Football Season Coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 23rd, 2019 @ 10:47am
How excited are Kentucky Football fans after last year’s historic ten-win season? This morning, UK announced that 90% of season ticket holders have renewed their season tickets for 2019, up 79% from this time last year. With nearly 3,000 new season tickets sold, overall sales have reached 98% of last year’s total. I’ll remind you that we’re still over four months away from the season opener.
Want to join the movement? Season tickets are still available at UKFootballTix.com starting at $280/each. The Kentucky Football Pocket Pass is also back, which allows you to get into all eight home games for $250, or $31.25 per game. Additionally, a limited number of season parking passes are available to season ticket holders. For more information, click here.
Next year’s home schedule looks mighty fine:
- August 31: Toledo
- September 7: Eastern Michigan
- September 14: Florida
- October 12: Arkansas
- October 26: Missouri
- November 9: Tennessee
- November 23: UT Martin
- November 30: Louisville
Tickets to Kentucky’s away games (Mississippi State, South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt) are also available at UKFootballTix.com.
Only 130 days until kickoff.
Gunnar Hoak will look into other options for the final two years of his college football career, announcing on Tuesday that he will enter the NCAA’s transfer portal.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal,” he tweeted. “With graduation coming up next week, I knew I had an important decision to make for my future including my football and academic careers.
“I would like to thank Coach Stoops and the UK staff for understanding that I need to see if there any other options for me at this time in my career.”
Prior to UK’s spring game earlier this month, Mark Stoops said, “Of course I want Gunnar here but I’ll be very supportive of him in whatever he decides to do.”
As a graduate transfer, Hoak will have two years of immediate eligibility.
By Nick Roush on ©April 22nd, 2019 @ 10:45pm
Is this the biggest week in the history of the Kentucky football program? Not exactly. In the last calendar year UK won on a walk-off to play for a chance to win the SEC East. That week definitely beats this one, but for a sunny four days in April, it doesn’t get much bigger for football in the Bluegrass.
Thursday night in Nashville the Kentucky football program will receive the bright spotlight in the NFL Draft when Josh Allen becomes a top five pick. Mark Stoops is one of a dozen of college coaches that will be on Broadway in Nashville. With the eyes of the football world watching, the event will be surrounded by a massive pitch to prospective recruits.
Once Stoops shakes hands and completes a few interviews, he’s returning to Lexington Friday for an incredibly important recruiting weekend. As his former players are picked, future stars will gather on campus for official visits.
Marquee Official Visitors
After receiving a few de-commitments from offensive linemen who jump on board early, Stoops and Vince Marrow can create a strong foundation in the 2020 class this weekend when three athletes officially visit: quarterback Beau Allen, offensive tackle John Young and cornerback Andru Phillips.
Young could be the cornerstone of the class. A charismatic four-star talent from Louisville, Kentucky’s best days under Mark Stoops have featured in-state stars manning the offensive line. Young could be the next to contribute to that legacy.
Even though Phillips has spent the last four or five years of his life in South Carolina, he grew up not far from where Young resides in Louisville. The son of a former UK linebacker would be an excellent addition to Brad White’s defense.
Last, but certainly not least, is the the quarterback. Throughout his tenure at Kentucky, Stoops has received commitments from high profile quarterbacks, but has never been able to hold on until signing day. Stoops needs Allen to end that streak. The four-star pocket passer is considering a future in the high-flying offenses of Mike Leach and Neal Brown. The Lexington native’s many ties to the program and Kentucky’s explosive spring game performance have certainly sweetened the recruiting pitch. Now it’s time for Stoops, Marrow and Eddie Gran to seal the deal this weekend.
Young, Phillips and Allen will not be alone. Stay tuned to KSR throughout the week to see what other talented 2020 recruits will officially visit Lexington this weekend.
Ed Oliver is Cramping Josh Allen’s Style
As we enter the homestretch, teams are pulling out all of the stunts to mess with other teams. The latest involves our guy, Josh Allen.
Projected to go third overall to the New York Jets for months, there’s some late buzz that Gregg Williams actually prefers Houston’s Ed Oliver. Once seen as a lock in the top five, the defensive tackle’s stock has been incredibly volatile over the last year. At one point he fell completely out of the first round. Now the Card killer is back near the top thanks to the Raiders.
Word on the street is that Gruden and Mayock like Oliver with the fourth overall pick. Once the Jets caught wind, they started telling people they like Oliver, giving the Raiders an incentive to trade up a spot with one of their many picks in this year’s draft.
Frankly, it’s a bit bizarre. There’s no reason to worry about Allen slipping down the draft, but there is a good reason to watch Ed Oliver sack Lamar Jackson over and over and over again.
Lonnie Johnson is Ready
Johnson will not be in Nashville for the draft, but he still will be wearing a new hat once he’s selected.
— 4/7 (@Lonnie30johnson) April 22, 2019
The rumor mill is circulating that Lonnie could leap into the first round. You can’t rule it out, but it’s safer to expect to hear his name Friday night. While you’re waiting, enjoy this delightful piece on Johnson from the Chicago Tribune.
Scalzo Looks Sharp
The future Kentucky quarterback tore his ACL in the Florida state playoffs. Even though he’s only five months into rehab, he doesn’t look like somebody with a bum knee. If Gunnar Hoak decides to depart after the spring semester, they’ll need Scalzo ready to roll this fall.
