What better way to celebrate your birthday than a rousing game of Yahtzee?
On Tuesday, Mark Stoops turned 46, and he got a very nice present in the form of TV Williams, a 3-star wide receiver who committed to the Cats on Tuesday night. More on Williams later, but for now, let’s take a minute to appreciate the man who has made this new era of Kentucky football possible. Nine months ago, morale in the UK football fan base was lower than low. Attendance numbers were inflated in an attempt to avoid total humiliation, and many thought the program had been dealt a blow that would keep them on the SEC cellar floor forever. And then along came Stoops.
Stoops went after the job like he would a recruit, presenting Mitch Barnhart with a plan to not only turn UK football around, but make the program an SEC contender. Back then, we all chuckled a little bit at that last part, but after he got the job, reeled in the 29th best recruiting class in the country in a few short weeks, and sent the 2014 class soaring to number one in the nation, we started to believe. UK’s fans, so seasoned at cheering on the basketball team, saw the football program rising out of the corners of their eyes, and with each “Yahtzee,” turned their heads more and more towards what was happening over at the Nutter Field House.
In only eight months, Stoops has completely changed the atmosphere surrounding Kentucky football. True, he hasn’t even coached a game yet, but he’s succeeding in the area that may matter more right now: recruiting. By going north into Ohio, Stoops and his sidekick Vince Marrow are planting stakes into territory that until now, was uncharted for SEC teams. That trailblazing attitude has caught on in recruiting, with commitments coming on board for the chance to build Kentucky into an SEC contender.
Stoops has also found a way to make Kentucky–one of the most uncool programs in the nation–cool. He and his staff have a Calipari-like sense for marketing and have created a surreal buzz around the program nationally. This season won’t be easy–Kentucky has the toughest schedule in the nation–but at least with Stoops on board, there’s a glimmer of hope that the Cats can pull off an upset or two.
Happy birthday, Coach. As a fan who’s sat through one too many quiet games at Commonwealth Stadium, thank you.
TV Williams breaks the Yahtzee drought
Stoops got a mighty nice present in TV Williams, a speedy wide receiver from Texas. Williams committed to Kentucky over Oregon State, Houston, Nebraska, and Iowa. He’s only a three-star prospect (#ShitWeDidntSayAYearAgo), but he’s underrated because of his size. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with speed. He runs a 4.4 40 and is perfectly suited for the slot position in Neal Brown’s offense, which he has admired for years. Williams’ commitment also broke a Yahtzee drought, which had caused Kentucky to slip all the way to number five in Rivals’ team rankings (also, #ShitWeDidntSayAYearAgo). The Cats are now back up at number three:
Williams reportedly made his decision before he left for The Opening last week, but wanted to wait until he got home to announce it. In an interview with Rivals’ Rob Cassidy, Williams said that the opportunity to build a program appealed to him:
“They have a saying in Lexington that goes ‘come be a hero,'” Williams said. “It just means come help turn Kentucky around, and I really want to be a part of something special like that. I want to build a program and be part of a class that comes in and steps up. I decided that right before I went to the Opening. I wanted to go to camp clear minded. It was a great decision.”
Williams also said this about playing in Neal Brown’s offense: “You won’t find a wide receiver anywhere that wouldn’t want to play in an air-raid offense. No wide receiver wants to run the ball. It’s really a dream situation for me.”
(Hear that Braxton Berrios? Hear that Blake Bone?)
Welcome to the fam, TV. You’re already getting great reception.
Drew Barker said that one of the Cats’ top five remaining targets in the 2014 class is 4-star offensive lineman Nick Richardson. After Williams’ announcement Tuesday night, Richardson tweeted that UK was in his final two, along with Vanderbilt. 4-star wide receiver Blake Bone also tweeted that he might move his announcement up to August. Did Williams spark Yahtzee fever?
Doron Lamb bruises his knee in summer league game
On Tuesday, Doron Lamb went down with a knee injury in the third quarter of the Magic’s game against the Heat. Afterwards, Magic officials called the injury a left knee contusion, aka serious bruise. He’s now listed as day-to-day. Thank goodness. I can only imagine what trouble Doron would get into if he had nothing to do but heal and tweet. (FYI, we can all see it when you tweet strippers.)
In other summer league news, DeAndre Liggins had 2 points and 2 rebounds in the Thunder’s win over the Pistons (Daniel Orton did not play). Terrence Jones also chipped in six points and five rebounds in the Rockets’ win over the Jazz.
Kyle Wiltjer scores 22 for Team Canada, still undecided
Kyle Wiltjer and the Canadians laid the smack down on the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, with Kyle leading the way with 22 points. Still no word on whether or not Kyle will return to Kentucky next season or transfer, although a source tells KSR to expect a decision early next week.
Rupp Arena Press Conference Set for Wednesday afternoon
Wednesday will be a big day around these parts. The mayor of Lexington and the Governor will hold a press conference with the Lexington Center board at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the future of Rupp Arena. Matt wrote a lengthy post on what this announcement could mean Monday night, but safe to say, if no UK representatives are there, the negotiations between UK and the city probably aren’t going so well. We’ll have full coverage of the press conference on the site Wednesday afternoon.
— Finally, a special shoutout to Jimmy Rose, a Pineville, Kentucky native and UK fan who made the cut on Tuesday’s episode of “America’s Got Talent.” Jimmy sang the song “Coal Keeps The Lights On,” which impressed the judges enough to keep him in the competition. Check it out below:
(Thanks to agt for the link!)
In the morning, Ryan Lemond and JARED LORENZEN will take over the radio show while Matt, Drew and Chris Tomlin make their way to Augusta for the Peach Jam. Think they’ll talk about football? Let’s find out in the morning. See you then.