This has been a full day of news around UK land, so a couple of thoughts:
— The commitments of Marcus McWilson and Alex Montgomery show that Mark Stoops is a recruiter like no other. I have always assumed, and said, that it was impossible to recruit out of state at a high level of Kentucky. My reasons for that were complicated, but they basically boiled down to a belief that I wasn’t sure what UK could sell that could get them in with the highly talented out of staters. Mark Stoops is showing me I was wrong. Not only is he getting involved with top players, he is closing the deal at a pretty phenomenal rate. Today’s pickup of Alex Montgomery came after the WR had offers from Louisville, Ole Miss and West Virginia, and helped the staff bring a Wide Receiver who can contribute right away into the fold. A number of Florida writers say he is vastly underrated and one said he may be Mark Stoops’ biggest pickup of the class. I only hold off on that accolade because of McWilson, who becomes only the second Top 250 Player signed by Kentucky since 2008. The 4 star Safety picked going to Kentucky over Nebraska, the thought of which would have been unfathomable even a couple of years ago. He has a good chance of starting right away and his talent was described to me by one person as “eye-opening.” In just a few weeks, Mark Stoops has changed what I defined as possible with UK football. And with what I expect still to come in the next 10 days, the possibilities will only increase.
— When an opposing player is generally unlikeable, I go one of two ways on them. I either take up for them because they have some personality trait that I find funny (like for instance Ron Slay) or I end up despising them as much as everyone else (like for instance Joakim Noah). As of now, I actually am leaning towards slightly liking Marshall Henderson. I know he is a lunatic and chances are, if I actually knew the guy, I would find him to be the absolute worst. But as of now, I don’t know him and his antics entertain me. Look, I know people who take pictures like this are generally goobers:
But in a world where everyone tends to act the same and most people are way too cool for school, why not have a complete crazy man who gets you excited about the sport? With that said, I hope we pound him tomorrow and give him nothing to pop his jersey about when the buzzer sounds.
— Florida is the best team in the country. Anyone who tells you anything else is simply a homer for their team. As of now, they are ahead of everyone else, regardless of where they are ranked.
— I do like that John Calipari wants UK to use Marshall Henderson to get themselves motivated. Calipari notes that with all the talking Henderson does, he hopes Kentucky talks back and lets that confidence come to their side of the floor. I totally agree with that sentiment. In two of the three games in which UK has played (the other being Auburn), Kentucky has gone into play a good team that people though they couldn’t defeat and has given Duke and Louisville all they could handle. The same thing can be true here as a lightning rod tries to take over the game and make it about him. If that doesn’t motivate this Kentucky group, maybe nothing will. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the first time Marshall Henderson yells at Archie Goodwin, we may see a spark in Archie that we have missed for the last few weeks.
Before I go, I will leave you with a picture from Sports Illustrated in 1978. Here is what UK’s cheerleaders looked like the year of my birth. I love the mustache: