Football Season Coverage
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!
By Maggie Davis on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
Josh Allen is officially a player in the NFL, and he gave the press conference to prove it. The former Cat and his family made their way to the Sunshine State Friday, and the latest member of the Jaguars met with local reporters for the first time. He was joined by Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager Dave Caldwell, who were very welcoming toward their first-round pick.
“This is an excellent young man that we have high expectations for, but we know he has higher expectations than we do,” Caldwell said of Allen. “He has a very high ceiling for us.”
Allen went to Jacksonville as the No. 7 selection, which was a bit lower than many experts expected. But one man’s loss is another’s gain, and the front office for the Jaguars was ecstatic.
“This was the one guy – that if he fell to us – we said we’re going to take him regardless of any other offers that we have,” Caldwell said of Allen. “Fortunately for us, he fell to us.”
As for Allen, he’s ready to find his roll on the team’s defense, which is something he’s looking forward to with this team specifically.
“The defense here is crazy: they have swag, they have experience, they have young talent. I’m about to be a part of that and make my peers better.”
While he said his mom is just happy he’s going somewhere warm, he’s happy to be playing for a team with an established defense.
“I’d rather go to a team that needs me, rather than a team that just thinks I’m the best player,” Allen said. “I feel like I can contribute a lot [for the Jags] and I feel like they can use my talents. They know what I do best and they want to utilize that.”
The media also had a few questions about his time in Lexington – namely, how he was able to develop himself from a 2-star recruit into one of the top picks in the NFL Draft.
“Being a 2-star is not fun unless a team takes a chance on you,” Allen said. “I was willing to put the work in – I knew I was better than that. I went to work everyday trying to compete with the best and be the best.”
In the end, his ranking only motivated him to push himself harder.
“Being a 2-star kept a chip on my shoulder, and I still have a lot of chips that I’m going to play with this year and for the rest of my career.”
Could falling to the No. 7 pick add another chip to Allen’s shoulder? Only time will tell, but I’d never bet against Josh Allen.
You can watch the entire interview HERE.
By Nick Roush on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 8:50pm
With the 54th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected Kentucky cornerback Lonnie Johnson. He becomes the first former Wildcat to be selected by the Texans.
The second Wildcat to hear his name called in the NFL Draft, Johnson turned two years of SEC football into an NFL paycheck. The junior college transfer only played one year of cornerback prior to his time at Kentucky. Boasting exceptional size and elite combine numbers, Johnson’s incredible upside launched him up draft boards.
The physical corner from Gary, Indiana recorded 62 tackles, 3 for loss, 9 pass break-ups, a sack and a crucial Citrus Bowl interception in two years at Kentucky.
What will Lonnie do now that he’s made it? “I’m buying my mom a house.”
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 27, 2019
By Maggie Davis on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Why Kentucky? Why not?
If you’re looking for a more specific reason, a few former Wildcats have you covered. The Kentucky football Twitter account posted this video, where Josh Allen, Benny Snell, Lonnie Johnson, CJ Conrad, George Asafo-Adjei and Derrick Baity reflect on the decisions and factors that led them to the University of Kentucky.
New Jaguar Josh Allen got things started, and he had nothing but praise for Kentucky’s coaching staff and their focus on player development (@Booger).
“Development is a huge thing,” Allen said. “And I think no team does it better than Kentucky right now.”
Conrad, who was part of one of the most special classes in UK football history, reminisced on his desire to help shift the culture and reputation of a Kentucky football team that had failed to qualify for a bowl game for several years.
“I wanted to change a program; I wanted to change the culture at Kentucky,” Conrad said. “We wanted to make Kentucky a nationally-known program.”
Check out the rest of the former Cats’ responses here:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 26, 2019
Play this on a loop in the Joe Craft Center during this weekend’s recruiting visits.
Day 2 of the NFL Draft will get underway in a couple of hours and two former Wildcats will be paying very close attention to their phones tonight.
Lonnie Johnson is the most likely to hear his name called next in Nashville. NFL.com’s new mock draft for tonight’s rounds projects Johnson as the fifth pick Friday night, at No. 37 to the Seattle Seahawks. “Long, physical press corner just feels right with this team,” says writer Lance Zierlein.
Mike Edwards is the other former UK player who could get picked up Friday. Zierlein has him as the second-to-last name called tonight, at No. 101 overall to the New England Patriots.
Over at CBSSports.com, RJ White’s updated mock draft has Seattle taking Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson over Lonnie Johnson, with Johnson dropping two places to the Buccaneers at No. 39. White has Mike Edwards waiting until tomorrow to get picked.
USA Today’s new mock draft has Johnson falling all the way to No. 76 to the Washington Redskins in the third round.
By Nick Roush on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 1:00pm
Not long after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Mark Stoops met with the local media to talk about Josh’s big night.
