Football Season Coverage
By Maggie Davis on ©April 28th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
Former Wildcat George Asafo-Adjei received the call from the New York Giants during the seventh round of the NFL. The 6-foot-5 offensive tackle was selected as the 232nd overall pick.
When Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman gave Asafo-Adjei a ring, he was more than happy to answer the call. In fact, when they asked him if he’s ready to be a New York Giant, his answer was simple and immediate: Hell Yeah.
7th round pick George Asafo-Adjei gets the call he’s been drafted by the #NYGiants.
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 28, 2019
Big George was the fifth Wildcat to get a call from an NFL team this season, and he’s ready to get to work. After the news broke, he posted on Instagram, saying “Excited to be back in New York & go to work! God has blessed me so much and it’s only right that I take advantage of my opportunity!”
He’ll be joined by fellow Wildcat CJ Conrad inside MetLife Stadium.
This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee. As a die-hard sports fan, this has always been a dream of mine to attend the draft. The atmosphere was incredible, and here are my major takeaways from my experience in Music City.
1. People Really, Really Don’t Like Roger Goodell
Look, I know this may be a universal truth at this point. However, you really don’t understand the hate for this man until you experience it firsthand. We hear him get booed loudly at every draft over the TV, but it was truly astonishing to witness him get booed by 200,000 thousand people during the first round on Thursday night.
Booing Roger Goodell on draft night is as American as Apple Piepic.twitter.com/Zacal4dNHE
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) April 26, 2019
Trust me when I say that video does absolutely no justice to just how loud the booing was. And it didn’t last just for the first few picks either. Oh no. Every. Single. Time Goodell appeared on the stage, a tidal wave of boos rained down from thousands of fans.
In fact, things only got worse as the night went on. Remember, the draft stage was literally on Broadway. There is at least 15 different bars within the length of two football fields from the podium where Goodell announced the picks. To put this clearly: The more that people drank, the more emotion they put into their boos.
I do not think it’s my place to decide if the man deserves that level of hatred. Personally, I do not like him just as much as the next guy, but I’m not totally sure that any normal person like him deserves to experience that. Either way, he is a grown man and he handled the night as well as he could have. Oh yea, Clemson’s Christian Wilkins basically tackling Goodell was one of the best moments of the first round. The commissioner’s reaction was great.
— The NFL Checkdown (@NFLCheckdown) April 28, 2019
2. Nashville Should Host the Draft Every Year
In the last four years, the draft has been in four different locations: Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Nashville. While I’m sure the first three cities did a great job of hosting (Philly in particular), there is simply no way they can even begin to compare to the atmosphere in Nashville.
— ESPN (@espn) April 26, 2019
Believe it or not, I’m somewhere down in that huge mass of humanity having the absolute time of my life with thousands of other fans. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. You had famous media personalities giving their expert analysis in literal bars, on-air announcers could not hear each other talk due to the constant music blaring everywhere you turned, and Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean were literally on rooftops waving at people.
You are not going to find that kind of atmosphere any other place in the country, I guarantee it. I fully realize that the NFL likes to move the draft around the country so multiple cities can experience an economic spike. However, why on Earth you move away from a market this profitable?? Having the NFL in the true South where football is king is just common sense.
Fans proved their love for the game and there is no doubt that even NFL officials were surprised with the turnout considering it poured rain for the first hour and a half of the first round.
Keep the draft in Nashville for the next few years. The town showed it was a great host and that it’s truly one of the fastest growing cities in the nation.
3. Pat McAfee Won the Draft
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 27, 2019
If you don’t know who Pat McAfee is, well, now you do. The former Colts punter is a famous social media personality due to his hysterical analysis of specific sports plays. He is so funny that he has even been able to announce a few games himself.
Of course, the NFL wisely selected him to announce one of Indianapolis’ draft picks, and as you saw above he did not disappoint. What you did not see however was the crowd’s reaction. This was pretty late into the third round so many fans were beginning to leave. Once they heard McAfee everyone literally stopped dead in their tracks and watched McAfee.