Comeback SZN? pic.twitter.com/lmpkJCK72y
— Nik Scalzo (@NikScalzo) April 21, 2019
UK Offers Another In-State Freshman
Corbin’s Treyveon Longmire received plenty of attention from power five programs once Kentucky offered the sophomore to-be. This afternoon Kentucky offered another in-state prospect from the class of 2022. Unlike Longmire, Selah Brown is a bruiser. The 6’2″ 245-pounder played defensive end, linebacker and fullback for Louisville Male High School. It ain’t hard to tell this kid is a tank.
The Kentucky Pocket Pass is Now Available
You can get into all eight of Kentucky’s home football games for only $250. That’s only $31.25 a ticket. It’s a deal that sounds too good to be true, but it is. Get your hands on the digital tickets right now.
Easter Sunday in the South
Today I leave you with the most glorious Easter Sunday sermon ever delivered.
By Drew Franklin on ©April 22nd, 2019 @ 3:46pm
UK is crashing the NFL party in Nashville with an enormous banner celebrating Josh Allen. The sign is going up today on the front of the building that will soon be the Moxy Downtown Nashville. It is located on Broadway, not far from the NFL draft stage, so Allen will be in the background of several crowd shots throughout the weekend.
Shout-out to whoever reached out to UK about doing this. I bet he is an awesome guy. Like really awesome and handsome and great on KSR. And an even bigger shout-out to his friend Jamie Daniel, whose family business is opening the Moxy this summer, for offering up the front of his building so Josh Allen can take center stage in front of the biggest crowd Nashville has ever seen.
It’s going to look great on TV too. Go Cats.
We’re over a week removed from the 2019 edition of spring practice wrapping at Kroger Field and now all that awaits us is three-plus long months until the toe meets the leather on Labor Day weekend.
With eight home games on the schedule and experience on the line of scrimmage in addition to quarterback, the expectations are pretty high entering the fall.
Kentucky is fresh off a 10-win season and Mark Stoops is telling anyone that will listen that this program is not going to take a step back in year seven. There is still a lot for this team to prove before the season begins at the end of August, but there were also some important takeaway to bring home from the spring game.
After some DVR malfunctions, here at KSR we were finally able to view the tape and see exactly how the cake was baked at Kroger Field. There were a lot of good developments and some specific personnel pieces that went unreported.
The biggest thing to take away from the game was just the comfortability level of junior quarterback Terry Wilson. Going up against against a reserve defense, the Oklahoma City native looked calm and poised. It was easy to tell he was confident in his knowledge of the offense and it seems like his vertical accuracy has come a long way.
For the day, Wilson completed 83.3 percent of his 12 passes and tossed for two touchdowns on a 15.9 yards per attempt average. These are robust numbers, but they are not the most important things to remember. Wilson was on target multiple times to different targets in vertical routes. Being able to challenge opposing secondaries vertically will be vital for this offense to take a step forward in 2019.
In the running game, A.J. Rose enters 2019 at the top of the depth chart and the redshirt junior showed a nice blend of power and speed at Kroger Field. In a reserve role last season, Rose rushed for 442 yards on a 6.2 yards per carry average and had flashed some home run ability shown by 14.1 percent of his runs going for at least 10 yards. In the spring, it was obvious that the big play burst was still there.
The team’s top back put up 86 yards on 11 carries in the scrimmage with three touchdowns. Rose will provide the big runs, but he must prove he can consistently collect positive gains when the big play is not there. In the red zone, he flashed that ability by getting north/south and finding away to get into the endzone. However, he’s going to need some help.
Kavosiey Smoke was a late addition to the class of 2018 and after redshirting this past season we finally caught a glimpse of what the three-star prospect brings to the table. The wrap out of high school was that Smoke was a bowling ball type runner who had a some burst to extend runs into 20-plus yard gains. We definitely saw that.
On his first touch of the day, Smoke showed off some wiggle and burst on his way to an 80-plus yards touchdown sprint. He finished the game with 132 yards on five carries to go along with a reception out of the backfield. It’s no secret that UK will be going to a committee type approach at running back this upcoming season. Expect UK to use their backs in a multitude of ways.
On the broadcast, Matt Stinchcomb mentioned that the staff said that Smoke had the best hands on the team and it appears that the goal is to get the running backs heavily involved in the passing game.
For the first time since 2010, Kentucky will enter the season with a bonafide star at wide receiver. Lynn Bowden, Jr. became one of the best slot receivers in the SEC last season and this year he will have a great chance to receive first-team all-conference honors. We all know how good he is and will be, but the success of UK’s passing game will depend on the other wideouts.
On the outside, we saw some good things in the game. Both Isaiah Epps and Ahmad Wagner made catches in the vertical pass game while Josh Ali served as a good possession option. But it was Bryce Oliver who stole the show.
The redshirt freshman and high school teammate of UK linebacker Jordan Wright and corner Stanley Garner was the game MVP. The outside receiver played for both the blue and white teams on his way to 105 yards on eight grabs. He consistently got open against UK’s top secondary players and was able to create separation in addition to making multiple contested catches. He was a bright spot and should received plenty of chances to make a splash this fall.
On the line of scrimmage, it went as expected for UK’s starters. Mason Wolfe rotated for Luke Fortner at right guard, but other than that we saw the ones play most of the game. Landon Young looked very good in his first game back at The Kroge while it’s clear that both Drake Jackson and Logan Stenberg will be in position for All-SEC honors. It was a bit of surprise to see Naasir Watkins playing primarily with the twos after playing a good amount as a redshirt freshman. We also got a look at the future of the offensive line.