Gracious for the enormous event put on by the NFL in the Music City, Stoops was a proud poppa. Now it’s time for the rest of his Wildcats to hear their name called.
“I’m proud to be here with him. I’m proud of Josh,” Stoops said. “Now I’m really concerned about the rest of our guys and where they go, making sure they get the right opportunity because they are a special group.”
By Nick Roush on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
He’s only been married a week, but Josh Allen is already a seasoned marriage veteran.
At Thursday’s NFL Draft we learned Allen finally tied the knot with his fiancee, Kaitlyn Morrison. Getting married is one of the biggest moments in a person’s life. Few things rival that emotional, life-changing event, but the NFL Draft fits the bill. Allen explained why they tied the two monumental events together.
“It was just the best timing. We’re probably not going to have another single day (free) till next yeas so I just felt like it was perfect timing,” he said.
Even though most might prefer to celebrate with an excursion to Hawaii or the Caribbean, Kaitlyn was happy to use the NFL Draft as their honeymoon. In return, Allen made the NFL Draft a family affair. His suit was lined with his son’s birthday. Wesley was a little shy on the red carpet, but Josh wasn’t going to let him miss his opportunity on the big stage.
The inside of Allen’s suit was an homage to his son. As for the pattern on the outside of the suit, the one that looks awfully similar to Jaguar print, he had nothing to do with it.
“Actually, my wife picked it out. You gotta ask her that question,” he said.
Smart move. When in doubt, always let the wife make sure you’re dressed properly.
It wasn’t even Allen’s most savvy move as a new husband. While Kaitlyn carried Wesley around in four-inch heels, Josh got his old coach to lighten the load while he tended to media obligations.
“They’re running around doing all of this press right now. I babysat,” said Stoops. “I was holding Wesley for a while, but he’s a tank. I mean, he gets heavy after a while so I give Kaitlyn a lot of credit….Several of these college coaches are trying to offer him but we already said he’s committed to Kentucky.”
Committing your son to a college that early could be a misstep, but Allen made up for it all when he was asked which event made him more nervous: his wedding or the NFL Draft.
“Probably — I don’t know. Probably that day cause that’s a commitment right there you gotta stick with for the rest of your life. Football is not every day. That marriage, that’s for the rest of your life right there. That’s a commitment I can’t go back on.”
As you’ll see below, Josh’s mind almost spit out, “probably the draft,” but his mouth stopped him before he could make a crucial marital mistake.
One day I hope I can husband as well as Josh Allen.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 26th, 2019 @ 11:30am
Last night, ESPN’s Booger McFarland drew the ire of the Big Blue Nation when he said Josh Allen would benefit from better coaching in the NFL, which many perceived as a shot at Mark Stoops and the Kentucky coaching staff.
“He definitely can be elite and I look forward to him getting better coaching,” Booger said on ESPN’s broadcast. “Right now he is winning off of pure athletic ability.”
This morning, Booger came on KSR to clarify those comments, which he insists weren’t a slight at Stoops or Kentucky’s staff, but rather a message to all players coming into the NFL.
“I’ll say it again: I look forward to when he gets to the next level and gets professional coaching at that position because he’s not a finished product. Everyone loves to jump to conclusions when you say one thing when you conversely mean another, but that’s not the case. I love Coach Stoops. I love what they’re do at Kentucky with player development, etc. but he’s not a finished product. He’s not ready to go and dominate the National Football League right now.”
“It wasn’t a slight against Kentucky coaching,” Booger added. “It’s what every prospect needs in this draft. Kyler Murray, all these guys have to get better, man.”
When Matt argued that the comments felt targeted towards Kentucky, a program that isn’t in the NFL Draft spotlight that often, Booger said he was simply breaking down Josh’s game as someone who used to play his position.
“Because as a former guy that rushed the passer, I can see exactly that because I know the descriptive details on how to rush the passer. If you watch him when he turns the corner, sometimes he takes an extra step. Well, guess what, we don’t have five minutes to break down techniques of an edge rusher, so what I mean by expert coaching is this: when you turn the corner, you’ve got about two, two and a half seconds in the National Football League to get to the quarterback because the best guys, the Brady, Brees, Roethlisbergers, that ball is coming out. So, as a pass rusher, you have to take the least amount of steps possible to get to the quarterback. Josh will refine his pass rush when he gets to the National Football League, meaning, just for conversation’s sake, let’s say he takes seven steps now to get to the quarterback. Well, I think he can do it in five and a half or six. That’s what I mean.”
Ryan Lemond had to put his two cents, standing up for Stoops and his staff for developing Josh from a two-star prospect into a top ten draft pick; Booger said he gets it.
