By Hayden Hooper on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 7:48pm
The top graduate transfer in the nation will visit the University of Kentucky this week.
According to Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers.com, Virginia Tech forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. will officially visit Kentucky starting on Tuesday.
Breaking: Highly-coveted Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. will take an official visit to Kentucky beginning Tuesday night, a source told @Stockrisers.
Has visited Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee.
— Jake (@jakeweingarten) June 16, 2019
KSR’s own Matt Jones also confirmed the news:
Not sure if this out there as I have been away, but Kerry Blackshear will visit Kentucky on Tuesday
H/t to anyone that has already put it out
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) June 16, 2019
Blackshear, listed at 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds, was a second team All-ACC selection last season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He also led the Hokies with 28 blocked shots and ranked third with 83 assists.
Before his visit to Kentucky, Blackshear has already visited Florida, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
By Brent Wainscott on ©June 16th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Father’s Day is about to come to an end, and these people have yet to wish their fathers a happy Father’s Day. So before it’s too late, I decided to help them out a little bit and do it for them as a nice father’s day gesture.
Mississippi State to Benny Snell
We might give Mississippi State a pass on forgetting to wish their father of one year, Benny Snell a happy father’s day, but then again, how could one forget the night Mississippi State found out who their daddy was? After a full week on denial and refusal that Benny Snell would run through any defense, the results turned out that Benny Snell was indeed their father.
Sometimes, Fathers and their sons’ quarrel. So after a pregame scuffle, Benny Snell made sure to teach them a valuable lesson. Rushing for 165 yards and four touchdowns to break Randall Cobb’s record for touchdowns scored in a career at Kentucky, Benny Snell shut up the Bulldogs while launching himself and the Wildcats into the national spotlight as a legitimate football team in 2018.
Remember Kylin Hill, you a clown in real life.
Benny Snell on behalf of Mississippi State, Happy Father’s Day!
South Carolina to Mark Stoops
Do you guys remember the time when South Carolina just seemed always to beat the Cats? No? Me either, it feels like forever ago. Nearly six years, in fact, because Mark Stoops has completely owned the Gamecocks in his tenure at UK.
After losing the first go around to South Carolina with essentially Joker Phillips’ team, Stoops has beaten the Gamecocks on five straight occasions. Over those years, these games have given us some of the best moments in the Stoops era. The first time he beat South Carolina, birthed Grove Street Party as the Kentucky football anthem while JoJo Kemp put the Wildcats on his back in a 45-38 victory at a ruckus Commonwealth Stadium decked in all black.
“We’re just getting started bro,” Stoops told Matt Jones on the post-game show, and he was right.
Beating South Carolina next year in Columbia which ran Steve Spurrier out of town, then again in 2016 with his career at UK on thin ice, Stoops once again toppled South Carolina with the emergence of Benny snell.
How could we forget the year after that with the second straight victory in Columbia that was won on fourth down-goalline stands and an iconic picture?
Then, of course, Stoops once again got the victory over the Gamecocks en route to a 10-win season last year.
Mark Stoops, on behalf of South Carolina, Happy Father’s Day!
Lonzo Ball to De’Aaron Fox
Poor Lonzo Ball. If there’s anyone who knows what it’s like to have their father in the spotlight at all times, it is Lonzo Ball especially after his father, De’Aaron Fox, dropped 39 points in a Sweet 16 game two years ago in Las Vegas.
Since then, Fox just won’t leave the spotlight. After a stellar Sophmore season in the NBA, Fox has earned himself a shoe deal with Nike, while being in plenty of commercials and being heralded as one of the NBA’s young bright stars.
It’s so bad Ball tries to stay away from Fox. Seemingly coming down with an injury or a reason not to play every time Fox is in town, Ball just doesn’t want to be associated with Fox. Maybe it’s just a phase. I’m sure getting traded by the team that drafted you while your father is still proving to be a worthy pick will help open your eyes, Lonzo.
I hope these two can patch it up. So, on behalf of Lonzo Ball, Happy Father’s Day De’aaron!
Louisville to Coach Cal
If we want to get technical, John Calipari has only lost to Louisville once at Kentucky. (Thank you, Andre McGee) So with a record of 10-1 and an average margin of victory of nine points, Cal has OWNED the Cardinals at Kentucky. Some of Kentucky’s best moments came from the Louisville games in the Cal era. Here’s some, for example.
Pictures are worth a thousand words.
Coach Cal, on behalf of Louisville, Happy Father’s Day!
Tennesse Fans to Matt Jones
You know what, Matt’s on vacation, we probably shouldn’t go into to details on this one. But, as a little KSR secret just for today, we all know it’s free real estate on Vol twitter.
Sincerely though, happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, especially mine! We wouldn’t be possible without you all and if you’re able to and haven’t called your pops up yet to tell him happy father’s day, don’t be like these guys on the list and do it.
Anthony Davis’ wish has been granted. The former Kentucky Wildcat will team up with LeBron James as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
First reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans are getting quite a bit for the Unibrow — Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks — including the 2019 No. 4 overall pick.
Davis requested a trade just ahead of the deadline. When the Pelicans and Lakers could not reach an agreement, chaos filled the void. It took a little longer than he’d like, but Davis will get to be a Laker.
A Kentucky backcourt of BJ Boston and Daishen Nix in 2020-21? The five-star guards say it’s possible
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 15th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
While dozens of elite prospects poured into John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA this week for the NBPA Top 100 Camp, two names consistently mentioned at or near the top of the list of top performers at the event are 2020 five-star guards BJ Boston and Daishen Nix.
Teammates this week, it was evident from day one that the two had phenomenal chemistry on the court. With Nix being a pass-first point guard – arguably the best in the nation, at that – and Boston being a dynamic scorer, the two were obviously a perfect match in the four-day event.
As we approach the final day of camp, their complementary play on the floor has led them to believe that not only have they been solid teammates in Charlottesville, they could be an even better duo at the next level.
“Our chemistry is developing really good, he’s a pass-first point guard,” Boston said on Thursday afternoon. “I really like that when I’m playing. We connected from the time we first stepped on the court together this week.”
“We’ve got really good chemistry,” Nix added. “He’s a really cool guy, he’s down to earth. He’s really funny too, that’s what a lot of people don’t know about him.”
For Boston, things are a bit easy when it comes to his recruitment. Already down to four schools – Kentucky, Duke, Florida, and Auburn – all he has left to do is choose one of them.
“I think these are the four schools that are on me the hardest right now that want me at their university,” he said. “[During travel ball this summer,] they’re telling me to out every game, play hard, and go as hard as I can.”
As of right now, Kentucky leads all schools in Boston’s Crystal Ball over at 247Sports with 83% of all predictions, including picks from recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Andrew Slater.
As for Nix, things are a bit more complicated.
He already holds offers from big-name programs such as Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, and Gonzaga, while Maryland, Alabama, LSU, Memphis, and Washington are also seen as possible contenders. While Boston’s list is shrinking, Nix’s list is growing larger.
One of the schools the nation’s No. 1 point guard is hoping to officially add to that long, growing list? The University of Kentucky.