Quintin Wilson started at center for the white team and it appears that the redshirt freshman from Cincinnati is in line to take over in the middle whenever Drake Jackson leaves. Redshirt sophomore Austin Dotson received work at both right guard and right tackle. The mammoth 6-foot-6 and 331-pound offensive lineman is a guy the staff probably wants to crack the rotation this season. In his first public action, 6-foot-9, 367-pound redshirt freshman Nick Lewis was used at left tackle and he’s a mountain of a man.
One of those eye-popping reminders of the size of UK redshirt freshman OT Nick Lewis when see him working against a 6-3, 285-pound Josh Paschal… ? pic.twitter.com/N51zHGrFvS
— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) April 13, 2019
It’s hard to fairly evaluate the tight end position because we have yet to see redshirt freshman Keaton Upshaw in action. After being forced to redshirt due to a knee injury last season, Upshaw has gotten plenty of love from the coaches this spring and will be UK’s best receiving option at this spot. However, he was held out of the spring game for precautionary reasons. Justin Rigg continues to be Mr. Reliable and we saw that he can make catches in space in addition to blocking. Brenden Bates is built more in the Rigg role and could be used fairly often in some jumbo packages UK will utilize in short yardage situations. Walk-on Drew Schlegel figures to play the fullback/H-back spot UK often used C.J. Conrad in. The senior is going to be a very important part of the offense.
Beautiful stuff from H-back Drew Schlegel clearing out the Will backer so Smoke can crib this run. https://t.co/m24iO6UNm4
— Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettBOS) April 13, 2019
Overall, it was a very satisfying performance we saw from UK’s offense at the 2019 spring game. Terry Wilson looked improved, the running backs made explosive plays, and the the ones on the offensive line dominated at the point of attack. Kentucky even received some very solid play from their wideouts.
With Benny Snell no longer on the roster, Kentucky is going to have to open up the playbook this fall. In the spring game we saw Eddie Gran use multiple 3-plus wide receiver sets in addition to use many twins (two wideouts to one side) and trips (three wideouts to one side) formations. That could be something we should expect to see more of.
The Wildcats have an experienced quarterback with true dual-threat ability to go with a very efficient playmaker operating out of the slot. That’s combined with an experience offensive line to go along with some explosive players at running back. On, paper this group should put some points on the board and could be the the program’s best big play offense in quite some time.
By Eli Mitchell on ©April 21st, 2019 @ 9:00pm
The lead draft analyst for the NFL Network, Daniel Jeremiah, recently released his Mock Draft 3.0 with the draft set to begin later this week.
The former Eagles scout is in agreement with other draft analysts who believe that Lonnie Johnson Jr’s stock is quickly rising, projecting the former JUCO cornerback to be picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the #20 overall selection.
“This is higher than I have Johnson rated, but he’s catching a lot of buzz right now and the Steelers have a need at the position.”
Jeremiah actually does not have Johnson ranked in his Top 50 list, but projects him to be the 2nd cornerback off the board after LSU’s Greedy Williams.
If this projection were to stay true, Johnson would receive a signing bonus of $7.1 million, with the total value of the contract projected to be $12.5 million. Not too shabby for the Gary, Indiana native who did not have much NFL interest heading into his senior year at Kentucky.
Jeremiah also predicts that Josh Allen will be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the #5 overall selection. I would be shocked if Allen falls out of the top 5, but you never really know what teams are thinking until draft day.
To see the rest of Jeremiah’s first round mock, head on over to NFL.com.
With the 2019 NFL Draft quickly approaching on Thursday April 25th, dozens of players from the SEC will have their dreams fulfilled. What follows is an analysis of how each team from the conference will fare in a draft that’s loaded with talent. (Teams are placed in alphabetical order)
First Round Picks: 3-4
Total Selections: 10-11
No surprise here, folks. The NFL Draft will be dominated by the Crimson Tide as usual. Alabama has had four players selected in the first round in the past two drafts, and the same result could happen once again this year. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and offensive tackle Jonah Williams are locks to hear their names called on Thursday night. There is an extremely good chance that both of these talented athletes will be selected within the first 15 picks.
After the Williams duo comes off the board, expect Josh Jacobs to be picked in somewhere in the mid-20’s (most likely to Oakland) as the first running back off the board. That’s more than likely three guaranteed first-round picks. What will determine rather or not the Crimson Tide matches their quota of the last two seasons is the landing spot of tight end Irv Smith. Smith is rated by most as the third-best tight end in the draft and a borderline first round selection. Keep an eye out for Green Bay at pick No. 30. If Smith gets selected on Thursday night, it will most likely be there.
Draft a TE Gruden. (Irv Smith) pic.twitter.com/D2tSnUhySO
— Maliik ? (@Obee1ne) March 21, 2019
After that, well-known players like Deiotne Thompson, Mack Wilson, and Christian Miller will all be selected Friday night in either the second or third round. When it comes to Kentucky native Damien Harris, there is a reasonably good chance he will as well. However, don’t be shocked if Harris falls to the fourth round on Saturday.
First Round Picks: 0
Total Selections: 4
The draft will be relatively quiet for the Razorbacks in 2019. While they will most likely have four players drafted, their highest rated prospects Armon Watts and Hjalte Froholdt are day three prospects. This should not come as a huge surprise considering that Arkansas was an embarrassment to the SEC this past season. The Razorbacks only won two games, and they failed to win a single conference matchup. NFL scouts are largely turned off by such a bad year. There is always next season, I guess!
