For many, being a sports fan goes far beyond just the game or the team or the particular sport you choose to follow. In a lot of ways, being a sports fan serves as an escape from the monotony of regular life and our fanhood allows us to connect on a deeper level than our spouses would care to admit. We remember where we were for our team’s biggest moments (no matter good or bad), we have drawers full of gear containing varying amount of “luck” and the great sports venues are treated as magical places many hope to visit just once before they die.
Places like Murray State.
As you might have heard, the KSR/KSTV crew of Matt Jones, myself and our buddy Bradley McKee will be packing up and heading in whatever direction will lead us to Murray this afternoon. Our goals are simple: avoid driving off the bridge that collapsed, break Matt’s Jason Mraz tape before we hit the highway and experience Murray State University (and the Rrrrrracers!) in the most ridiculous manner possible. If we happen to stumble across three Emmy’s worth of footage, so be it. So, Murray State friends and family, let’s make this an evening worth remembering. Or, at least decent enough to justify the money we’re spending on gas. No pressure.
A few UK notes…
– The calendar said February 1st, which meant it was “The Day After The Tennessee Basketball Game” to some Kentucky fans, but it was National Signing Day to the rest of the world and Joker Phillips and Tee Martin put together a 2012 class that was pretty solid from top to bottom. The star, of course, was Highlands quarterback Patrick Towles, but the overall group appears to be about as good as Kentucky could have hoped for. The Cats are either 31st or 52nd in the country, depending on which service you choose to trust, but as many doom and gloomers are quick to point out, they’re still near the bottom of the SEC. But that’s the reality of life in the SEC. Kentucky is not in a position to contend with the Alabamas and Floridas on the recruiting trail, but they’ve done a good job the last few years of picking up solid prospects and developing them into contributors. This class appears to be full of guys who have potential to develop nicely and the strategy of taking so many commitments early allowed them to go after bigger fish late and add Khalid Henderson, Justin Taylor and Jalen Whitlow in the final days.
– My son is crying. Hold on for a few minutes.
– Ok, I’m back. We talked with Tee Martin Wednesday for KSTV and he was, as expected, quite excited about Kentucky’s incoming class. Matt asked Martin about specific players he believes can make an impact next season as freshmen and he mentioned a number of guys. Martin said wide receivers AJ Legree and DeMarcus Sweat have the ability to find the field as freshman and Jalen Whitlow, while still slotted for an undetermined position, is someone they’re going to look at to play in the Wildcat formation. Martin also mentioned linebacker Khalid Henderson, offensive lineman Jordan Watson and defensive tackle Thomas Chapman. Did I mention he was excited?
– Kid is crying again and mom didn’t even cook tonight. Hang tight for another minute or two…
– Over the past few years, part of Kentucky’s recruiting press has involved locking down the city of Louisville or at least giving the Cards all they can handle in pulling the best players out of Jefferson County. But there might be a new enemy in Louisville for the Cats as Willie Taggart’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers made a big splash. WKU pulled in defensive tackle Tyrone Pearson and running back Ace Wales, who declared that Western was the school du jour for kids in the city of Louisville. They’ll join former Seneca quarterback DaMarcus Smith in the class and could signal the start of a new contender for Jefferson County’s best football prospects.
– However, it almost seems fitting that on National Signing Day, the biggest piece of recruiting news in the state of Kentucky had to do with basketball. Nerlens Noel, regarded by some as the best defensive player of the last 15 years, finally did something that was rumored a few months ago and reclassified to the 2012 class. ESPN has already moved him ahead of Shabazz Muhammad as the nation’s top player in that class and he’s expecte to choose between UK and Syracuse. If Noel picks the Cats, along with Muhammad and Anthony Bennett – something that remains a very likely possibility – the class that appeared at one time to be good, but down in comparison to 2011 and potentially 2013, could end up historically good again. In ESPN’s rankings, UK would have the #1, 2, 7, 15, 16 and 40 players. Not bad for a down year.
– You have to be kidding me. Crying again? I bet Drew Franklin doesn’t have to deal with this nonsense…
– In other news, Terrence Jones is a better player today than he was yesterday and that should give 341 head coaches nightmares tonight.
– Richie Farmer filed for unemployment benefits, meaning it’s only a matter of time until he’s writing on KSR and sporting the staff’s second-best facial hair.
– Kentucky plays South Carolina Saturday. South Carolina fans will still be talking about National Signing Day.
– Make sure you check out KSRCollege.com for the latest on Langston Newton’s turtleneck situation and the Today Show’s feature on former KSR writer Alex Kline.
See you in Murray.