CBS Sports says, “Replacing Benny Snell is tough, but do-able”

Kentucky football is coming off their best season in over 40 years, which included 10 wins and Citrus Bowl victory.

Big Blue Nation should not expect the Wildcats to easily repeat such a historic season, but coach Mark Stoops has now created the expectation of winning 7-8 games consistently.

Even with losing so much talent, CBS Sports says it is “do-able”

Replacing Benny Snell is tough, but do-able: Kentucky’s offense was missing in action quite a bit last year despite the presence of Snell. With star linebacker Josh Allen also gone, the 2019 season might be one that relies a little more on the offense. It looks like bridging that gap and becoming more explosive is at least a possibility. A.J. Rose and Kavosiey Smoke each looked strong in the spring game, and could team up to replace Snell’s production. Couple that with Terry Wilson being more comfortable taking the snaps, and there’s at least a shot at a more explosive offense.

Last season, the Wildcats were anchored by their elite defense but there was no shortage of roster turnover including one of the greatest defensive players in program history, Josh Allen, and nearly the entire secondary. This season, the Wildcats will need to produce on the offensive end, rather than relying on the defense to get stops.

Benny Snell has moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Under Armour endorsement contracts but leaves behind a successful blueprint for AJ Rose, Kavosiey Smoke, and Chris Rodriguez. All of which, have shined and shown some promise up to this point.

I hope to see a much more confident offense and more of Eddie Gran’s offensive creativity this fall!

(CBS Sports)

UK Football Commit Has Some Serious Bounce

Andru Phillips, a three-star cornerback in the 2020 class, committed to Kentucky on Monday over Tennessee, Louisville, and others. It looks like the Wildcats are getting one heck of an athlete according to this video.

Andru grew up in Kentucky before moving to South Carolina and comes from a football family. Andru’s father, Carlos Phillips, played linebacker at Kentucky in the late 1980s, and his brother, CJ Phillips, was a star lineman for Morehead State.

I’m not sure there are too many basketball players that could jump over cars, but Andru Phillips can and I hope to see his athleticism on the field next season!

Kentucky Wildcats Receive Citrus Bowl Rings

The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off their best football season since 1977, and they capped it off with a 27-24 Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State to finish the season at 10-3.

In addition to the $400 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, and Ogio backpack each player received for participating in the Citrus Bowl, the Wildcats looked to have received some nice jewelry for their victory.

I will say the Jostens Citrus Bowl ring is much more beautiful than my Jostens senior class ring.

With Mark Stoops and company’s recent success, there will be plenty of more hardware to come in the future. Go Cats!

UK Football gets Four-Star Commitment and UK Basketball Makes Final Four for Johnny Juzang

All of Big Blue Nation should be flexing and doing the John Wall dance right now.

Kentucky football won’t have a lot of roster turnover following the 2019 season, meaning there will be less scholarships for recruits and Coach Stoops and company will have to be very selective about who they go after.

That plan is going well as UK football picked up a commit from Kentucky native and four-star offensive lineman, John Young.

Young, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle, ranks as the No. 214 overall prospect and No. 24 offensive tackle in the nation according to Rivals and chose Kentucky over other finalists Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, and Louisville.

Thus far, Kentucky has only two commits for next season, but both are four-star recruits and rank as top five recruits in their respective states.

Young is a big get for the UK football program that could play a major role in bringing in more recruits for next season.

Not even 10 minutes later, Kentucky basketball received some big recruiting news regarding five-star Johnny Juzang who announced on Wednesday that he would be reclassifying to the 2019 class.

Before Kentucky’s involvement, Villanova was the heavy favorite to land Juzang and with them out of the picture, Kentucky seems to be the favorite by far.

Juzang is scheduled to visit Lexington on Monday and if we have learned anything from past commitments, don’t be surprised if Juzang commits to Kentucky during his visit.

Scouting Report: Just like Tyler Herro, Juzang is a natural born “bucket”. Juzang can score inside and out and everywhere in between using quick release jumpers, floaters, and scoop shots to score in the lane. Juzang also plays well off the ball and excels in catch and shoot situations. Juzang does lack athleticism and handling.

