution with Marchiol’s injured ankle.
Marchiol describes being taken aback after the spring game when Peveto pulled him into a bathroom near the coaches’ offices and handed him $300.
“There were coaches having meetings in the other office, and he said, here, come in the bathroom real quick because he’d just asked me to host the recruit,” Marchiol said. “So I went in the bathroom and it was just me and him in there, and he’s like, ‘Take this, if you need any more just text me and make sure they have a good time.’ ”
I would suggest you read the entire story HERE, but this isn’t great news for A&M. The Cats will travel to College Station in October, so the more headaches the better.
But my big takeaway is the NCAA allowing players to snitch to become instantly eligible. That’s going to be a dangerous game for players who feel they didn’t get a fair shake. I’m guessing this will have college coaches pushing for immediate eligibility soon.
It’s worth noting that Marchiol didn’t go straight to the NCAA with this information, but instead detailed this info to Arizona’s compliance department, who told the NCAA.
The Kentucky football team opened its doors for half of a practice to the media as Mark Stoops’ squad winds down training camp. Below you’ll find my running notes from the roughly one-hour practice.
- Terry is first to take snaps in the Hurry-Up vs. air period (GASP!).
- Terry was the first to run with the ones in the team period we were permitted to see too. He is not afraid to go North-South in RPOs and is quick to get the ball out of his hands on the pass. When he’s in the game, expect to see A LOT of RPOs.
- Don’t underestimate Danny Clark’s wheels. The big kid can move.
- Hoak continues to be money on short routes, easily finding Baker on the hitch.
- Benny Snell is still really good, but a lot shiftier behind his blockers.
- Last year many people asked, “Where’s AJ Rose?” I doubt that will be the case this year.
- Pretty disappointed that I didn’t get more looks at the freshmen.
- No EJ Price at practice today. Stoops said he’s been dealing with a lingering hand issue.
- Drake Jackson moves so damn well. He can sit in what is essentially a complete squat and move faster than I can sprint. It absolutely blows my mind.
- Drake just gave McCall a freshman moment. Poor guy.
- It’s not fair when Big George is blocking freshmen. Just give them a white towel.
- A pulling Bunchy gave us the best pop of the practice and it came at Josh Allen’s expense. It was loud enough to incite an involuntary audible response.
- Darrian Kinnard, an All-American freshman tackle, got some action in with the second team at guard. Interesting.
- Bowden and Bouvier had a pair of impressive sideline grabs, while Ali and Zy’Aire Hughes were fun to watch stretch the field in stride vs. air.
- Rigg is going to play A LOT helping lead the way for Benny. A reach block is the most difficult task for a tight end and he’s got it down pat.
- I wondered who would win out in the battle of sophomores between Epps and Ali. As of today, it appears that Ali has a slight advantage.
- Bo Knows (how to punch and swim). (In case you don’t know Bo, that’s Quinton Bohanna, the UK nose guard that Vince Marrow raved about on KSR.)
- DuBose has never been in better shape. His initial punch isn’t as powerful as the other nose guards, but he’s incredibly agile inside.
- Davoan Hawkins, a true freshman, stood up Bunchy Stallings, a three-year starter. A stalemate is as good as a win for the defense.
- Entering today, I wondered if Hawkins was good enough to play. We haven’t yet entered the team period, but I think he’s got it.
- DuBose was moving around quite a bit. He’s listed at nose but also got some run in with the ones alongside Bohanna and Middleton.
- JORDAN JONES IS BACK IN FULL PADS!
- Jesus Christ DeAndre is explosive. I feel sorry for the poor running backs who have to pass protect against that blitz.
- Chris Oats is running with the 3s At Mike. The second group behind Kash and Jordan Jones featured Jamin Davis at the Mike and Square at the Will.
- Jones is still an absolute hell-raiser when he blitzes. He made the defense’s best play of the day by blowing up Benny in the backfield.
- Mike Edwards ain’t the type of dude to fall for an RPO fake.
