Time flies when you’re having fun. Don’t look now, but National Signing Day is only two days away.
The event has lost its luster over the last two years since the creation of the Early Signing Period. Kentucky has benefitted from the addition, but the timing (in the middle of bowl season just before Christmas) does not attract as much attention.
Last year Kentucky picked up one signee on NSD, Chris Oats. After only one year, it’s safe to say that addition turned out pretty well. This year Kentucky will pick up more than one four-star recruit. The only question is who.
What will Devonta Lee Do?
The biggest name on the board for most fans, the four-star outside wide receiver officially visited LSU over the weekend. Since then, all of the LSU recruiting analysts confirmed their belief that he will stay in the bayou to be a home state hero.
Kentucky has lost all of the buzz from his official visit, but I’m not giving up hope until Lee signs on the dotted line. Kentucky’s coaches left an in-home visit last week feeling good about their chances to get the impact receiver. I’ve learned a lesson in the past: never doubt the Big Dog. Until Wednesday I’ll lean on another lesson my mother taught me: prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.
Lee’s decision will air on ESPN’s Signing Day Special at 2:00 ET.
Two Four-Star Additions
UK’s three other four-star targets are all defensive backs. I think Kentucky will get two commitments at a position of need on NSD.
The Pitt recruiting people were once optimistic about their chances with MJ Devonshire. Now UK has all of that optimism, especially after he opted not to visit West Virginia over the weekend. Another elite corner, Jay Ward, officially visited Florida State over the weekend.
“The trip went great,” Ward told 247. “It was way better than I thought it would be.”
Even though the Seminoles got to make the last impression, I don’t think it’s enough to pull Ward away from recommitting to UK.
Kentucky will be a finalist for Jammie Robinson when he announces his decision Wednesday afternoon. All of the momentum is trending toward South Carolina, but the folks around UK still believe they have a 50-50 shot. Last I checked, those are pretty good chances. The safe bet is that MJ and Ward will be Wildcats this Wednesday.
Kentucky will play Ohio in 2024
Which begs the question, will Stoops still be at UK in five years? It would be his 12th season in Lexington, making him the longest tenured coach in school history. To use one of my favorite football cliches, if he has not yet out-kicked his coverage and moved to greener pastures, the program should be in excellent shape.
UK played Ohio in Stoops’ second year, defeating the Bobcats 20-3 in 2014, avenging the embarrassing 2004 loss at Commonwealth Stadium. At least they looked good in that loss.
JP’s on Today
The Kentucky defensive end’s story has been shared on quite a few platforms. Now Josh Paschal’s victory over cancer is a cautionary tale told by Today. The health feature advises people to do what Josh did and regularly check your skin for abnormalities, even on places that never see the sun like the bottom of your foot. Melanoma is rare, but early detection can save a life.
Remember Julian Edelman?
I’m sure you know the bearded Super Bowl MVP’s name now, but do you remember that time he played at Commonwealth Stadium? Kent State’s quarterback caught the Cats off guard in the second game of the 2007 season. The dual-threat quarterback helped the Golden Flashes out-gain UK in the first half 298-196. A 14-14 game at half, Kentucky eventually woke up to win 56-20. Edelman finished with 135 rushing yards, 129 passing and a touchdown.
The UK Specialists are Bringing ALL of It.
— Kentucky Specialists (@UK_Specialists) February 4, 2019
Which brings me to the final chapter of the MNF Notebook…
Power Ranking UK Football Super Bowl Commercials
The Super Bowl did not give us the points and prop bets we wanted to see, but it did give us another excellent Kentucky football commercial. A tradition that began just a year after Mark Stoops became the Cats’ head coach, the folks at KyWildcatsTV always bring their A-game. Some are better than others, but which is the best of the best?
5. 2015: I’m Not With You
The second Super Bowl commercial missed the mark. There were great intentions, but they missed one key element: the voice over. The dramatic prose pulls you in, and this one didn’t have any of it. It also had some weird animation on the highlights. This one is dead last and it’s not even close.
4. 2017: Let’s Go to Work
The only commercial longer than a minute, this ad essentially served as a showcase for the new football facility. It’s fine, but it’s mostly a workout montage. It does feature cameos from a pair of KSR Football Podcasters and one excellent line from Darius West that needs more context: “and come back stronger.”
3. 2014: Why Not?
The elements in the commercial are fantastic and Stoops’ script is absolutely incredible. At the time, it was hard to believe that this beautiful hype train could ever be derailed. Unfortunately, most of it was only hype. Of the seven Early Enrollees featured, four transferred. A back injury prevented Drew Barker’s career from ever taking off. The only significant contributors were the JUCOs, A.J. Stamps and C.J. “Poop” Johnson.
2. Benny Snell in the Snow
I initially ranked this as the best Super Bowl commercial. Seeing the Cats in Kroger Field in the snow in 4K is breathtaking. It also began with a subtle shot from Benny at the Music City Bowl officials who prematurely tossed him out of the game in 2017. There’s one reason it isn’t No. 1: there isn’t an exclamation point in the finale, only a breath of cold air from Snell.
1. Can I get a Hell Yeah?
Nobody is better at creating controlled chaos than Kash Daniel. His pregame speeches will either give you chills or force you to run through a wall. Not only does he bring that energy in the 2019 commercial, he stays on a message that does not even sound scripted.
While going through old commercials, you’ll notice many of the same faces. They’re all gone. They must replace legends. After Kash asked, “What’s next?” I’m confident these Cats can do just that.
208 days till football season.