First Round Picks: 0
Total Selections: 4
Its true that this a bit of a down year for Auburn in the draft. The Tigers will have zero first rounders, and only four players are projected to draft picks. However, things aren’t all that bad. The trio of Jamel Dean, Darius Slayton, and quarterback Jarrett Stidham will all be picked before the fifth round starts. In fact, I would not be surprised at all if all three hear their names called towards the end of the third round. For what was a pretty disappointing season, three players in the top three rounds would not be a bad haul at all.
First Round Picks: 1
Total Selections: 6
Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor is projected to make a big splash early Thursday night for the Gators. While some mock drafts have him going in the 8-10 range, others have him getting selected in the late teens. Besides Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Taylor is the most complete prospect on the offensive line in this draft. Either way, all signs are pointing to a top-20 selection for the 6’5, 312-pound athlete.
Defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will join Taylor in representing Florida in the first two rounds. The Florida native is a ball-hawking safety with elite playmaking skills. He has the athleticism to play as a consistent starter in the league. It would be a shock to see him slip into the third round. After those selections, the Gators are expected to have four more players picked in what will be a respectable draft haul.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson! ??? pic.twitter.com/ux7bJKb1AT
— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) December 29, 2018
First Round Picks: 1
Total Selections: 9
With the exception of Alabama, no other team from the SEC will have as good of a draft as the Bulldogs will. This should come as no surprise considering that Georgia was just as good as the Crimson Tide this season and both teams were among the best in the nation. Their draft class is extremely deep as the likes of D’andre Walker, Riley Ridley, Isaac Nauta, Mecole Hardman, Elijah Holyfield, and Terry Godwin will all be second and third-day selections.
However, the headliner of this class is cornerback Deandre Baker. I’m incredibly high on him as I consider Baker the best all-around defensive back in the 2019 Draft. Not only is he the definition of a shutdown corner, but he is an intimidating tackler in the mold of a young Ed Reed. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL is a bit low on him due to its infatuation with other more problematic prospects. Mark my words, Baker will be looked back upon as one of the steals of this draft.
.@FootballUGA CB Deandre Baker didn't let up one touchdown since 2016.
What was his secret?
"It all starts with the preparation." pic.twitter.com/4GiKaspkZe
— GMFB (@gmfb) April 19, 2019
First Round Picks: 1
Total Selections: 6
Welcome to national Josh Allen week everyone! In all seriousness, this is going to be possibly one of the biggest drafts in the history of Kentucky football. It seems relatively certain that there will be six Wildcats (Allen, Lonnie Johnson, Mike Edwards, Benny Snell, Chris Westry, Darius West) who hear their names called over all three days. To put this in perspective, this will be the most Kentucky players in the draft since 1979 which saw seven drafted over the course of 12 rounds. Only four players were selected in the first seven that season.
As for the likes of Bunchy Stallings, C.J. Conrad, Derrick Baity, and Jordan Jones, it seems like they will be undrafted free agents. But I think either Stallings or Conrad could potentially sneak into the seventh round where all kinds of chaos happens.
Instead of concentrating on Allen like most will rightfully do throughout this week, I want to talk about Lonnie Johnson and his ascension up draft boards. His rise now finds him squarely as a second-round pick which is just outstanding. The NFL misses on a lot of underrated prospects, but the secret is out on Johnson who is just a prototypical, hard-nosed defensive back.
.@UKFootball CB Lonnie Johnson is a prime example that evaluations are never complete until a scout sees them in-person. @Lonnie30johnson has intriguing tape but his movement skills are even more impressive when you see what a specimen he is. Love his physicality at CB. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/11Rz6pCyxP
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 21, 2019
First Round Picks: 2
Total Selections: 4
It will be fireworks for LSU early in the draft as dominant defensive players Devin White and Greedy Williams are poised to become first-round selections. After that, however, only Foster Moreau and Nick Brossette have a reasonable chance at getting drafted.
Williams is viewed by many as the best cornerback in the draft, but I really think that’s Georgia’s Dandre Baker. White, on the other hand, is the unquestioned best true linebacker coming out of college this year. He is a consummate leader and a player that has the speed to play sideline to sideline. If White falls past the top ten, it will be a national travesty. Expect greatness from him throughout his career.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) April 2, 2019
First Round Picks: 2-3
Total Selections: 7
After a very impressive year defensively in the SEC, the Bulldogs will see at least five of their defensive players all selected over the weekend. The headliners are defensive linemen Montez Sweat and Jeffrey Simmons. Both are guarantees to go in the first round, and both are heavily favored to go in the top 15. I think Sweat is the better overall prospect due to all the many issues that come along with Simmons. Look out for defensive back Jonathan Abram as well. Many have him slotted to go at the very end of first round which would give Miss. State an impressive three first-rounders.
After that, a few of their offensive linemen will join the other defensive players as day two and day three selections. In case you were wondering, quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will not be drafted. While he will get picked up as a free agent, do not be expecting to hear his name called this weekend. It may be surprising that the Bulldogs will have such a good draft, but it makes sense considering its mostly all defensive prospects.