- I forgot we only got an hour to watch, and didn’t allot enough time to check out the secondary. My bad y’all.
- Butler banged one from 40 in a hurry up, end-of-game scenario. Poore’s from 43 yards was wide left.
- It’s fun to watch the Aussie roll it to the corner instead of just booming it like a traditional coffin corner, although Duffy has quite the boomstick.
- I would love to see Edwards in the return game, although I doubt they’ll let him do it.
The season is quickly approaching and for every Saturday from now until January will be filled with college football on the tube. Here in the Commonwealth, Kentucky enters 2018 off of consecutive seven win seasons as Mark Stoops fields his most talented team in year six.
Expectations are high for the Wildcats in 2018 as they have experience and playmaking ability returning to Lexington. With a potential All-American at running back, an experienced offensive line, and proven contributing pass catchers the ceiling is high for Eddie Gran’s offense
If all the bounces go right, here is what Kentucky’s offense will look like this fall.
- Behind center, it appears that Terry Wilson may be the favorite to land the QB1 spot as week one quickly approaches. With Wilson, UK will have a true dual-threat that hasn’t been seen since the days of Pookie Jones when Kentucky landed in the Peach Bowl in 1993. Wilson’s double skill set will prove to be extremely valuable as the threat of the run will open up the passing lanes. Wilson becomes the first UK quarterback since Mike Hartline to throw for at least 20 touchdowns while also proving to be a dynamic option in the zone read game.
- In the backfield, Benny Snell needs 1,412 yards to become the program’s all-time leading rusher. He gets that and more as he rushes for at least 20 touchdowns and finally gets national recognition as one of the best backs in America. Behind him, A.J. Rose emerges as a legit secondary option as he records over 600 rushing yards as Kentucky finds the big play back that was missing without Boom Williams in 2017.
- At receiver, Lynn Bowden becomes UK’s top target and will be one of the receivers in the SEC returning in 2019. Gran’s offense gets more complex with the tight ends in the passing game as C.J. Conrad records at least 25 grabs and becomes a dynamic red zone threat. Dorian Baker and Tavin Richardson stay healthy and make their fair share of plays on the outside.
- In the trenches, UK stays healthy all season as Logan Stenberg collects all-conference honors while Naasir Watkins and E.J. Price are able to contribute as rotating tackles. Drake Jackson is the straw that stirs the drink, Landon Young begins to live up to his five-star potential, and George Asafo-Adjei becomaes a dominant mauler in the run game.
- As a group, Kentucky averages over 30 points per game as a unit for only the second time since 2010 as the offense averages over 200 yards both on the ground and in the air.
Do this and it could be a special season in the Bluegrass.
By TJ Walker on ©August 20th, 2018 @ 11:00pm
Hello, folks! I hope everyone had a great weekend as we inch closer to football season. Things are slowing down a bit in basketball recruiting but once colleges start across the country you’ll start to see official visits and a good chunk of the uncommitted players will pull the trigger in or before November. Obviously there will be several UK targets that wait until the spring.
As a reminder for those reading the Monday Insider Notes- the concept is simple, but here’s a refresher. I post what I’ve heard over the last week. Things can change and people I’m talking with can be wrong. I can be wrong. I don’t post these Insider Notes thinking everything I’ve typed will come into fruition, but instead give readers an idea of where things seemingly stand but more importantly what people are saying/thinking behind the scenes. I add my opinion and sometimes even disagree with things I’m hearing.
Let’s get to the notes.
Cole Anthony: One of the cool things about the Monday Insider Notes is how I will post something on Monday and by 1 or 2 p.m. I’ll have text messages from sources telling me that I’m right, and they’ll add more detailed information, but more likely one of my sources will tell me I’m wrong. That’s what happened with Anthony. I’ve heard and written about UK being in a solid spot for Anthony, but it will likely come down to how the backcourt looks in 2019-2020. If UK lost a handful of guards they would have a real chance at Anthony, but if Kentucky returned the bulk of Green, Quickley, Herro, Baker, Hagans then Anthony wouldn’t consider the Cats. That may not necessarily be the case.