Though no offer has officially been extended, UK assistant Joel Justus visited Nix at his high school in Las Vegas, NV on May 2. When asked about the meeting, the five-star point guard said having a coach from Kentucky reach out just stands out among some of the other visits he has had.
“It was a surprise because Kentucky walked in,” the five-star prospect said. “It was just like some of the other visits, but they were just higher than the other coaches that have come in so far.”
Nix took it a step further by saying that while he loved his interaction with Justus, he’s hoping to catch up with Kentucky head coach John Calipari, a “legend” in his eyes, sooner rather than later.
“I really want to meet Coach Cal [in person],” Nix said. “Because growing up, watching all the top schools, they were my dream schools. It was pretty good that I got to finally talk to him. … It’ll be a shock [when I meet him] because he’s a great coach. He’s a legend to me.”
And how would he feel if Calipari offered him a scholarship during that face-to-face meeting?
“It would mean a lot, because not a lot of people where I’m from get offers like that,” Nix said. “Like Kentucky growing up, Kansas growing up, schools like that, those were the schools you watched on TV.”
Switching back to Boston, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard also had rave reviews for Kentucky.
“They’re all family-oriented the way they coach their program,” Boston said Thursday evening.
When asked about his recent visit to Lexington in February, the five-star prospect said he was fascinated with what he saw at Rupp Arena.
“It was a good atmosphere, it was like an NBA arena,” Boston said. “They played Auburn. Good, high intensity.”
Between Thursday and Friday, at least one representative from the University of Kentucky watched the elite guards take the floor in all four games. In those matchups, Boston averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game, while Nix has averaged 4.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per contest to go with an impressive 23.0 player efficiency average.
Back in 2013, former Kentucky guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker teamed up for the first time at the NBA Top 100 Camp. In several interviews afterward, the former dynamic Wildcat duo said that was where their chemistry both on and off the floor first developed. That was when they first decided they wanted to play in college together.
When asked about the potential comparison, both Nix and Boston said the idea of that was definitely intriguing.
“Yeah, it’d definitely be something like that,” Nix said of the comparison. “I can be like Tyler Ulis, pass it to him. I’m a pass-first point guard, so I would make sure he scores. That’s what he wants.”
“It’s up to him, I don’t know where I want to go right now. I probably won’t be making my decision until later,” the elite shooting guard said. “But for me, I need a passer to join me where I decide to go to school.”
For Nix, he’d be happy with being that passer Boston is looking for.
“He’s a scorer, he can score from wherever he wants, get wherever he wants on the floor,” he said. “And I like that. If I get him the ball, he can do his thing.”
But will it actually happen?
“Hopefully,” Nix said. “I’m not sure yet, but hopefully.”
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
John Calipari’s new 10-year, $86 million contract is now official, and includes some significant changes from his previous one. Here are the five things you need to know:
1. He’ll be making anywhere from $8 million to $9 million per year
Last year, Calipari made $8 million plus the $50,000 APR bonus (more on that later); for the next two seasons, that amount won’t change. Here’s what Calipari will be making each season through the end of the deal:
- July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020: $8 million
- July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021: $8 million
- July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022: $8.5 million
- July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023: $8.5 million
- July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024: $8.5 million
- July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025: $8.5 million
- July 1, 2025 – June 30, 2026: $9 million
- July 1, 2026 – June 30, 2027: $9 million
- July 1, 2027 – June 30, 2028: $9 million
- July 1, 2028 – June 30, 2029: $9 million
2. After six years, he has the option to step down as coach
The purpose of this contract was to allow Calipari to finish his coaching career at Kentucky, and after six years, he’ll have the option to step down as the head coach and become special assistant to the athletics director/university representative. He would receive $950,000 in annual compensation for the position, which would include helping the university with fundraising and promoting the program.
Ambassador Calipari has a nice ring to it.
3. He has to let UK know about other job offers
There is still no buyout in Calipari’s contract, but there is a new section regarding job offers. From now on, Cal must let the athletic director know of any job offers or requests for meetings and/or discussions before speaking with prospective employers. Remember, word leaked out about this new contract because UCLA reportedly reached out to Calipari to try to lure him to the West Coast. As he said last week, that’s an annual occurrence.
“I get calls every year from different people. And you know why I’ll talk? At the end of the day, I may be able to help someone else. If I know that I can help somebody else who’s helping assistants, I do that, but I’ll listen to people talk to me. I mean, I owe that to the profession, to myself.”
4. He still gets one month of paid vacation
…but according to his daughters, he never really uses it:
I mean, he leaves the state of Kentucky and then works from there. Does that count?
— Dr.SicilianoCalipari (@TheErinCalipari) June 13, 2019
He goes to their New Jersey place for a couple weeks usually but it’s never truly work-free. So many phone calls, tv appearances and interviews. We even end up in the Craft center on Christmas. He loves his job
— Megan Calipari (@MeganteCalipari) June 13, 2019
5. His only bonus remains the APR incentive
One of the unique things about Calipari’s contract is, that while most coaches have incentives, such as payouts for making the tournament, winning championships, etc., he only has one: meeting the school’s mark for the Academic Progress Rate, or APR. When his team reaches the threshold of 975, Calipari gets $50,000. For the past six years, UK has earned a perfect one-year score of 1,000.
Go Cats. Go Calipari.
Cliff Omoruyi says Kentucky was his dream school growing up, “started screaming” when he first met Coach Cal
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 10:55pm
Back in April, John Calipari headed up to Roselle, NJ to check out 2020 four-star center Cliff Omoruyi. On his way out, the Kentucky head coach extended a scholarship, making the 6-foot-10, 230-pound center just the tenth prospect overall and second center to receive an offer for the class of 2020.
But Omoruyi was quite different than most of Calipari’s past offers, especially this early in the process.
Originally from Nigeria, basketball is still very new for the four-star prospect, as he had only played in his first official game roughly three years ago in 2016. While the four-star prospect is an incredibly talented rebounder and possesses a motor unlike anyone else in the class, he is still extremely raw offensively and will need time to develop before he makes a major impact at the college level.
Still, though, Calipari was happy to take a chance on him. And it’s an offer that certainly means a lot to the 6-foot-10 big man.
In an interview with KSR at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA, Omoruyi said that as a kid in Nigeria, Kentucky was one of the only schools he heard about and was able to follow. So when he came over to the states and finally started playing basketball, UK was certainly one of his favorite college programs.
“I was happy [to receive an offer] because Kentucky was one of my dream schools growing up,” he said. “Like when I was back in Nigeria, I used to hear most about Kentucky.”
At the time, KSR was told that Omoruyi was “emotional” upon receiving an offer. For a player that has had such a long journey to get where he is now, it was certainly special to hold a scholarship from one of the most prestigious schools in college basketball history.
When it comes to his meeting with Calipari for the first time, Omoruyi said he couldn’t contain his excitement, screaming and jumping up and down when the Kentucky head coach came to his school.
“Yeah, that was my first time meeting him in person,” the four-star big man said with a smile. “They told me it was some coach, but I started screaming a lot when [I realized it was Coach Cal.] I went crazy.”
According to Omoruyi, the very first thing Calipari asked him was about his academic situation and how he was doing in the classroom, a question he was happy to answer.
