Stephen Johnson is a Unitas Finalist
It’s been said before on the site but it’s worth saying again: Stephen Johnson is one of the 20 best quarterbacks in the country. A finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Johnson ranks third in the SEC in completion percentage (63.9) and fifth in yards per game (206.3).
See all 20 finalists here.
High Grades from PFF
Every week across the country, college football coaches grade players for their weekly performance. Pro Football Focus does the same thing (I’m sure with a different set of criteria from the coaches). Some like to knock their methods, but their methods put a number on how players perform that don’t always receive the spotlight. This week, quite a few Kentucky Wildcats were highlighted.
Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden and Juice Johnson were two of the three best receivers in the SEC last week. Juice received the highest grade in the conference with an 86.9. Bowden, the SEC Freshman of the Week, was third with a grade of 83.5. On the other side of the ball, Derrick Baity was the second-best cornerback in the league with an 86.9 grade.
Two Kentucky defenders rank near the top of their positions through six weeks of SEC play. Mike Edwards is the SEC’s No. 3 safety with an overall 85.2 grade. The SEC’s best edge rusher through six weeks is Josh Allen. With an 87.4 grade, he’s out-performed all of the headline grabbers who entered the season with NFL Draft hype. Enjoy Edwards and Allen while you can.
Cats Near the Top 25
Kentucky isn’t receiving much love from the talking heads in the polls, but one metric has the Cats right where they belong: near the Top 25.
Remember Tom Fornelli? The CBS writer appeared on KSR two years ago when he made the bold prediction that 5-1 UK could win the SEC East. That remark was made on a podcast and used to point out how terrible the East was. That’s not the case this year.
Fornelli has created a mathematical formula in an attempt to objectively rank all of the teams in the FBS. Throwing opinion out the window, Kentucky is ranked No. 27, up 11 spots from 38. Fornelli does add a little opinion for each team. On Kentucky: “Have you looked at the rest of Kentucky’s schedule? Its, uh, it’s pretty manageable.”
See how far UK is ahead of UofL in this week’s Fornelli 50.
Four-Star Tight End Sets Official Visit
Vince Marrow is searching for his third tight end commit in the 2018 class, and it might just be his best. Leonard Taylor of Springfield, Ohio is a consensus four-star prospect who has visited Kentucky multiple times. After visiting for the Florida game, Taylor told Rivals he will take an official visit to UK on November 4 when the Cats take on Ole Miss. Taylor’s rapport with Marrow is about as good as it gets.
“That’s my main dude,” Taylor commented. “He is just a good coach and we have a good vibe together. He knows how to work with his players.”
Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Michigan and Louisville are also in the fold for Taylor. He’ll visit UofL for the first time this weekend. Kentucky currently has an 82-18 advantage over Ohio State in the 247 Crystal Ball.
Check out some of Taylor’s senior highlights as a QB/DE.
More Drake at Center?
Drake Jackson played in his first game vs. Eastern Michigan. After just two games, he might command most of the center snaps moving forward.
Against Missouri, Jackson was the primary center after the game’s first two series. That will not always be the case, Nick Haynes and Bunchy Stallings will still rotate into the center spot and at right guard. Stallings will play wherever he’s put, but he admitted that last year’s experience at right guard helps this year.
“Since I’ve gotten the reps last year and had the chance to play guard, yes, I’m more comfortable with playing guard,” Bunchy said. “This year I’m a lot more comfortable with it, ready to go.”