Anthony isn’t going to commit anytime soon and what he’s thinking in August may not be important come March or April where he’ll still likely be uncommitted, but I was told that UK really isn’t in a great spot right now. Anthony and his family are handling their recruitment in a unique way. They’re not talking to reporters about the recruitment and they have just recently started allowing coaches to be in “constant” contact. Constant was the word used to me and I’m not sure what he meant by it. Everyday? Once a week? I’m not sure.
Regardless, supposedly UK hasn’t been in “constant” contact with Anthony and the Cats aren’t a major player as of today. I was surprised to hear this because John Calipari always wants the best of the best and Anthony may be the best high school point guard since John Wall. Calipari can sometimes handle recruitments differently than other coaches. I could see a scenario where Calipari realizes Anthony and his family want space, so he will give them space. I don’t really know what to make of that news but as of today it appears that other schools have put in more work with Anthony.
I still think we hear of Anthony setting a visit to UK at some point this fall, but if we don’t hear of anything in the next month about a visit to Lexington it would be pretty concerning. Anthony has already checked out a few schools and more visits planned, but so far nothing about UK or the Cats. Let’s hope that changes.
Wiseman: So, he’s going to high school in Memphis. The 7-foot-1, 210-pound center (who has 7-4.5 wingspan) continues to have a great deal of Memphis buzz and that didn’t change over the last week. I wish I had an update on if Wiseman is going to visit in August (this weekend) but I do find the situation interesting. I’m not having anyone tell me yes, but I’m not having anyone tell me that he is definitively not visiting this weekend. My guess is it likely happens in September, but regardless if it’s this weekend or next month, Wiseman will still return to UK’s campus at some poitn this fall. That visit needs to go well. There’s a lot of pressure on Wiseman to stay in town.
I have heard that Wiseman plans on announcing in the spring. He had previously said he’s undecided on when he will announce, but it appears it will be in 2019. This does open the window to a disastrous Memphis season possibly impacting Wiseman’s decision. I’ve been asked if Memphis stinks will Wiseman take that as a negative, and I don’t know for sure, but it certainly can’t hurt UK’s chances. If they stink it will put more pressure on him to help by staying home, but if the Tigers are good then that will make Penny’s pitch to Wiseman even easier.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 13, 2018
Vernon Carey: There has been plenty of buzz on Carey since I said last week I wouldn’t trade UK’s spot with another school. I still feel confident about Kentucky’s chances but it’s not necessarily a popular opinion.
The folks at Rivals and Cats Illustrated don’t feel great about UK’s chances with Carey, but if you listened to my podcast, Hardly Committed, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports said he’s also hearing good things about UK’s chances. It seems like people are split about exactly where UK stands with Carey, but he’s not making a decision anytime soon. The Cats will get him on campus in October and have a chance to really pull ahead (or catch up, depending on where you think things stand).
I still think Carey is UK’s big for the 2019-2020 season.
Scottie Lewis: In the UK recruiting stock market it’s time to buy Scottie Lewis stock. I (surprisingly) heard great things about UK’s chances with Lewis over the last week. I’ve never thought too highly of UK’s chances with the duo of Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, but I’m starting to come around to the idea of Lewis and UK. Supposedly UK has done a great job in Lewis’ recruitment and I’m told that Lewis was considering making a trip to Ireland to play exhibition games with Aidan Igiehon but was advised not to make the trip. I’ve been told that it was folks in Lexington that gave him that advice.
I’m not sure what to make of the trip to Ireland. I’m not sure why UK or any other college would have an issue with Lewis traveling overseas. Maybe potential eligibility concerns? That’s the only thing I can think of, but if UK were truly concerned about Lewis messing up his eligibility then that would have to be good news about the Cats’ chances? That’s certainly one way to look at it.