“The meeting was fun, he asked me how I was doing in school class-wise, if I’m a good student,” he said. “I told him that I average a 3.7 GPA, I’m a straight-A student.”
The next question? Omoruyi’s “why.” Why does he want to play basketball in college and then at the NBA level?
“He asked me why I play basketball, and I said that the biggest reason was that I wanted to give my mom and my family a better life,” he said.
Playing at Roselle Catholic in New Jersey, Omoruyi is close with former Kentucky guard and RCHS alum Isaiah Briscoe. In fact, the two have talked about the idea of the four-star center eventually becoming a Wildcat and how he’d find success in Lexington.
“[Briscoe] told me that if I go there, I’m going to work out to be a better player,” Omoruyi said. “I’m going to have to work out to impress everybody and it’s going to be difficult when I get there, if I go to Kentucky.”
And Briscoe isn’t the only Wildcat he has a relationship with.
Omoruyi said that he is also close with current Kentucky wing and former Roselle Catholic teammate Kahlil Whitney.
“That was my teammate, we used to throw each other alley-oops,” Omoruyi said with a laugh. “We used to turn up the dunks and layups and everything.”
The Kentucky target said that he caught up with Whitney about his time in Lexington earlier this week on Instagram Live.
“He said it’s fun [so far at Kentucky], they’re working out right now,” he said. “[Kahlil] said he was trying to get big like me”
When asked about Whitney’s game, the 6-foot-10 prospect said the current Wildcat is an elite athlete with a knack for getting his teammates better.
“Kahlil, he’s athletic,” Omoruyi said. “He’s fun to have as a teammate because he’s going to bring out the beast in you. In practice he pushes me really hard to [get better.]”
While it’s likely Whitney ends up being a one-and-done and won’t have the opportunity to play with Omoruyi in college, odds are pretty solid the four-star prospect will be following in his former teammates footsteps. He won’t admit that Kentucky is the runaway favorite, but if John Calipari wants him, I have a hard time believing he’ll turn him down when it comes time for a decision.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Holding 18 offers at the Division I level already, the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2020 already has the attention of some of the top coaches in all of college basketball.
But now, he’s hoping his play catches John Calipari’s eye sooner rather than later.
Daishen Nix, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound five-star prospect out of Las Vegas, NV, is already turning heads at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA this week. Bumped up to No. 10 overall and No. 1 at his position in 247Sports’ most recent recruiting rankings, Nix is considered the top passing guard in all of high school basketball, regardless of class.
With his production spiking, coaches are now flocking to see what he’s all about.
“It’s been great,” Nix said of his recruitment thus far. “I’ve had a lot of college coaches coming in, just enjoying the process. Getting myself better, getting my teammates better.
I was surprised when I got selected [for the NBPA Top 100 Camp] because at the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t ranked at all. Then when the summer came, I started blowing up.”
Nix already holds offers from Kansas, Arizona, Gonzaga, UCLA, Maryland, LSU, Alabama, and Memphis, among others. And if his elite play continues, one would expect Kentucky to follow suit in the very near future.
Back on May 2, Kentucky assistant Joel Justus traveled out to Las Vegas to meet the 6-foot-5 guard at his school, Trinity International.
According to Nix, it was a major surprise to see a coach from Kentucky come to see him, and it was a gesture he certainly appreciated.
“It was a surprise because Kentucky walked in,” the five-star prospect said. “It was just like some of the other visits, but they were just higher than the other coaches that have come in so far.”
And what was so different about UK’s visit and their pitch?
“[Joel] Justus came in for a practice,” Nix said. “He says I’m a good passing guard and that I could come in right now and play with them.”
When asked about his interest level in Kentucky, the nation’s top point guard said that meeting John Calipari in person is near the top of his priority list going forward.
“I really want to meet Coach Cal [in person],” Nix said. “Because growing up, watching all the top schools, they were my dream schools. It was pretty good that I got to finally talk to him.”
On Wednesday night, recruiting expert Evan Daniels of 247 Sports raved about Nix and his passing ability at the NBPA Top 100 Camp on Twitter.
“Not sure there’s a better passer in high school basketball than Daishen Nix,” Daniels tweeted. “His vision, creativity and ability to pass off the live dribble has been impressive here at NBPA Top 100 Camp.”
2020 five-star point guard Daishen Nix is considered the top passer in the nation. He said yesterday that Kentucky was one of his dream schools growing up and he couldn’t wait to meet John Calipari soon. pic.twitter.com/JjozpRDhYk
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) June 13, 2019
And according to Nix, it’s a talent that came to fruition for him at a young age outside of basketball. In fact, his passing abilities developed at a young age when he was a quarterback growing up in youth football.
“My first sport was actually football, and I was a quarterback, and the quarterbacks make all the passes,” he said.
When the time comes for him to move on to the next level, the school of his choosing will likely have the top passing guard in all of college basketball to work with. The talent is there.
But when is a decision expected for the five-star prospect?
According to Nix, he’s just getting started with his recruitment and is in no rush to choose a school quite yet.
“I’m just enjoying the process, getting myself better and getting my teammates better,” he said. “I’m not worrying about where I’m going yet. I’m not committed anywhere, my recruitment is wide open.”
When he does eventually sit down and make a choice, what is he looking for in a school?
“They need to be an educational school first,” he said. “And then the way their system goes, I want them to play freely and let the point guard do what he wants.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
News of John Calipari’s “lifetime” contract at Kentucky leaked out after the season ended, but today, Cal put the pen to paper and made it official.
Calipari’s new 10-year, $86 million contract will keep him at Kentucky through the 2028-29 season. After six years (2025), Calipari will have the option to step down as the head coach and become special assistant to the athletics director/university representative. He would receive $950,000 in annual compensation for the position.
“One of the truly unique things about Kentucky men’s basketball is its legacy of head coaches who have made their own lasting mark on this program. John is a perfect illustration of that,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “He has added a special chapter to the greatest tradition in college basketball and it’s a chapter we want him to continue writing until the end of his coaching career. We are pleased to announce a new contract that will enable him to do exactly that.”
With a base salary of $400,000 per season from the university, Calipari will make $8 million in total compensation over the next two seasons with increases starting in 2021-22 ($8.5 million per year for four seasons) and 2025-26 ($9 million per year for four seasons).
“I want to thank the university, Dr. Eli Capilouto, Mitch Barnhart and DeWayne Peevy for approaching me with the opportunity to finish my career at Kentucky,” Calipari said. “I’ve said from day one that this would be the gold standard and it has been for student-athletes and coaches. As I enter my 11th year, I’m reminded it took me 20 years to get an opportunity to like this. There is no other place I want to be. As I look forward, my mindset is what’s next and how can we be first at it for the young people that we coach.”
The only incentive in Calipari’s new contract remains his team’s performance in the Academic Progress Rate. For each year his team meets the threshold of 975, Calipari will receive $50,000. Kentucky has earned an NCAA award in five straight seasons for finishing among the top 10% of Division I men’s basketball schools.
Today is a very, very good day to be a Kentucky fan.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 2:40pm
Yet another school may be in the running for Kerry Blackshear, and if you’re a Kentucky fan, you’re not going to like who it is.