First Round Picks: 1
Total Selections: 6
The headline of Missouri’s draft class is obviously quarterback Drew Lock. In a relatively average draft class for quarterbacks, Lock is easily the most divisive of the bunch. While he has a prototypical NFL arm, he is wildly inconsistent and often inaccurate as a passer. His ceiling is reasonably high, but he is most assuredly a prospect. Lock needs to wait a season behind an experienced passer and learn the ropes of the league like Patrick Mahomes did. For his sake, Denver at No. 10 would be the best spot as he learns behind Joe Flacco.
Drew Lock looks like a first-round lock.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 21, 2019
After Lock, Wide receiver Emanuel Hall is the Tigers’ next best prospect. Hall has good hands and great speed. He is most likely an early day three prospect who will later be followed by a few of his fellow teammates.
First Round Picks: 1-2
Total Selections: 5
Three of Mississippi’s five draft selections will be wide receivers. The Rebels’ receiving core was easily the best of the conference so it makes sense that their top three pass-catchers will all be drafted. Their two best – D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown – have a great chance at being first rounders.
Its important to note that the NFL has a very high opinion of Metcalf due to his freakish athleticism. He is a for sure first rounder. What’s crazy is that Brown is the better overall receiver, and he might be regulated to the second round. I really do think he has the best hands in the draft. I’m in the minority on this, but I guarantee Brown will have a better career than Metcalf.
— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) April 20, 2019
First Round Picks: 0
Total Selections: 3
This is the part of the column where I praise Deebo Samuel for an entire paragraph. While offensive linemen Dennis Daley and Zack Bailey will most likely be day 3 three selections, Samuel is a lock for the second round. Personally, I think he is one of the more underrated players coming out of college this season. Samuel has excellent speed, strength, and most importantly great hands for a receiver. His one knock is that he has had several injuries throughout his career. While this is true, I still think scouts are way too low on Samuel. Remember the name because he will be a dependable NFL receiver throughout his career.
Deebo Samuel’s footwork is gorgeous folks. It’s these explosive and technical cuts that make him dangerous. Great jab with a subtle head fake and explosive, smooth transition with the inside foot. He wins this through footwork essentially. pic.twitter.com/dOW93O5zh9
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) April 12, 2019
First Round Picks: 0
Total Selections: 0
Yes. You read that right. The Volunteers will have no players selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, let alone any in the first round. NFL.com has two Tennessee players (Micha Abernathy, Kyle Phillips) projected as undrafted free agents who will probably be invited to training camps. Unless one of them luck up and get drafted, this will be the only team from the conference who will not be represented at the draft this year. You hate to see it.
First Round Picks: Maybe 1
Total Selections: 9
This is going to sneak up on people, but the Aggies are about to have an impressive NFL Draft. First, center Erik McCoy has seen his name fly up draft boards after having a dominant NFL Combine. Despite weighing in at over 300 pounds, McCoy shocked scouts as he ran a 4.89 40-yard dash which is just silly for an athlete of his size. He also possesses the strength to push around NFL lineman which is why many have going in the first round.
Texas A&M's Erik McCoy is 6'4", 303 lbs … and can run a 4.89 40
?: NFL Network pic.twitter.com/Tcve0qrDrv
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 1, 2019
After McCoy’s selection, the Aggies are slated to have another eight players selected. While most of these players will be day three picks, guys like tight end Jace Sternberger and running back Trayveon Williams might be called on day two. The sheer number of players does make a little bit of sense. Texas A&M did finish second in the SEC West (people forget that) and Jimbo Fisher is a great developer of talent. Things will start to get really scary once Fisher starts to get his top-rated recruits in Aggieland.
First Round Picks: 0
Total Selections: 2
It will be a mostly quiet draft for the Commodores in 2019. However, Vanderbilt will actually make a splash pretty early. Cornerback Joejuan Williams has impressed scouts with his combination of size (6’4) and length which is very desirable at his position. There is a slight chance that Williams will be selected in the second round. If not, then he will be a guaranteed third round pick. Usually Vanderbilt doesn’t make much head way in the draft so its pretty cool to see a Commodore selected relatively quickly. Oh yea, quarterback Kyle Shurmur is a lock to be picked in the last few rounds. He has huge family ties in the league which means it would be a shock if his name is not called at all.
Chris Trapasso on Josh Allen: “I just don’t think he’s polished enough to live up to the lofty expectations”
By Brent Wainscott on ©April 21st, 2019 @ 3:00pm
We are just a few days away from the NFL Draft, and that means Josh Allen and other prospects will once again be the focus of the sports world for about a solid week. With all that attention, some analysts are bound to make some hot takes or at least over-critique. One of these analysts maybe CBS Sports Draft expert Chris Trapasso.
On Friday Trapasso put out a ‘buyers beware’ article which basically gives you the downsides of a few first-round prospects. In this article, Trapasso only selected four players to heed a warning to NFL teams, and one of the four players he chose was Josh Allen.
In the buyer beware article, Trapasso said Allen’s biggest downside is his over-reliance on his athleticism to get to the quarterback.
If you’ve followed me for, say, even a little more than a week, you know I believe most good players are good athletes. But to be an elite-level player at the edge rusher position, more is needed than a lightning-quick first step. I repeatedly mention “hand work” or pass-rushing moves because they’re vital at the pro level. On the field, in the SEC, Allen proved to be a rare mover for his size — nearly 6-feet-5 and 262 pounds. The speed at which he flew around the edge — with decent bend — helped him accumulate 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his senior season.