The man just oozes charisma. He has pitch-perfect comedic timing and his analysis is always excellent. People literally were standing in the middle of the street smiling as they watched him announce the pick. I know this probably is not realistic, but this is the guy who should be replacing Jason Witten (who was terrible) on Monday Night Football. People will love this man and ratings will go up. Its incredibly unlikely, but one can dream.
4. The “Bachelorette Situation” Was Hysterical to Witness
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) April 26, 2019
By now, I’m sure that you have seen these two women all over social media. In case you didn’t already know this, Nashville is the bachelorette party capital of this country. Trust me when I say this: Those two were not the only women incredibly ticked off in Nashville this weekend.
There were dozens of different bachelorette groups that I saw on Broadway during Thursday and Friday night’s portion of the draft. Of course, I did not spot a single person out of these people who was having a good time. They actually put a bit of damper on the atmosphere on Broadway
Do I feel bad for these women who wanted to have one of the best nights of their lives, and instead they had to put up with thousands of people in every bar? The answer is of course no. Be a better bridesmaid/maid of honor and actually do your research on what’s going on in the place you are having the party at. Common sense is rare these days, but I mean come on ladies. Be better.
You just really hate to see it.
5. Every NFL Fan Should Attend At Least One Draft
My biggest and most important takeaway from this experience is that if you are a big fan of a specific team, then you need to go to at least one NFL Draft in your lifetime. I am personally a fan of the Oakland Raiders (I know, life is rough right now) and I wore my Raiders t-shirt basically all weekend long.
What is so awesome about the draft is that every team has hundreds of fans there supporting their squad. Literally any time I passed a Raiders fan, they always gave me a fist-pump and yelled “Raider Nation!!!” Likewise, I had a friend with me who was a Cincinnati Bengals fan (haha) and every time we came across a fellow Bengals fan they always yelled “WHO DEY??”
Is there something kind of cult-like about all of this? Yes, but all jokes aside its awesome to see strangers who share a common interest treat each other excellently. For example, my group was right beside a bunch of Denver Broncos fans right before they traded the No. 10 pick. We had a 10-minute long conversation withe them about what John Elway should do with the pick and the direction of the franchise. It was refreshing to meet strangers who were not complete jerks.
It’s the little moments like that which will make my experience that much more memorable. One of the main purposes of sports is to bring people together and that’s exactly the opportunity the NFL Draft provides its fans every year. The league may have several problems, but the draft is not one of them. If you are a fan of the NFL, I only hope that you may one day have the same experience that I was fortunate enough to experience.
It’s just different in the South.
The NFL announced that over 600,000 people descended upon Nashville this weekend for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Nashville sets new #NFLDraft attendance record.
Over a half MILLION fans partied downtown over the last three days. pic.twitter.com/5mADemtcCE
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) April 27, 2019
The crowd number was first reported at 500,000, but it was later updated to 600,000. Nashville’s outing crushed the competition – the previous record was set by Philadelphia with 250,000 people in 2017.
Organizers for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp estimated a crowd of over 200,000 on Thursday and Friday during the first two rounds.
“We lived up to the hype,” Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said during a news conference.
You’re on the clock, Las Vegas.
Five Kentucky Wildcats heard their name called in the NFL Draft. As for the other draft-eligible prospects, just because they didn’t get picked, doesn’t mean they will not make a team.
Some of the best to ever play the game were undrafted free agents: James Harrison, Warren Moon, Antonio Gates, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo and Rod Smith just to name a few. Over the next 72 hours numerous players will ink deals to give them an NFL training camp opportunity. Here’s who has made moves so far:
- Chris Westry (CB) reportedly signs with the Dallas Cowboys.
- Dorian Baker (WR) tweets that he is signing with the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns it is ?, love this position y’all know how this bouta go. ?
— DB ? (@DBaker2_) April 27, 2019
- CJ Conrad (TE) has signed with the New York Giants
CJ Conrad has signed a deal with the NY Giants!!!!!