Arkansas hoops reporter Kevin McPherson is reporting that Blackshear is now considering Memphis. The Virginia Tech grad transfer is scheduled to begin his official visit to Tennessee tomorrow, after which he plans to visit Kentucky. He’s already visited Florida and Arkansas. Texas A&M, Michigan State, and Gonzaga are also in the mix, as is a return to Virginia Tech.
Landing Blackshear would be quite a coup for Penny Hardaway, who already has five-star center James Wiseman coming in, along with five-star small forward Precious Achiuwa and a bevy of four-star prospects, including former UK commit DJ Jeffries. At 6’10”, 250 lbs., Blackshear could be the perfect compliment to the Tigers’ frontcourt and make them a national title contender.
Time to get this kid to Lexington and wrap it up.
By Nick Roush on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
College football’s talking season makes people say some crazy things. Like almost every year, college football prognosticators are underestimating the Kentucky Wildcats.
Brad Crawford of 247 Sports predicted the win-loss record for every single team in the SEC. After going through the schedule, Crawford believes UK finish tied for fifth in the SEC East at 6-6.
If Kentucky manages to win 10 games this fall, go ahead and give Mark Stoops national coach of the year. After heavy personnel losses, I’m projecting this team will be closer to six wins than 10. My guess here is that the Wildcats have their 5-year winning streak vs. South Carolina snapped in Columbia and a win over Arkansas on Oct. 12 equals their first SEC victory. That means Kentucky gets to a bowl game with wins over Vandy, UT Martin and Louisville to close out the regular season.
Few around the BBN believe the Cats will only win six games. The biggest sticking point in this prediction is a “guess” that South Carolina will finally beat Kentucky. You don’t need to guess to see that before UK travels to Columbia, the Cocks be coming off back-to-back losses to Alabama and at Missouri. Winning on the road in the SEC is never easy, but this UK team will not be easily intimidated by Williams-Brice Stadium
Preseason predictions will always favor the name brands, like Tennessee and Florida, and known commodities, like Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant. If Kentucky debunks this prediction, it will with players who are widely unknown or underestimated by the rest of the SEC.
“Nobody thought we had a solid team last year but I did,” Stoops said this spring. “And I feel the same way going into this year. Our guys in the program now are further along because they’ve seen what it takes. They’ve seen a good model. “
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
A relatively unknown prospect just a year ago, 2020 five-star center Makur Maker has become arguably the most unique prospect in his class
Just a hair under the 7-foot mark, Maker looks the part of an elite big man. At 235 pounds, the Orange Lutheran High School product has the size to bang down low on offense, grab tough rebounds, and alter shots at the basket.
And then you see him receive the inbound pass, take the ball up the floor, and knock down 3-pointers from 25-feet out.
It’s that elite inside-out style of play that has forced recruiting outlets to bump his ratings up – he’s up to No. 2 over at 247Sports – and make college coaches drop whatever they are doing to check this kid out in person.
One of those schools? The University of Kentucky.
Back in April, Kentucky head coach John Calipari and assistant coach Kenny Payne traveled out to Southern California to surprise Maker and his guardian, Ed Smith, with an in-home visit.
At the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, VA, Maker said he was definitely happy with how the visit went, adding that Calipari is a “good guy.”
“Coach Calipari is a good guy,” Maker said. “He sat down with me and my guardian, spoke about some things, how they see me at Kentucky and how I fit. Just talking to me, personally. He was giving me tips. What it takes there to be on the floor, and what he would expect from me. He’s a good person.”
Maker said that while Kentucky has yet to extend an offer, he’s very interested in following in the footsteps of some of the top players to come through Lexington during the Calipari Era.
“They have a lot of great players that come through there. You know, [Karl-Anthony Towns], Boogie Cousins, from top to bottom,” he said. “Coach Calipari really takes care of his players, demands a lot, but in return, you have to go out there and get what you want out of it.”
Looking at what Maker brings to the table, it’s easy to see why there is mutual interest between both sides. As a skilled big man with range out to the 3-point line, the Orange, CA is already drawing comparisons to Towns, among other versatile players.
In fact, he’s so skilled that some recruiting analysts and various highlight tapes on YouTube are calling Maker a “7-foot point guard.”
As much as he values his versatility, Maker brushed off the high praise. He’d actually rather be called something that Kentucky fans should be quite familiar with at this point.
“I don’t buy the hype, when they say ‘7-foot point guard.’ I like to do things on the floor. I like to go down low sometimes. It starts down low, and then I work my way out. I’m not a point guard, but I am positionless.
When it comes to John Calipari’s pitch, while he hasn’t used his go-to phrase with the 7-foot prospect with elite guard skills quite yet, Makur says the UK coaching staff would want him to play the exact same way in Lexington.
For him, that’s extremely important to him when making a college decision.
“[Kentucky wants me to keep] doing what I do now [in college], just being a lot more sharper,” he said. “We haven’t really spoken on [being positionless], but I’ll probably see him sometime this summer. That’s just something I like personally: being positionless. I feel like being versatile, the game comes a lot more easier.”
While Kentucky is obviously interested and a scholarship offer is expected in the very near future, they’ll have to fight off plenty of other schools if they want to land the top-three prospect in the class.
“Oregon has been calling a lot, Auburn, UCLA recently called,” he said. “Washington, Nevada, that’s the latest pickup that I know of.”
When asked about specific schools he would like to visit sooner rather than later, though, Makur was quick to separate the Wildcats from the pack.
“Kentucky, probably. Most likely,” he said. “Sometime this summer, I probably want to see them.”
Over the last few months, there was speculation that the 7-foot center was contemplating a jump to the class of 2019, with Kentucky being one of the schools rumored to have interest should a reclassification come to fruition.
When asked about an updated status on when he’ll be playing college basketball, Maker was adamant that he’s sticking with his original class of 2020.
“Definitely staying in 2020. Giving it one more year,” he said. “Since I had a year off, I feel like I should get a year back and go on the floor and learn what I can do as a player.”
Now that the Kentucky coaching staff has more time to evaluate Maker’s game and recruit him to Lexington over the next year or so, expect them to ramp up their efforts in the immediate future.
The interest certainly seems mutual.
By Aaron Torres on ©June 13th, 2019 @ 11:00am
When it comes to college basketball recruiting, and it comes to Terrence Clarke, you can be forgiven if you’re not all too familiar with his name or game. After all, Clarke just finished his sophomore year of high school at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.
At the same time, even if you don’t know his name (which again, you can be forgiven for), you better get to know it quickly, because there aren’t many players, anywhere in the country who have a higher upside than Clarke. He is currently ranked as the No. 2 ranked player overall in the class of 2021, and a guy that some recruiting experts believe has as much star potential as anyone in high school basketball.
And after seeing Clarke two weeks ago at the Pangos All-American Camp, it is quite easy to see what the hype is about. Despite being one of the youngest players there, he largely dominated, leading his team to a 5-0 record in pool play, then made the camp’s All-Star game, dropping a team-high 18 points in that game, Again, despite being one of the youngest players on the court, a class of 2021 prospect matched up with players a year older.