His film doesn’t feature a wide-ranging collection of pass-rushing moves. Occasionally, Allen swiped offensive tackles’ hands away en route to the quarterback. Beyond that, Allen won with a good old-fashioned speed rush around the corner. NFL tackles are significantly better than SEC tackles. They’ll sit on that speed rush and take it away. Also, as the combine showed, for his size, Allen isn’t highly athletic. His three-cone time of 7.15 seconds placed him in just the 63rd percentile among players at his position over the past 20 years. It represents good, not otherworldly bendiness.
Because he’s so physically imposing, with top-level burst and a high motor, I think Allen will be a good pro. He’s inside the top 25 of my prospect rankings. But he’s seemingly destined for the top five. Maybe even the top three. I just don’t think he’s polished enough to live up to the lofty expectations that align with being selected that high. If he can learn to use his hands as a counter to his relentlessness around the corner, he can be an All-Pro. In most cases, it’s very difficult for edge rushers to effectively execute newly learned pass-rushing moves at the NFL level.
While Trapasso may be right about his lack of pass rushing moves, Allen has proved to be one of the most dominant athletes in SEC history and I believe his comments on Allen are nitpicky at best.
To have the athleticism to do what Josh Allen can do makes him a freak of nature, and if Allen didn’t have to rely on pass rush moves in the SEC, why would he use them? I’m a firm believer Allen will continue to develop and continue his reign of terror over quarterbacks once he gets to the league.
Besides, if I were Josh Allen, I too would try to use my speed to get to the quarterback and not even deal with making contact with the offensive lineman, considering the stupid amount of missed hold calls on Allen last season.
Was watching film on Lonnie Johnson this morning but I got distracted by this hold on Josh Allen in Overtime that wasn’t called. pic.twitter.com/J6e8La759w
— Josh Edwards (@JEdwar247) April 20, 2019
I believe, like many others, that Josh Allen will be just fine in the NFL, and I fully expect Allen to have a huge impact when he hits the league this fall.
One more person Josh Allen has to prove wrong? I’m all for it.
It still baffles me Bosa and Murray are ahead of him, but last year no one was talking about Baker Mayfield going number one until the day of the draft. So maybe, just maybe.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
One of the greatest tragedies in the history of the Kentucky football program has been profiled by NBC’s Dateline.
Caught up in the March Madness mayhem, last month Dateline produced “The Motive.” The program detailed the 1994 murder of Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro.
DiGiuro was killed on the front porch of his house near UK’s campus after celebrating his 21st birthday. Antonio O’Ferral, the Cats’ quarterback and DiGiuro’s roommate, shared his experience from the night of the crime with Dateline.
“You started to hear the chaos outside,” he recalled later. “The screaming, the yelling, the crying.”
The cloud of the tragedy hung over the program. For more than five years the investigation proved fruitless. Dateline describes exactly how a lead turned into a complicated fight in the court system that ultimately resulted in a conviction.
A story that captivated the Commonwealth for almost a decade, Dateline fills in all of the details I could not comprehend at a young age. You can watch the entire 40-minute program online or on the NBC app. If you don’t have the time to sit through the program, read all the details here.
By Nick Roush on ©April 20th, 2019 @ 2:30pm
The NFL’s all-time leading passer was almost a Kentucky Wildcat.
Frankly, I’m disappointed I did not know that until this week. The eureka moment happened when Drew Brees joined our friends at Pardon My Take. An unheralded recruit who suffered an ACL injury as a junior, he caught the Cats’ attention after he led Westlake High School to an undefeated 5A Texas State Championship in the fall of 1996.
Despite his success as a senior, Brees only had two options: Kentucky or Purdue. Hal Mumme and Joe Tiller each implemented high-flying spread offenses ahead of their first seasons on campus in 1997. Today he’ll say Purdue’s academic program put the Boilermakers over the top, but after he made his decision 22 years ago, he admitted that Tim Couch had something to do with it.
“There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like. They both run similar offenses. I liked both coaching staffs. But at Purdue, I think I’m going to have a chance to get some early playing time and maybe start my second year,” he told the Courier and Journal at the time.
“I got to see some film of (Couch), and he obviously was a much better quarterback than I am. They were telling me that he was going to play two more years and then go pro early. I tried to look at the good side of having him and learning things. He didn’t really scare me off, but it was a factor.”
Instead of taking the mantle from Tim Couch after two years at Kentucky, he started for Tiller as a sophomore. Two years later he led the Boilermakers to a Rose Bowl victory and finished third in the Heisman voting in 2000. That same year Kentucky finished 2-9 and Hal Mumme was fired following a recruiting scandal.
Oh, what could have been.
By Nick Roush on ©April 20th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
Mike Edwards provided a steady presence as a playmaker in Kentucky’s secondary for three years. His reliability could pay off in next week’s NFL Draft.
One of only two defensive backs in Kentucky’s 300-tackle club, while other SEC safeties stole headlines, Edwards quietly helped Kentucky control the line of scrimmage. Playing deep and walking up into the nickel position near the line of scrimmage to cover the slot, no other SEC safety had more run stops in 2018 than Edwards.
Since his time in a UK uniform, the Kentucky Badger caught a bad break. During an exceptional week in the Senior Bowl, he broke his thumb. The injury sidelined him from NFL Combine competition and forced him to delay his pro day at UK. Despite the setback, NFL Draft analysts have taken notice.