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 27, 2019
- Bunchy Stallings (OL) will be signing with the Jaguars, joining Josh Allen in Jacksonville
— Josh Edwards (@JEdwar247) April 28, 2019
- Derrick Baity (CB) will join Lonnie Johnson in Houston with the Texans
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) April 28, 2019
- **NEW: Darius West (safety) has signed a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Original reports had him joining the Giants, but the former Cat will actually be headed west for training camp (no pun intended).
This post will be updated as players agree to deals with NFL teams.
By Eli Mitchell on ©April 28th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Lonnie Johnson Jr. did not hear his name as high as some experts predicted on Thursday night but the former JUCO cornerback is not worried about that.
After being selected with the #54 overall pick by the Houston Texans, Johnson feels lucky to even make it out of his hometown, Gary, Indiana.
In his introductory conference call with the media, Johnson told reporters, “I worked hard, man. Everything it took to get here, everything I’ve been through. I’m just at a loss for words right now. Like I really just don’t even know what to say.”
Johnson did not take a traditional path to the NFL as he was forced to go the JUCO route due to academics. He excelled at Garden City in 2015 but still failed to qualify academically so he decided to sit out the 2016 season to focus on school.
The sacrifice paid off as he qualified academically, and reached a goal that seemed out of reach for so long.
“I almost gave it up at one point, junior college, because I kept getting knocked down every step I tried to take,” Johnson said. “Just stuck with it and ended up finally qualifying through school and got to Kentucky and doing the right thing.”
Houston met with Johnson several times over the past few months so it was no surprise that when they had back-to-back picks in the 2nd round his name was one of them.
Upon signing, Johnson will receive a $1.8 million bonus with a total value of $5.2 million on the 4 year contract.
With the departure of veteran corner Kareem Jackson in free agency, Johnson has a great chance to carve out a role as the Texans third cornerback, and as a solid special teams player.
Johnson is looking forward to playing with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, telling reporters “Man, they’re going to be my best friends, they’ll help me make plays and I’m going to help them. I’m going to give them the time they need to get back there.”
Congratulations, and good luck to Lonnie throughout your NFL journey. The BBN is behind you.
By Maggie Davis on ©April 28th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
After a weekend filled with Wildcats leaving the Bluegrass to fulfill their NFL dreams, could the Kentucky football team close out the weekend by bringing in some fresh talent? It’s looking like a strong possibility.
Four-star offensive tackle John Young hinted toward a Sunday night announcement, saying “Y’all stay tuned tonight.. big news coming” on his Twitter account. He spent the weekend on campus in Lexington and was originally scheduled to make his college decision Monday. An early announcement bodes well for the Wildcats.
The Louisville Christian Academy product announced his final six schools back in March: Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan and Georgia. He’s one of the best recruits left in the Commonwealth for the class of 2020, and – good news – he grew up as a Kentucky Wildcat fan. Mark Stoops and his staff first offered Young during his freshman year, which means he’s had plenty of opportunities to watch the culture change of UK football.
“I really love what they’ve done over the last year with their team,” Young told KSR. “Coach Stoops has really turned that program around. I love all the coaches up there, and I’ve visited there a lot.”
Y’all stay tuned tonight.. big news coming ?
— John Young (@the_johnyoung) April 28, 2019
Kentucky’s proven success at Young’s position, specifically with fellow in-state recruits, is another key factor in the Wildcats’ pitch toward the Louisville native.
“They’ve got a great track record with in-state offensive linemen with Landon Young and Drake Jackson…. With those in-state guys, they develop them, take care of them, and get them ready to start,” Young said. “I’d say that’s their main pitch to me – be part of that in-state offensive line tradition.”
Stay tuned right here at KSR, because it looks like Young’s decision will come sooner rather than later. Once that decision is made and announced, don’t expect Young to change his mind.
“My recruitment will be completely and 100% shut down after I make my decision,” Young said. “I will not be taking visits to other schools; I won’t talk to other schools. My recruitment will be shut down as soon as I make my decision.”
You can read the entirety of his interview with KSR’s Jack Pilgrim here.
By Eli Mitchell on ©April 28th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Following the completion of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys were quick to sign former Kentucky cornerback Chris Westry to a training camp deal.
Top undrafted free agents can receive up to 10 or 15 offers from teams and have to make a decision quickly with different teams offering differing amounts of guaranteed money.
For Westry, the choice became obvious quickly as the Cowboys offered a substantial amount of guaranteed money for an undrafted player.
With $100k guaranteed at signing, Westry is a likely candidate to make the Cowboys practice squad where he would be able to polish the unique physical characteristics that make him such an interesting prospect.
This is a perfect situation for a prospect with a lot of untapped potential, as he will be coached by Kris Richards who is regarded as one of the best defensive back coaches in the NFL. Richards is known for his role in the development of all-pro corner Richard Sherman.
“I think we ended up with some really good players that we still had on our board,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “As we were walking down the hallway, we were talking about how this could really be one of our better, if not the best, competitive camps that we have had in a long time.”
The Cowboys have a fair amount of depth defensively but even if Westry is unable to make the Cowboys 53-man roster, the preseason will provide an opportunity to showcase his unique skill-set to the rest of the league as well.
Congratulations, and good luck to Westry as he is set to begin his NFL Football Life.
By Eli Mitchell on ©April 28th, 2019 @ 11:00am
The wait to be selected may have been longer than Benny Snell Jr. expected, with a few too many running backs picked before him, but ultimately the draft worked out pretty well for the Kentucky Legend as he was picked by a team that absolutely loves him.
For a niche player like Benny, all he needed was one team to fall in love with the intangibles that he brings to a team, and the Steelers did just that.
“We just like those alpha males, those personality types, those energy bringers. Aside from his physical talent, we were equally as impressed about the intangibles, what they said about Benny in Lexington.” Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin told the NFL Network.
According to OverTheCap.com, since Benny was picked with the #122 overall selection in the fourth round he will receive a signing bonus of $702,060.
The overall value of the contract reaches $3.2 million over 4 years with a steady increase in pay each year. Not too shabby for a 3-star recruit.
James Connor is the Steelers established starter heading into the 2019 season, but Benny will have ample opportunity to make an impact in an offense that flourishes when the run game is productive.
It will certainly be a little different seeing Benny in the black & gold, but it’s hard to find a better spot for him in terms of scheme fit, early playing time possibilities, a contending team and a city that will love him.
GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS…STEELERS NATION BABY????
— Mr SNELL YA LATER?? (@benny_snell) April 27, 2019
Former Kentucky quarterback Gunnar Hoak is heading home.
The Dublin, OH native announced on Twitter this evening that he will be transferring to Ohio State to close out his college football career.
“I would like to formally announce that I am excited to accept an offer to continue my football and academic careers at THE Ohio State University,” Hoak said. “Ever since I was born at OSU hospital, some aspect of my life has always involved scarlet and gray. … And while I have gained so much experience during my time in Lexington, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to continue a family legacy.”
Co?ing ho?e!! ? pic.twitter.com/XsGbsskISL
— Gunnar Hoak (@GunnarHoak12) April 28, 2019
Hoak’s transfer leaves the Kentucky quarterback room looking rather worrisome. Outside of starting quarterback Terry Wilson, there are zero players at the position with game experience at the Division I level.
Walker Wood and true freshman Amani Gilmore will likely compete for the backup position while injured quarterback Nik Scalzo recovers from his torn ACL.
As expected, the 2019 NFL Draft was an historic event for the Kentucky football program.
For the first time in school history, a Wildcat was selected in each of the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. Josh Allen got the ball rolling Thursday night, followed by Lonnie Johnson in the second round, Mike Edwards in the third and Benny Snell in the fourth round.
Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma were the only other schools with players picked in each of the first four rounds.
It took a little longer for the next Wildcat to be drafted. Offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei was selected by the New York Giants in the seventh round with the No. 232 pick. Asafo-Adjei’s selection gives the Cats five NFL Draft picks, the most in one draft since it was reduced to seven rounds in 1994.
The five Wildcats will not be the only ones on NFL training camps this fall. C.J. Conrad, Darius West and Derrick Baity are just a few of the players who will sign as free agents to make their NFL dreams come true.
By Nick Roush on ©April 27th, 2019 @ 5:43pm
With the 232nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Kentucky offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei. The Giants’ seventh round pick is much safer than their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“Big George” was a four-year starter on Kentucky’s offensive line at right tackle. The Lakota West High School product was one of the strongest players on the team as soon as he stepped on campus. In his final season he was named Team Captain and SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice. He is UK’s fifth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Asafo-Adjei earned this spot at UK Pro Day. The offensive tackle had 34 bench press reps, a mark that would have tied for second among all offensive linemen at the NFL Combine. His 30? vertical leap would have placed him in the top ten at the combine. He also broke the five-second mark in the 40-yard dash, something only four offensive linemen did at the combine.
Big George should fit in well in the Big Apple.
By Nick Roush on ©April 27th, 2019 @ 1:10pm
Steelers fans, can I get a Snell Yeah?
Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round with the No. 122 overall pick. In Pittsburgh Snell will team up with another former Wildcat, edge rusher Bud Dupree.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 27, 2019
Jonny David will be happy to see Snell in black and yellow.
— Jonny David (@JonnyDavid) April 27, 2019
Snell rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons at UK, finishing his career with 3,873 yards and 48 touchdowns. He enters the Steelers organization only behind James Conner on the depth chart.
Snell keeps Kentucky’s streak alive. A Wildcat has been drafted in each of the first four rounds of the NFL Draft.
By Nick Roush on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 11:23pm
With the 99th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Kentucky defensive back Mike Edwards. A third round selection, a UK player has been picked in each round of the NFL Draft
The Kentucky Badger was a three-year starter in Lexington. A versatile playmaker that lined up at safety and slot corner, Edwards opted to return for a senior season after he was a projected mid-round draft pick in 2018.
In his final year in Lexington, Edwards become just the second Kentucky defensive back to join the 300-Tackle Club. He finished his career with 318 tackles (19th in school history), 21 for loss, 23 pass break-ups and 10 interceptions. Edwards was a three-time All-SEC selection.
A significant portion of Edwards’ paycheck will be set aside for Skyline. The only thing the Badger loves more than hitting wide receivers is that sweet Cincinnati chili.
By Maggie Davis on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 11:02pm
Another Alabama player is heading to New England – this time, it’s Kentucky native Damien Harris. The running back was selected by the Patriots during the third round as the 87th pick.
The Richmond native launched his football career at Madison Southern High School. Although he was heavily recruited by Kentucky, he couldn’t say no to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
Once he arrived in Tuscaloosa, Harris became a major contributor – he averaged 6.4 yards per carry, good for a program record among running backs with at least 400 carries. He was also one of just eight players in program history to record 3,000 career yards during his four years on the team.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) April 27, 2019
Come next season, Damien Harris will be suiting up for the reigning Super Bowl champions.
By Maggie Davis on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 9:43pm
Former Wildcat Lonnie Johnson is officially a Texan. After years of hard work, including a tough childhood and a few years in junior college, his dream of playing in the National Football League is finally coming true. Johnson was the eighth cornerback selected; he was the seventh selected in the second round.
He’ll remember this night – this moment – for the rest of his life. Here’s Johnson placing the Texans’ hat on for the first time, surrounded by his friends and family at his watch party in his hometown of Gary, Indiana.
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) April 27, 2019
That’s the face of a man who’s ready to get to work.
Some of Johnson’s former teammates weighed in on his selection:
That’s 1 down 6 to go https://t.co/jymHj2FQdV
— Joshua Allen (@JoshAllen41_) April 27, 2019
— Terry Wilson (@TerryTouchdown3) April 27, 2019
After his name was called, Johnson did a quick interview with SportsRadio 610 in Houston.
“We kept counting down the picks and then when I saw that they had back to back [picks] I was like, ‘It’s gotta be them, it’s gotta be them. I don’t think they’re gonna pass on me,’” Johnson said. “And once they picked me – once my phone was ringing – I just broke down.”
Congrats, Lonnie Johnson!