For Clarke though, it was all just another day in the gym. The one thing the kid doesn’t lack is confidence, whether he is playing against players his own age or older.
“I’ve played in a lot of camps before with older guys. 2019 guys last year, 2020 now,” Clarke told KSR when asked about playing against the older competition. “I played well against them last year, so this is the year for me to show I’m fearless.”
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 11, 2019
It’s all part of what has become a big last year or so for Clarke. After transferring from a local high school in his hometown of Boston to Brewster Academy, he helped lead the school to a Prep School Championship (even though he was banged up for their final few games of the season). And he’s also been one of the early breakout stars of this summer’s EYBL campaign, averaging 17 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Expressions Elite.
More than just putting up raw stats though, he has shown off a versatility in his game that both college coaches and recruiting experts weren’t sure he had. In an era of “position-less” basketball, Clarke had grown frustrated with being listed as a wing. He wanted to spend the early portion of the spring proving that he has guard’s skills, and to date he has done that.
“I’m a 6’7 playmaker,” he said. I get others involved while getting myself involved. I can create shots off the dribble, off the catch. I can score at all three levels.”
In terms of what’s next, it’s wildly early in Clarke’s recruitment (because he’s only a sophomore, college coaches can’t even reach out to him until next month) but Clarke has heard from just about every major program in college basketball. He has offers from everyone from LSU to Nebraska under new head coach Fred Hoiberg, Indiana, Arkansas, UConn and more.
However earlier this spring, his offer list picked up exponentially, when both Kansas and Kentucky offered. He remains one of the few 2021 prospects that the Wildcats staff has extended a scholarship offer to, a sign of just what both the Kentucky staff, and the college basketball world as a whole thinks of his talent.
Clarke knows just how rare it is for Kentucky to extend an offer to a sophomore, and didn’t take it lightly.
“It was just an honor to be offered by a blue blood like Kentucky,” he said when asked specifically about the Wildcats.
Admittedly it’s waaaaaaaay too early to try and figure out where Clarke will end up, but for what it’s worth, there are only two Crystal Ball predictions on 247 Sports in Clarke’s recruitment. Both predictions have him heading to Kentucky.
Over the next month or so, Clarke’s recruitment should start to take shape.
If he does one day land at Kentucky, the Wildcats will be getting one of the most talented players in high school basketball.
And one of the most confident.
Below is some video of Clarke, and here are some other prospect profiles:
Johnny Juzang (before he committed)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 12th, 2019 @ 4:20pm
Just when you start to forget the college hoops scandal, here it comes roaring back. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd is reporting that “at least” six Division I men’s basketball programs will be notified of Level I NCAA violations this summer, two of them “high-profile”:
Stan Wilcox, NCAA vice president for regulatory affairs, said two high-profile programs would receive notices of allegations by early July.
The remaining four would be rolled out later in the summer in what was described as a wave of NCAA investigations meant to clean up major-college basketball.
“There’s even another group of cases that we’re still working on,” Wilcox said. “The main thing is that we’re up and ready. We’re moving forward and you’ll see consequences.”
Level I violations are considered the most serious, with punishments ranging from scholarship reductions to postseason bans and show-cause orders for coaches. Also important: a Notice of Allegations is only sent after an investigation is closed. At least 20 schools were mentioned in the FBI’s probe into college hoops, but it has been reported that Kansas, Arizona, and Louisville were under NCAA investigation. LSU seems like a likely candidate as well after Will Wade was caught on a wiretap discussing a “strong-ass offer” for Javonte Smart.
One of the juiciest bits of info from the college hoops trial was the wiretap of Kansas assistant Kurt Townsend discussing how much money it would take to land Zion Williamson; however, Wilcox told Dodd that because the wiretap was not entered into evidence, the NCAA can’t access it. So, for that, Kansas will probably be let off the hook. Again.
Read more at the link below.
The dice remain hot at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility with Kentucky picking up their fourth commitment since Friday. This time the most recent pledge happened on the defensive side of the football with Georgia inside linebacker D’Eryk Jackson committing to Kentucky thanks to the recruiting work done by Jon Sumrall.
Jackson camped with UK yesterday and after seeing him in action, Kentucky’s staff knew they needed to add the Mike linebacker prospect to the class of 2020. The deep south native has listed offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State so it’s clear that the low three-star prospect is someone big schools find intriguing. He fits the mold for the thumper type linebacker UK likes to have in the middle of its 3-4 defense.
It’s now time to take a look at the tape and see just what Jackson will bring to the defense ran by Mark Stoops and Brad White.
The first thing that jumps off when watching film on D’Eryk Jackson is the physicality. On nearly every tackle, the linebacker is knocking people backwards. He’s violent when he arrives to the football and there is no forward progress to be had once contact is made. Jackson is at his best when he is able to read the play and get downhill quickly. Here he hammers the running back on the reception out of the backfield. In college, he’ll have to prove he can make plays in space but on tape he shows the required athleticism to be able to flip his hips and sprint to the sideline in order to make a stop for a minimal gain.
UK asks their middle linebackers to become heavily involved in stunting (a fancy football word for blitz). Yes, Kash Daniel made a living last year on run blitzes to create some havoc plays but UK also needs their guy in the middle to assist in the pass rush. Anytime an inside linebacker is asked to blitz, it’s more than likely going to require for him to take on a running back. A college linebacker must dominate these isolation situations. Here, D’Eryk Jackson makes quick work of the blocker to collect the quarterback pressure and force an incompletion. This is just another example that Jackson is at his best playing downhill.
However, you’re not going to be in a run blitz look all the time. More times than not, your middle linebacker is going to have to read and react to make a play. When you’re lined up inside, that often means working your way through heavy traffic in order to make a play on the ball. You must be instinctive and physical to play this position. D’Eryk Jackson shows those traits by quickly recognize the outside zone run. He fills to his spot and takes on the right tackle while maintaining outside leverage by keeping his left arm and shoulder free. After beating the block, he makes a drag down tackle. You don’t see many of those on Jackson’s tape but they are still important. Not every stop is going to be a big hit. At linebacker in the SEC you must be able to make all kinds of different tackles to get the skill player to the ground.
D’Eryk Jackson is now the eighth member of Kentucky’s 2020 class and the third front seven player to join the fold. Similar to Kash Daniel and Courtney Love, Jackson fits the bill for what UK likes to have with their Mike linebacker. He’s a downhill thumper who drops the hammer when he arrives to the ballcarrier. Jackson is at his best screaming down the hill or knifing through gaps to produce a run stuff. He should be a key cog in the future of UK’s run defense.
Moving forward, the inside linebacker must prove he can make plays in space so he can stay on the field on all three downs. Listed at 235 pounds, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play around 245 during his senior year of high school. When he gets to college, however, he must find a playing weight that allows him to play fast and free. Entering his junior season, Kash Daniel had to slim down and D’Eryk Jackson may have to do the same. Kentucky has had a lot of success on the defensive side of the football with some low three-star recruits and Jackson will look to be the next one in line.
By Nick Roush on ©June 11th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
The dice are still hot.
Three-star inside linebacker D’Eryk Jackson has committed to Kentucky. The 6’2″ 235-pound 2020 prospect from Dublin, Georgia picked the Cats over Ole Miss, Purdue and Mississippi State.