On the NFL Network’s latest Move the Sticks podcast, former NFL Scout Daniel Jeremiah said Edwards is arguably the most reliable pick in the draft outside of the top two rounds.
“Players that you have a role for them, you know exactly what you’re going to get, there’s no guess work,” Jeremiah said.
“Mike Edwards, a safety from Kentucky, he might not be the biggest guy in the world — 5-10 1/2, 205 pounds, ran 4.5 flat. But I just love the fact I can drop him down and play him near the line of scrimmage and I know exactly what I’m going to get from him. He’s somebody who’s going to be a very sure tackler. He’s got some instincts to get his hands on some balls underneath. He’s just going to be a very dependable, reliable player.
“Mike Edwards, probably I’d say fourth round is where he ends up going, maybe he could sneak into the third round. But more than likely you’re talking about a fourth-round guy and I feel great about that pick.”
In extended mock drafts, Edwards consistently falls in the third to fourth round range. One week from today we’ll find out which team is smart enough to make the safe selection.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©April 19th, 2019 @ 6:30pm
A week from now, we’ll know where some of Kentucky Football’s most talented players will continue their careers. In the first of many media appearances in the coming days, Mark Stoops went on NFL Network’s “Up to the Minute” today to brag on his draft prospects, starting with Josh Allen, who is projected to go in the top five Thursday night.
“When you’re this high of a pick, I think it’s common for people to come in and look at him and try to dissect things and find a weakness,” Stoops said. “I’m not just saying this because obviously I’m very fond of Josh and what he’s done for us, but there’s not a lot of things he can’t do. He’s an elite pass rusher. He’s got great instincts. He’s fantastic on his feet. He’s physical. There’s really nothing he can’t do and he’s a fantastic human being.”
Most draft experts have Lonnie Johnson going around the fourth round, but his stock is rising, with the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah projecting him to go as high as 20th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stoops said Lonnie’s only scratched the surface of his potential.
“Somebody in the NFL is going to get a fantastic player because he’s still got a lot of upside. Has not played corner his whole life, has only played cornerback for three years and has a lot of upside and he’s just a fantastic person once again.”
Of course, Stoops was also asked about Benny Snell, who met Snell Yeah the horse at Keeneland yesterday.
“It’s perfect to name a horse after him because he was a workhorse for us. He was a guy that kind of rode. He was a guy that wanted the football in tough situations.”
Sadly, NFL Network won’t let me embed the video for you, so click here to watch it on their site.
I can embed this great sneak peek at KyWildcatsTV’s feature on Josh Allen that comes out next week:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) April 19, 2019
For maybe the first time, Benny Snell was star-struck.
Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher made his first trip to Keeneland today to see the horse that bears his name make its racing debut. Unfortunately, Snell Yeah was scratched with a mild cough. Even though the horse did not run, Snell was elated to meet the thoroughbred.
Benny Snell meets Snell Yeah. pic.twitter.com/Uqo1uvoJk2
— Charlie Walter (@CharlieWalterTV) April 18, 2019
Once he got all of the grunts out of his system, Snell shared a few more eloquent lines with LEX-18’s Charlie Walter.
— Charlie Walter (@CharlieWalterTV) April 18, 2019
Never change, Benny. Never change.
By Nick Roush on ©April 18th, 2019 @ 3:30pm
It’s finally here. Almost five months after the conclusion of the Kentucky football season, more than a dozen former players will soon learn which NFL team will call their name.
Since the Wildcats’ Citrus Bowl win, players have traveled across the country for workouts, postseason bowl games, interviews, combines, meetings and more. Josh Allen has drawn most of the spotlight near the top of every analysts’ draft board. Next Thursday Allen, along with Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow, will be in Nashville for the first round of the NFL Draft. Tootsies is already prepared to see him.
They’ve already cut the draft night promos too.
"Motor. I never stop. I won't stop."
?: First Draft pic.twitter.com/Q8WRsqAHYD
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 17, 2019
We know Allen will be a top five pick, but it’s difficult to gauge where the rest may fall. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler compiled an enormous 222-page NFL Draft guide that grades every single prospect imaginable. This is not just your run of the mill mock draft. He’s done his homework with background information on each prospect.
Conrad’s absence is attributed to his lack of athleticism. The same applies to Bunchy Stallings, who tested poorly at his pro day. Benny Snell receives similar remarks and an, “it’s a shame it’s not 1995.”
Athleticism is not a problem for Lonnie Johnson. It’s why teams were drooling over him at the Senior Bowl. Brugler believes it could make him a top 50 pick, however, he just doesn’t like his film. From mental mistakes to lack of ball skills, Brugler slates him so low because Johnson has so much room to grow. We’ll see if that analysis holds up or if athleticism carries Johnson to the top of the draft.
First Round Love for Lonnie
While Brugler isn’t bullish on Johnson, others are. We’ve heard for quite some time that Lonnie Johnson could jump into the first round. The buzz has been building and it’s finally here, just a week before the NFL Draft. The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, host of Move The Sticks, has Johnson going 20th overall to join Bud Dupree with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This is higher than I have Johnson rated, but he’s catching a lot of buzz right now and the Steelers have a need at the position.
If that comes true, it wouldn’t be Lonnie’s first time in a Steelers uniform.
Two Josh Allens on one Team?
Could Kentucky’s Josh Allen play with the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen? That question was asked by Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe.