R.J. Hampton: Hampton made some news over the weekend when he said that UK commit Tyrese Maxey is trying to get him to reclassify and join him in Lexington next year. One could read this and make assumptions about where UK stands with Cole Anthony, but I wouldn’t read too much into this. Both are from Texas and have played against one another several times. They’re buds. I’m told that UK is open to the idea of Hampton joining UK’s class of 2019, but it’s not something they are anticipating as of today.
I do think there will be a few guys that reclassify from 2020 to 2019 and I know the Cats would be interested in Hampton, but supposedly they’re currently looking at a big to make the jump. My guess would be N’Faly Dante but I wasn’t given a name. UK has offered Dante and also Scottie Barnes in 2020. They are currently the only two players in 2020 with an offer from the Cats.
AT THE BUZZER
Aidan Igiehon: UK is not recruiting Igiehon.
Kofi Cockburn: I’m told at this time that UK is not recruiting Cockburn and it’s unlikely that it picks back up at any point this fall. Some are reporting that UK is on the verge of offering Cockburn but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Oscar Tshiebwe: This is the guy. UK is very interested in Tshibwe and when we look at other options besides Carey, Wiseman and Matthew Hurt- it’s easily Oscar. Watch his game, get to know him. He’s going to become a major UK target before it’s all said and done. WVU is clearly the leader so don’t expect the Cats to waste too much time moving forward.
He was No. 88 in your program and No. 1 in Drew Franklin’s heart. Now Charles Walker is on the KSR Football Podcast Team. The former Kentucky slot receiver joins Drew, Jack Pilgrim and Nick Roush to prepare you for the 2018 Kentucky football season. The crew goes through the depth chart, tells you who to keep an eye on, and…
— How Drew became Charles’ No. 1 fan.
— Who is Best Quarterback on the Roster?
— An excellent story from before Benny Snell’s freshman season.
— Why David Bouvier is going to be awesome and what it’s like to earn a scholarship.
— The most underrated athlete on the team you’ve never heard of.
— Drew picks a new favorite player, one who can tap-dance.
Get the podcast delivered to your phone by subscribing to “KSR Football Podcast” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app. You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play , and streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.
By Nick Roush on ©August 20th, 2018 @ 4:30pm
One week from today Kentucky will release the first depth chart of the 2018 season. Normally an SEC Media Days tradition, this year the UK Media Guide did not feature a depth chart. Instead of waiting another week, let’s see what the depth chart will probably look like before the Cats take on Central Michigan.
Both are still expected to play in the opener, but after Wilson stepped up in Saturday’s scrimmage, the playmaking athlete will likely be the first to take snaps under center on September 1.
A.J. Rose OR Sihiem King
An excellent spring and summer from A.J. Rose has given Eddie Gran enough confidence to make Rose the No. 2 back behind Benny Snell, although King will still likely be used situationally. Kavosiey Smoke will play sparingly before he reaches the four-game limit for redshirts.
Wide Receiver (X)
Wide Receiver (Y)
These two receivers have earned plenty of preseason praise from the practice fields. Gran described Bouvier as the camp’s MVP, while the tiny freshman (5’8″) has captured the attention of his peers.
Wide Receiver (F)
Wide Receiver (Z)
Isaiah Epps OR Josh Ali
Richardson emerged as one of the most consistent wide receivers on the roster in the second half of the 2017 season after Dorian Baker was forced to miss an entire year. Behind him there are a pair of deep-play threats who must prove they are the preferred deep-ball targets.
Kentucky will run a lot of sets featuring the two tight ends, with Conrad split out as a wide receiver more than ever before during his Kentucky tenure. The highly-touted freshmen, Keaton Upshaw and Brenden Bates, should also see some action, although at least one will be restricted to just four games.
U.S. Army All-American Darrian Kinnard has been an excellent addition, but the Cats will contain him to just four games to keep his redshirt status.
Sebastien Dolcine OR Austin Dotson
“Big” George Asafo-Adjei
Jamar “Boogie” Watson
Josh Allen’s former position, he flipped sides with Boogie to get into more pass rushing situations on third down.
Tymere DuBose OR Marquan McCall
If McCall gets into playing shape, he could knock the senior out of the rotation.