“Often times in life when you say one thing, everyone assumes you’re automatically also saying the other thing has to be true on the opposite spectrum and that’s totally not the case. I think both things can be true. He can have had great coaching, he developed as a two-star prospect, but does that mean we’re satisfied, we’re finished? No. I look at is as, we’re drafting him not for what he’s done, we’re drafting him in the National Football League for what is he going to project.”
Good morning, friends. It’s a new day in the Bluegrass and Josh Allen is officially a Jacksonville Jaguar. Kentucky’s star pass rusher was drafted No. 7 by the Jags last night, and although that’s not as high as some had hoped, it’s pretty freaking good for a kid who was a two-star prospect coming out of high school.
In case you missed it, here’s the moment Josh heard his named called:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 26, 2019
And the moment he got the call from the Jags:
"#Sacksonville ain't it? I got you."
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) April 26, 2019
In terms of his initial contract with the Jaguars, the NFL rookie scale indicates the former Wildcat’s contract will be worth roughly $22 million over five years (fifth-year team option) to go with a signing bonus of $14 million.
It was a huge night for Josh, but I think we can all agree that his one-year-old son Wesley was the real star.
Today, the NFL Draft continues with the second and third rounds, where we could see both Lonnie Johnson and Mike Edwards hear their names called.
Some draft analysts felt Johnson could slide in at the end of the first round last night, but only three defensive backs (just one corner) ended up being taken on day one. Now, other individuals with first round grades including the likes of Bryron Murphy, Greedy Williams, and Julian Love will likely hear their names called first this evening, with Johnson possibly coming off the board at the end of the second round or into the beginning of the third.
As for Edwards, he graded out anywhere from the second to fourth round, meaning we could hear his name called at any point this evening or early tomorrow.
Nonetheless, Kentucky’s representation in the NFL Draft is just getting started.
Nike EYBL begins
While Kentucky football is making the biggest headlines right now, Kentucky basketball recruiting is also kicking into high gear. We saw five-star forward Johnny Juzang’s reclassification decision this past week, and now, we’ll get updates from all of the top prospects in the class of 2020 and beyond.
The Nike EYBL circuit begins today, with session one of the event taking place in Atlanta, Georgia starting late this afternoon and lasting through Sunday morning.
Some of those individuals on the circuit? Five-star prospects RJ Hampton, BJ Boston, Sharife Cooper, and Jalen Johnson, among countless others.
I’m driving down to Atlanta this morning to catch up with all of the Kentucky targets to discuss their interest in the Cats and watch them in action.
Be on the lookout for coverage on that throughout the weekend.
Kahlil Whitney’s documentary has officially dropped
Over the last several months, Kentucky commitment Kahlil Whitney has been working with Adam Zagoria on a documentary called Year of the Dragon, highlighting his college decision, his growth as a player, and what fans can expect from him in Lexington this fall.
Now, that documentary has finally released to the public.
Take a look:
Whitney tells KSR that he will sign his National Letter of Intent on May 3.
Maci Morris and Jonny David had their KSBar signings
After joining the KSR radio show yesterday morning, former Kentucky women’s basketball star Maci Morris teamed up with former men’s basketball walk-on Jonny David to sign autographs for fans at KSBar and Grille.
In fact, one fan had the Wildcat duo actually sign autographs on his leg…
— Pro Player Solutions (@PPSsportsMGMT) April 25, 2019
After the event, Morris and David both signed the Rupp Arena floor hanging at KSBar, joining the likes of Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro, and Reid Travis, among others.
Added two more tonight! pic.twitter.com/gWROOscCvC
— KSBar and Grille (@KSBarAndGrille) April 26, 2019
Last night, the very first public showings of the famous Marvel saga finale, Avengers: Endgame, released, and it’s only going to get rowdier from here. Endgame is expected to set an opening-weekend box office record, as it has already made $200 million in China in one night alone.
I was there at 10:25 p.m. to watch all three hours and one minute of it, and it was just as good as it was hyped up to be. In fact, there was so much happening that it really didn’t even feel like a three-hour movie.
If you go to see it at some point this weekend, be prepared for ridiculous crowds, long lines, bad traffic, and one heck of a fun time.
And remember, no spoilers.
KSR in an hour
Listen to Matt, Ryan, and the entire KSR crew break down the NFL Draft results, along with all of the other wacky happenings around the state of Kentucky.
We’ll see you then.
Moments after Josh Allen’s name was called on draft night, before he even shook Roger Goodell’s hand on the draft stage, ESPN’s Booger McFarland threw the UK coaching staff under the bus.
As McFarland was giving his two cents on Allen as the seventh overall pick, he said, “He definitely can be elite and I look forward to him getting better coaching. Right now he is winning off of pure athletic ability.”
The hell, Booger?
McFarland has been very supportive of Mark Stoops in the past, so it was an odd comment to make during an enormous moment for the Kentucky football program.