— The Lefkoe Show (@LefkoeShow) April 18, 2019
The former WHAS-11 sports anchor came to Lexington to spend a day with Allen. More videos from their time will be released at a later date. As for now, enjoy Allen’s 40-minute appearance on The Lefkoe Show. You’ll learn a few things you probably did not know about Allen, except his middle name. NOBODY knows his middle name. Surely it can’t be as weird as mine, Loring.
More Praise for Allen
He’s been described as the best pass rusher in the draft by many. Add Yahoo’s Terez Paylor to that list.
The 6-5, 262-pounder has been terrific for three-plus seasons for the Wildcats, using his size, athleticism and juice off the snap to rack up 31 sacks since 2016, including an absurd 17 in 2018. What’s more, Allen — who led the Wildcats in tackles (88) last season as an edge rusher — is a turnover machine. Since 2016, he forced 11 fumbles.
Kiper’s Favorite Cornerback
ESPN’s two draft gurus recently completed another mock draft, this time going back and forth for three rounds. Once again, Josh Allen was slated third overall to the Jets, while Lonnie Johnson fell to the Redskins in the middle of the third round at No. 76 overall. In a separate piece, Kiper said Johnson is his favorite cornerback prospect in the draft and could go all the way into the second round.
There are some big corners in this class. I count six in my top 10 who are at least 6-foot-1. And Johnson, who spent three years at junior colleges before coming to Kentucky in 2017, is right there with the best of the best. My sixth-ranked corner, Johnson is long and athletic, and he’s not afraid to tackle. He also blocked two kicks for the Wildcats.
There could be a run on corners in the second round. Johnson could make an immediate impact for the team that picks him.
Only one more week until Allen, Johnson and the rest of the Wildcats learn their NFL fate.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 17th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
This afternoon, 2020 four-star offensive lineman and Christian Academy of Louisville product John Young announced he would making his final decision on April 29.
And the Kentucky Wildcats are one of the schools in serious contention.
I will be announcing my commitment on April 29!! ?
— John Young (@the_johnyoung) April 17, 2019
After setting his big announcement date, the 6-foot-6, 295-pound offensive tackle from Louisville talked to KSR about the timing of his decision, the final six schools on his list, and why the Wildcats have a shot.
Check out our Q&A with Rivals’ No. 214 prospect in the class of 2020.
JP: Why April 29?
JY: The date isn’t really anything special, but I wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible so I could focus on my senior season coming up.
JP: Are we still at six schools? What are the final schools in contention and why?
JY: Yeah, we’re still at six.
Ohio State, they’re a school that has been heavily involved in my recruitment for a long time. I really like Coach Day, and of course the tradition up there is amazing. So they’ve always been one of my top choices, and they still are as I’m nearing my decision.
Michigan, rival to Ohio State, but another great school. My parents really loved it up there, and so did I when we visited. Amazing academics, great coaching staff up there as well.
Purdue is in the Big 10, as well. One of my best friends, Milton Wright, is headed to Purdue. So it’d be pretty cool to go up there and play with him. I really like Coach Brohm, he’s got ties in Louisville where I’m from. He runs a powerful offense at Purdue.
Kentucky, I grew up a fan of Kentucky, and I really love what they’ve done over the last year with their team. Coach Stoops has really turned that program around. I love all the coaches up there, and I’ve visited there a lot.
Louisville, I really hit it off with the new coaching staff, Coach Satterfield and Coach Ledford are the main guys recruiting me from over there. I think they’re going to turn that program into a winning team, as well, and possibly get to a bowl game this year.
And then the final school Georgia, I visited there really recently, they offered me pretty late in my recruitment. But I decided to visit, and I really loved the campus there. I have a really good relationship with Coach Smart and Coach Pittman down at Georgia.
Those are the six schools and the reasoning for why they’re on my final list.
JP: What will go into your final decision? What will separate your final choice from the pack?
I would say the biggest factor would be where I could see myself being the best fit. I’ve taken visits to every single one of those schools, I’ve been around the campus, I’ve been around the coaches, I’ve talked to the players. So I feel like I’ve got a good feel, it’s just about coming down to the final stretch of where I’d be the best fit in their offense and the university as a whole.
JP: With Kentucky, what is their main pitch to you?
Their main pitch to me is to be a home state hero, just stay home and play for my home state. They’ve got a great track record with in-state offensive linemen with Landon Young and Drake Jackson. Those are the two biggest names I’d say from that group, but there are other (in-state) guys there as well. With those in-state guys, they develop them, take care of them, and get them ready to start. I’d say that’s their main pitch to me, be part of that in-state offensive line tradition.
JP: How much has Kentucky’s recent growth as a program made an impact on your decision?
JY: I’m going on my third year of being recruited by Kentucky, they offered me as a freshman, so I’ve really gotten to see the development there. They develop players and turn them into high-caliber draft picks like they did with Josh Allen and Benny Snell. Those guys weren’t super highly recruited guys out of high school, Josh wasn’t really recruited at all, but they turned those guys into very high caliber guys who are going to make millions of dollars playing football. Just the way they’ve developed players is the most impressive thing for me.
JP: Will you be shutting down your recruitment after this, or do you plan on keeping your options open?
JY: My recruitment will be completely and 100% shut down after I make my decision. 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.
JP: What will the school you choose be getting as a player and as a person?
JY: I will be bringing a hard working attitude. I think you’ll be getting a nasty run blocker and a guy who just loves to play football wherever I go, somebody who wants to win and will do everything that it takes to do so.
You can check out his junior year highlight tape here: