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Stoops Searches For New Troops Under The Lights

Saturday Night Showcase


The Summer Recruiting season symbolically began last night under the lights at Commonwealth Stadium. Like most things that Mark Stoops does, the Saturday Night Showcase was a spectacle that had not been seen at UK before with over 300 campers and around 700 fans in the stands. Normally a dead time on campus, campers covered the grounds all around the football facilities throughout the night. I strolled throughout campus with our fearless leader Matt Jones and the Legend Oscar Combs, observing everything I could in the electric atmosphere.


Knowing exactly who some of these kids are can be extremely difficult, often relying on their highlighter-esque socks to pinpoint a player before having to ask someone who has ‘been there, done that’. The night began a little hectic when 100 kids came as walk-ups just before the event was planned to start. Similar to AAU basketball events, entourages from many different high schools stuck together, usually wearing matching attire. One of the largest entities at the event was a group of about a dozen campers from Westerville, OH, the same high school as TE commit Darryl Long (who is on the way to UK now). Hosting a contingent from Tates Creek is COMPLETELY different than having an Ohio powerhouse show up in full force.


The night began on the Tim Couch Practice Fields with a variety of combine testing, including the 40 yard dash and the vertical jump. After getting raw test scores, the campers made the walk to CWS to perform more drills. A 50 minute individual drill session ensued; the basic bag and ladder drills were performed before working with position coaches on specific techniques for their respective position. For some players like Bowling Green WR Nacarius Fant, it was the opportunity to prove to the coaches that he can perform at the Elite SEC level. Fant will be talking with the staff later this week and is expecting to receive his scholarship offer, which should be enough for the Top-10 Kentucky prospect to commit to UK. Fant wasn’t the only local talent to receive first-class treatment from the staff, with Madison Southern’s dynamic Damien Harris (who I will be profiling tomorrow) performing for the staff and the crowd.

Madison Southern's Damien Harris (far left) posted this picture from CWS on Instagram last night. Harris is the #10 RB in the Class of 2015, with UK seen as a longshot despite being just down the road from Berea.

Madison Southern’s Damien Harris (far left) posted this picture from CWS on Instagram last night. Harris is the #10 RB in the Class of 2015, with UK seen as a longshot despite being just down the road from Berea.


Not all of UK’s high-profile talent competed in drills last night. Members of the Class of 2014 like Thaddeus Snodgrass and Mikel Horton already have their ticket punched, roaming the sidelines to support their future teammates. The Class of 2013 arrived on campus earlier this week, wasting no time joining in on supporting the Cats’ recruits. The presence of Jeff Badet, Ryan Timmons, and Jojo Kemp could only be surpassed by Za’darius Smith’s shadow. The football program is taking a page from Cal’s ‘La Familia’ book, creating a family atmosphere inside the walls of CWS.


I thought it may take some time before we could measure the success of the camp, but after Denzel Ware re-committed this morning there is no doubt the night was a HUGE success. Sources tell KSR that it is only the first commitment as a result of the camp, with one or two more big-name recruits to follow Ware’s lead in the days to come. As always, stay tuned to KSR for breaking recruiting news.


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Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 Comments for Stoops Searches For New Troops Under The Lights

  1. UKFootball2013
    2:19 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Good times! Go Big Blue.

  2. Santa
    2:27 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    All of this just in time for Half-Christmas!! So hyped for football season.

  3. Rance
    2:43 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    I was at the camp last night, Great turnout. The last group that they kept after everyone left was loaded.I saw 3 QB’s that were throwing. I heard one was a freshman, that kid had a cannon. Is that the kid that is going to loservilles brother ?

  4. Nick Roush
    2:46 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    3. I believe you’re correct in guessing that is Kyl Bolen from Lafeyette. He actually came up and talked to Matt, Oscar and I- a very good kid.

  5. mcann
    2:48 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone tell me where the “la familia” thing comes from? Just curious as to how it came about.

  6. Justin
    3:07 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Wonder who the one or two more big-name recruits to follow Ware’s lead in the days to come would be?

  7. Sec
    3:08 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Looks like UK is ranked 5th in the SEC

  8. Rance
    3:10 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    4)I wasnt sure. I heard a couple guys in the stands saying he was a freshman and had a brother that played at Louisville.That would be something if he came to UK. Of the 3 Qb’s in the group that was out there after the lights came back on he looked as good as any.Is he at Lafayette or Lexington Catholic? Thanks for the info.

  9. Dumbass
    3:39 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    It’s actually clay Bolin from Lafayette class of 2016 and his brother is Kyle Bolin of lexington catholic who’s going to louisville

  10. Chris
    4:22 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Any way we can see a list of who attended? It would be interesting to see who all was there. Either way, another brilliant move from Stoops to bring the recruits out and show them the practice and family environment. Go Cats!

  11. JP
    4:28 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    -5 “la famlia” simply means the family and has been classicaly used in the movies as a mafia term. just means these guys are thicker than theives for how they feel about each other. It’s a good thing.

  12. nick roush sucks
    5:04 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t be dissing Tates Creek now you little frat boy.

  13. Crazy
    5:16 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Tates creek and the rest of the city of lexington suck with the exception of catholic and maybe Lafayette who catholic beat by nearly 50 last year. There are only a handful of kentucky teams that could even compete with many of the powerhouse schools from other states

  14. UK2K
    6:55 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Damien Harris is indeed a longshot, grew up as a Michigan fan and they are all but a lock. I wont put anything past Stoops and staff, but they have their work cut out for them. Hes the #1 player for 2015 in KY and will be a high 4star.

  15. Just sayin
    7:01 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Everybody expects to receive a scholarship offer. Talking with the coaching staff means nothing if you are the one that calls.

  16. Ukgrad83
    8:27 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    As someone who’s pretty much suffered through 30 years of mediocrity and worse I am so thankful we finally might have an entire football coaching staff in place. I know it’s early and it will take time but there is a sense of excitement around this program around the coaches and around the recruits that I have never seen before. Say what you will about Mitch Barnhart but at least now I think we actually have a chance.