The announcement comes shortly after the rising star visited Lexington to camp with the Cats. After canvassing a wide area in the Deep South, Jon Sumrall has his first commitment as Kentucky’s inside linebacker’s coach.
As you can tell, the eighth member of Kentucky’s 2020 recruiting class enjoys lowering his shoulder to destroy opponents.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©June 11th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
At some point this week, Kerry Blackshear Jr. is expected to visit Kentucky. The top grad transfer on the market has already taken an unofficial visit to Florida, an official visit to Arkansas, and is scheduled to officially visit Tennessee on Friday. Texas A&M and Michigan State are also reportedly in the running, as is a return to Virginia Tech.
Because there are only so many times I can search Twitter for updates on Blackshear’s recruitment, I thought I’d spend some time tonight breaking down the other candidates to prove why Kentucky is the superior choice.
- Close to his hometown of Orlando, Florida
- The Gators return starting point guard Andrew Nembhard, who withdrew his name from the NBA Draft
- Impressive recruiting class coming in, including five-star small forward Scottie Lewis, four-star point guard Tre Mann, and four-star center Omar Payne
- Will be very young after losing KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, Kevarrius Hayes, and Keith Stone
- Gainesville has one of the highest crime rates in America, with almost 1,000 violent crimes committed every year. Its residents have a 1 in 134 chance of being a victim of a violent crime, and a 1 in 26 chance of being a victim of a property crime; in fact, Gainesville is only safer than 7% of cities in America.
- From May to November, Gainesville is one of the muggiest cities in America, with “oppressive” and “miserable” conditions at least 27% of the time. On that note…
- Gainesville is located in central Florida, which means the closest nice beach is an hour and a half away.
- The food sucks. “The only negative I have to say about UF is concerning the food,” one student wrote on RateMyProfessors.com. “It’s bad. The Dining Halls only serve a small variety of food, all of which has no flavour. The staff aren’t that cooperative apart from the odd few. The worst thing however is the hours that food is served, lunch starts at 10:30?!?!?”
- Storied history
- Passionate fanbase
- Wal-Mart money
- Blackshear could fill the void left by Daniel Gafford, who is off to the NBA Draft
- Mike Anderson is finally gone
- Rebuilding year, with a new head coach and five transfers (three eligible immediately) already coming in
- Eric Musselman looks like he’d rather be the baseball coach than the basketball coach:
— Eric Musselman (@EricPMusselman) June 9, 2019
- Arkansas was the worst rebounding team in the SEC last season.
- Woo Pig Sooie is creepy:
Or is it awesome? I can never tell.
- Coming off one of the best seasons in program history
- Rick Barnes is one of the best coaches in the country
- Plenty of minutes in the middle with Grant Williams and Kyle Alexander gone
- Tennessee doesn’t actually have a scholarship open right now. Oregon transfer Victor Bailey committed to Tennessee on June 1, taking the 13th and final scholarship. The Vols also offered 2019 power forward Josaphat Bilau last week, so if he or Blackshear want to join the team, either somebody’s gotta give up a scholarships and be a walk-on or leave the program.
- Four out of five starters are gone, including Jordan Bone, one of the best point guards in the SEC
- All that talent and only made it to the Sweet 16
- Unlike Virginia Tech, there’s no other color to offset that puke inside of a pumpkin orange
- The fans know so little about basketball the Knoxville newspaper had to make a guide on the rules and how to cheer.
- The Spartans are considered the preseason No. 1 team in the country by most publications, with starting point guard/Big 10 Player of the Year Cassius Winston turning down the NBA Draft to come back for another season and Joshua Langord expected to return at full health
- Big man Nick Ward is off to the NBA Draft, creating a possibility for minutes in the middle alongside Xavier Tillman
- Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in the country
- Far from home
- Did everyone forget about those rape allegations?
- Former Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams is now the head coach
- Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes is also considering the Aggies
- Texas A&M is eligible for a foreign trip this year and will go to Costa Rica in August
- Far from home
- Even if Blackshear goes there, they won’t be that good (Admon Gilder transferred to Gonzaga)
- The Yell Leaders are creepy:
— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) October 6, 2018
- It’s been home for four years
- Already taking summer classes to work on graduate degree
- Buzz Williams is now at Texas A&M
- Rebuilding year, so chances of making a run in the NCAA Tournament aren’t great
- It’s been home for four years, so why not try something new/try to win a title?
- 28 of them right now, actually (and three more on the way): Bam Adebayo, Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Hamidou Diallo, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Isaac Humphries, Enes Kanter, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Brandon Knight, Kevin Knox, Skal Labissiere, Trey Lyles, Jodie Meeks, Darius Miller, Malik Monk, Jamal Murray, Nerlens Noel, Patrick Patterson, Alex Poythress, Julius Randle, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jarred Vanderbilt and John Wall
- The winningest program in college basketball history
- The most passionate and knowledgable fanbase in sports
- A veteran frontcourt and backcourt, including one of the best returning point guards in the SEC in Ashton Hagans
- Talented freshmen coming in
- Hall of Fame coach John Calipari
- Big man guru Kenny Payne
- 20,000+ fans at every home game
- Charter jets to get you back in your Tempur-pedic bed after every road game
- The wings at KSBar
- The checkerboard uniforms (kidding, kidding)
By Nick Roush on ©June 10th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
After losing the school’s all-time leading rusher to the NFL, the Kentucky football coaches went to a familiar place to find the school’s next great running back.
Friday night during an official visit, three-star Ohio running back Torrance Davis announced his commitment to the University of Kentucky. Tennessee, Penn State and Pitt also heavily pursued the No. 25 running back in America, but their efforts paled in comparison to Kentucky.
“They were recruiting me the hardest,” Davis told KSR Monday morning. “I decided to pick UK because it’s a school with a great atmosphere and chemistry. They had a lot of things. They showed me love and cared about me.”
At other schools, Davis only spoke to one or two coaches. Those conversations were almost exclusively about football. That was not the case at Kentucky.
“It was crazy how many coaches know you that you don’t know. It’s like the whole building knows you,” he said.
“It’s not all about football. It’s about meeting new people and building relationships…It’s more than football. It’s about becoming a man in four years. That’s really why I came. It’s like a brotherhood there. It has a really good feel.”
Davis does not plan on taking any other visits following his commitment. “My recruitment is done.”
Kentucky first began recruiting Davis in the middle of a breakout junior season for Cleveland’s Glennville High School. Davis averaged around 150 yards per contest, but finished just shy of the 1,000-yard milestone after a high ankle sprain sidelined him for three games. An imposing figure at 6’2″ 210 pounds, he’s a powerful runner in the trenches.
“I’m a power back, but I have a lot of speed as well. That’s what a lot of people said.” Some coaches used a complimentary comparison. “You’re Benny Snell but you’re more explosive.”
It’s a lofty expectation to live up to for a rising high school senior. There’s a reason why they aren’t completely over-reaching. When asked if he prefers to run someone over or make a man miss for a score, he did not hesitate.
“I’d rather run somebody over, but I’ve got both in me. I just like contact.”
Every Benny Snell needs an A.J. Rose. Less than 24 hours after Davis’ announcement, Cincinnati all-purpose back JuTahn McClain committed to UK. McClain initially planned on announcing his decision at a July 4th ceremony, but Davis and John Young convinced him to pull the trigger over the weekend.
“We talked the day before and I was telling him I was about to commit. This feels like home,” Davis said. “He was telling me he was this close to committing too. I knew he was going to commit after the photoshoot.”
Davis and McClain have developed a close relationship throughout the recruiting process.
“The crazy thing about it, we’ve known each other well ever since we first visited. I don’t know how, but every visit I took, me and him took the same day. I guess we clicked or something. That’s my bro. We talk almost everyday.”
Some players might be hesitant to commit to a school with a crowded backfield. Neither has a problem splitting carries with one another.
“They said just like Benny Snell and A.J. Rose, we can do the two-back formation. And even if we do rotate, we ain’t tripping about carries, just like AJ Rose. We’re going to get our touches.”
A versatile combo, each player has proved they can be exceptional pass-catchers out of the backfield. Davis is willing to do whatever it takes to be one of the best to ever wear the blue and white. The ultimate goal is to eventually play on Sundays. Before that, he’s ready to put on a show for fans at Kroger Field.
“They’re going to see another Benny Snell, or better,” he said.
Until then, keep your eyes peeled. A few more players are prepared to join Davis and McClain.
“These dice are still hot. We got some more coming.”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 10th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
After seeing so much upper-tier talent pour into Kroger Field on Friday and Saturday evening for to kick off Kentucky football’s long weekend of high school camps, I have to admit I was a bit worried about a potential dropoff in big-name prospects on day three.
It took all of ten minutes for my worries to be thrown out the door.
On Saturday, the two big names in attendance as non-participants were 2020 four-star linebacker Quandarrius Robinson, 247Sports’ No. 41 player in the class, and 2020 four-star defensive end and Miami commit Samuel Anaele, another consensus top-250 prospect. They both looked like they could step on the field this fall and start right away.
On Sunday, the Kentucky coaching staff followed it up with a visit from 247Sports’ No. 7 prospect in the class of 2021, future five-star cornerback GaQuincy McKinstry, who already holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, and LSU, among others. Outside of McKinstry, 2020 four-star DT target Octavious Oxendine was the other big prospect the Kentucky coaching staff spent a lot of time with.
In terms of on-field talent, there was plenty to go around, as well.
2021 offensive tackle William Griffin was easily the most impressive players at camp on Sunday, if not the entire weekend. I was standing with Justin Rowland of Rivals.com watching the quarterbacks in action (I’ll touch on them, as well) when he received a call from Jeff Drummond telling us to stop what we were doing and get over to watch him compete. And even with fairly high expectations, he somehow managed to top all of them.
At 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, the Nashville, TN native tossed medicine balls aside like they were ping pong balls and threw pad-boys back five feet during warmups alone. And then when the one-on-ones got started, Griffin continued to dominate everyone in sight, showing off a strong, wide base, strong punch, and impressive bend for a player so young. After just a few reps, the offensive tackle prospect had Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, John Schlarman, Derrick LeBlanc, and Brad White all huddled around watching him take care of business.
2021 offensive tackle William Griffin is easily one of the most impressive players I’ve seen this weekend in Lexington. Offers from LSU, Auburn, Ohio State, etc. Five-star ceiling. pic.twitter.com/ftp3ZRzoKO
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) June 9, 2019
He already holds offers from LSU, Auburn, and Ohio State, among others, and you better believe schools like Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia will be joining in on the action sooner rather than later. If Griffin isn’t a five-star, then I don’t know who is.
2020 three-star DE Reginald Perry was also competing, and from a physical standpoint, he certainly looked the part of an SEC defensive lineman.
Standing 6-foot-7, 290 pounds, Perry already holds offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and South Carolina, among others. During one-on-one drills, Perry proved to be a legitimate talent as a cross-body rusher, but wasn’t the best at getting upfield going through elite offensive linemen. While he has the body of a defensive end, he might project better as a defensive tackle at the college ranks.
During his time matched up against Griffin, Perry held his own, even winning a few reps against the (likely) future five-star.
Here was one of the matchups between the duo:
Mark Stoops has been keeping a close watch on Griffin.
Here he is against 2020 three-star DE Reginald Perry. pic.twitter.com/tLD01yKQHY
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) June 9, 2019
Overall, Perry looked like a legitimate target for Kentucky on the defensive line, and he certainly has the body for the UK coaching staff to mold if he eventually decides to end up in Lexington.
2021 three-star linebacker Tristan Cox, a Pulaski County native, had a strong showing in individual drills. He plays on both sides of the football in high school, and he certainly showed that with pretty solid versatility and athleticism in front of the Kentucky coaching staff. Cox already holds offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue, Cincinnati, and West Virginia, among others.
Javae Gilmore, brother of Kentucky quarterback signee Amani Gilmore, impressed as both an outside linebacker and as a tight end on Sunday. He tweeted afterward that he earned a scholarship after camp, and I’m told that it will be as a tight end in the class of 2022. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, he already has solid size, and he’ll only continue to grow over the next few years. I believe he’ll end up as a high three-star and possibly even four-star in the coming years.
Clayton Thomas, a 2020 defensive end/outside linebacker prospect out of Florida, caught the attention of the Kentucky coaching staff, as well. Listed at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Thomas has solid strength and athleticism, definitely holding his own in most of the drills. He has already visited Georgia Tech this summer, and he is planning on visiting at least a few more schools in the coming weeks.
As I wrote in a post earlier in the day, the quarterback group on Sunday was definitely impressive, definitely the best of the weekend from top to bottom. In terms of specific targets that stood out, Christian Veilleux (2021), Jakob Foss (2021), DC Tabscott (2021), Will Crowder (2021), and Kaiya Sheron (2021) definitely separated themselves as the top-five pass-throwers in attendance. Judah Holtzclaw, brother of former Kentucky tight end Dakota Holtzclaw, also had a solid camp.
If you missed that post earlier, you can check it out below:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©June 10th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
After a relatively underwhelming quarterback group on Saturday, the Kentucky football program was overwhelmed with legitimate talent at the position during their Sunday Showcase.
On Saturday, balls were on the dirt more often than not, with just one or two guys (at most) that really looked to possess Power-Five Division I potential. Just a day later, it was obvious right when the prospects started pouring into Kroger Field that the narrative would be flipped this time around.
While there were plenty of guys that played well, there were five quarterback prospects in particular that separated themselves from the rest. Those individuals? Christian Veilleux (2021), Jakob Foss (2021), DC Tabscott (2021), Will Crowder (2021), and Kaiya Sheron (2021).
Veilleux and Tabscott already held offers before the event, while Foss and Sheron each received scholarships on Sunday afternoon.
Thank you to the man above! I’m more than blessed to recieve my first Division 1 SEC Offer from THE University of Kentucky ??????
Big shout out @VisionQb @coachCEnglish @tonyplott71 @CoachHinshaw @elitefootballac @DarinSlack @dridge47 @Yellowhammer247 @PlayBookAthlete pic.twitter.com/H8JvOTm668
— Jakob Foss (@thereal_foss) June 9, 2019
— Kaiya Sheron (@kaiyablaze13) June 9, 2019
Christian Veilleaux (2021)
Offers: Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Purdue, and Virginia Tech, among others
From a pure physical standpoint, Veilleaux was easily the most impressive prospect in attendance. Standing at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, the pro-style quarterback out of Ontario, Canada had a solid build with room for growth in both height and strength.
In terms of skillset, the rising junior showed off a strong arm, tight spirals, impressive accuracy, and poise. Beyond what he already brings to the table, one thing that really stood out to me with him is his coachability. Kentucky co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw tweaked his throwing motion just a touch early on, and he spent the rest of the event focusing on making that a permanent adjustment. It might not sound like much, but that kind of stuff really stands out to the coaching staff.
Jakob Foss (2021)
Standing 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Foss certainly had solid size, but it was his accuracy that separated him from the pack. In fact, I would argue that he was the most accurate quarterback participating in the event.
During individual warmup drills, I was focused on some of the other big-name guys in attendance, but my attention regularly turned to Foss and his ability to put ball after ball right on the nose of his pass-catchers. Tight spiral, thrown on a rope every time.
He’s going to have to increase his arm velocity over the next two years in high school, as his balls died out a bit on the sidelines on out routes from time to time. But as college football and NFL fans have seen in the past, specifically with guys like Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf, people tend to be overly seduced by a quarterback’s arm strength and don’t value the premium that is pure accuracy. Foss has it.
A representative with Ohio University was there keeping a close eye on Foss throughout the afternoon, but I’m afraid the Power-Five offers are just getting started for the Huntsville, AL product. Kentucky became his first offer on Sunday evening, and it certainly won’t be his last.
DC Tabscott (2021)
Offers: Kentucky, Purdue, Southern Miss
Tabscott, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound pro-style quarterback in the class of 2021, was one of the individuals I was told to keep a close watch on right when he got to Kroger Field. Already listed as a high three-star and 247Sports’ No. 324 prospect in the nation, Kentucky was the first to offer the Nashville, TN native, and interest is picking up from Alabama, Clemson, and Penn State, among numerous other elite programs.
During warmups, I have to admit that I wasn’t necessarily enamored with his arm. He carried himself well, but his spirals were a bit loose and his balls took a bit too long to reach their destination. I wasn’t sold quite yet.
Then during one-on-ones, Tabscott really took a major leap forward. He showed off a solid, quick release with little-to-no windup and made great decisions on where to put the ball for his receivers. One thing that also stood out is that he’s incredibly confident in his abilities, not worried about making mistakes or taking risks.
He’ll need to build up that velocity over the next few years, but Tabscott is definitely a solid prospect.
Will Crowder (2021)
Offers: Southern Miss, Valdosta State, Campbell
Will Crowder has received three scholarship offers over the last month, but none have come from the Power Five level. I expect that to change soon.
Out of Gardendale, Alabama, Crowder was comfortable making throws at all three levels, fit the ball into tight windows, and really showed off solid touch on fade routes toward the end zone. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, all of the physical tools are there already, and he’ll only get better in time.
Crowder hasn’t received an offer, but he told KSR on Monday morning that the Kentucky coaching staff was impressed with his play and he’s hoping they extend a scholarship soon.
“I hope [an offer comes soon],” he said. “All the coaches seemed to like me and said I was very impressive. They told me I can come back any time and we will stay in touch.”
Kaiya Sheron (2021)
Like Veilleaux, Kaiya Sheron immediately caught my attention from a pure size perspective. Listed as a 6-foot-4, 195-pound pro-style quarterback, the Somerset, KY native carried himself extremely well and stood tall.
During one-on-ones, Sheron dropped multiple deep balls right in the palms of his receivers and showed a nice, tight zip on his ball in the intermediate game.
According to the Somerset product, that’s exactly what the UK coaching staff was looking for during his time in Lexington.
“[The Kentucky coaching staff] said that I really impressed them and that I really stood out,” he told KSR on Sunday evening. “They liked my arm strength and velocity.”
Sheron has a short, quick release, solid footwork, and confidence stepping up in the pocket to make big throws.
Honorable mention: Judah Holtzclaw (2021)
If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because you saw it on the back of a Kentucky jersey just two years ago. Judah, a pro-style quarterback out of Westerville, OH, is actually the younger brother of former Wildcat tight end Dakota Holtzclaw.
While he doesn’t hold any offers quite yet, the 6-foot-6 quarterback has a strong arm and solid touch on the ball. He’ll need to put some more zip on the ball in short and medium throw opportunities and accuracy could be improved just a bit, but I like what I saw from Holtzclaw on Sunday afternoon.
It was a great recruiting weekend to kickoff the summer circuit for the Kentucky Wildcats and after scooping up power back Torrance Davis on Friday night, UK collected a running mate for him on Saturday. For the second time in three recruiting hauls, UK has take two running backs in one class.
JuTahn McClain is a composite four-star back out of Fairfield, Ohio which is just north of Cincinnati. In his junior season, McClain put up over 1,600 yards rushing and scored 31 touchdowns. He is a track star and will be bringing some highlight speed and quickness to Lexington. The Cats have found a thunder and lightning combination to add to their running back room.
Just like we did with Torrance Davis, we’re taking you inside the film room to show you just what JuTahn McClain is bringing to the UK running back room. The scat back is a player that could be used in a lot of ways and will have a great chance to play in his true freshman season.
Similar to class of 2019 member Travis Tisdale, JuTahn McClain is a one-cut runner who just needs a crease to create a big play. However, on his tape he shows some very quality patience when asked to run in between the tackles. On this long touchdown run, McClain lets his blockers do their jobs to create the lane for the big play. McClain needed to use hesitation to allow the backside tight end to pull around to clean up the linebacker. While that’s happening, it allows the playside wide receiver time to get up on the corner to allow an alley for the sideline. Eddie Gran talks about patience all the time with running backs and McClain shows he has that skill.
Similar to fellow commit Torrance Davis, McClain has the ability to spread out and be a factor in the passing game. Fairfield uses him a ton on your typical running back slip screens and in the slot on bubbles. But at times they allow to run actual routes and here you see his ability as a pass catcher. On the out and up route, McClain shows he can create separation and makes an impressive reception away from his body. On tape, he consistently catches the ball with his hands and should be able to factor in as a pass catcher.
The biggest reason that McClain could make an impact right away during his true freshman season will be because what he brings in the return game. The all-purpose back is excellent on kick returns and in his Hudl tape you see numerous returns where he creates a big play for his team. If Kentucky loses Lynn Bowden Jr. following the 2020 season, McClain should step in and be the team’s starting kick returner in 2021.
JuTahn McClain becomes Kentucky’s seventh member of the 2020 class and each is rated as a high three-star or above. That’s making a good living on the recruiting trail and it’s pretty easy to see McClain’s fit in the offense. Kentucky is in need of a change of pace back who can contribute in the passing game. That is what McClain brings to the table. Slowly the Wildcats have a really impressive group of backs set to be in Lexington next year. That’s what you expect after producing the 12th all-time leading rusher in SEC history.