NBA Comparison: Dillon Brooks

Kentucky 2019 NFL Draft Recap

The Kentucky football program capped off their first 10 win season since 1977 with a very successful NFL Draft.

In the 2019 NFL Draft, Kentucky was one of just four schools to have a player selected in each of the first four rounds and had five players drafted in total, the highest total since 1979 when eight players went in 12 rounds.

Take a closer look at the most recent Wildcat draftees.

Draft Picks

Josh Allen LB: Jacksonville Jaguars; 1st round, 7th overall pick
Lonnie Johnson CB: Houston Texans; 2nd round, 54th overall pick
Mike Edwards S: Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 3rd round, 99th overall pick
Benny Snell RB: Pittsburgh Steelers; 4th round, 122nd overall pick
George Asafo-Adjei OT: New York Giants; 7th round, 232nd overall pick,

There were several more Wildcats that didn’t hear their name called, but that doesn’t mean they fell short of their NFL dreams. So far, six players have been signed by NFL teams and there is one notable name yet to be signed, linebacker Jordan Jones.

There is a case to be made that is is better to undrafted than to be selected in the 6th or 7th round, because as an undrafted free agent you have the ability to choose the team that gives you the best shot to make the final roster.

Here are the undrafted Wildcats who have signed as free agents so far.

Free Agent Signings

Chris Westry CB: Dallas Cowboys
Dorian Baker WR: Cleveland Browns
CJ Conrad TE: New York Giants
Bunchy Stallings OL: Jacksonville Jaguars
Derrick Baity CB: Houston Texans
Darius West S: Kansas City Chiefs

After this year’s NFL Draft Mark Stoops, Vince Marrow, and the rest of the UK coaching staff have plenty of recruiting ammo to use to bring in future players to Lexington and make more NFL dreams come true.

Josh Allen has the Ultimate Stamp of Approval from Jacksonville Teammate

How can you not like Josh Allen?

After dominating not just the SEC, but the entire country and making a clean sweep of every major college football defensive award in existence, Josh Allen was primed to be a top-five pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

While Allen did fall to pick No. 7, a couple of spots shy of where he was projected, he was able to avoid some “trainwreck” teams and land on a decent Jacksonville Jaguar team just two seasons removed from an AFC championship game appearance.

After being drafted, fellow Jaguar teammate and star cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, tweeted out a direct message he sent to Allen back on April 13th saying, “ain’t nobody betta in this draft”.

This is high praise from Ramsey, who told GQ last year that Pro Bowl quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck “suck” and “aren’t that good”.

Allen will join Ramsey in the Jaguar defensive unit and with Ramsey’s stamp of approval, Allen can make the six teams that passed up on him regret it with a Defensive Rookie of the Year level season.

Time to invest in a Josh Allen jersey!

NFL Draft Day, Eleven Wildcats Could Be Drafted

It is NFL Draft Day! For the first time ever the NFL Draft is being hosted in a city not too far away; Nashville, Tennessee. As for the Kentucky football program, even more history could be made following a historic 10-win season.

After not having one player drafted in the previous two drafts, the 2019 NFL Draft could be a historically great one for the Kentucky football program.

There are eleven Wildcats that could have their name called over the course of the weekend and could shatter any Kentucky football draft records.

Kentucky hasn’t had more than four players drafted in one year since 1979, when eight players went in 12 rounds. In 1951, nine players were drafted, and that took an astounding 28 rounds.

Let’s take a closer look at the most recent draft projections.

*Draft projections based on NFL.com

Josh Allen DE/LB: 1st Round, Top 5 pick
Lonnie Johnson CB: 2nd Round
Mike Edwards S: 3rd-4th Round
Benny Snell RB: 5th-6th Round
Chris Westry CB: 6th-7th Round
Darius West S: 7th Round-Priority Free Agent
Bunchy Stallings G: Priority Free Agent
C.J. Conrad TE: Priority Free Agent
Derrick Baity CB: Priority Free Agent
Jordan Jones LB: Priority Free Agent
Dorian Baker WR: Priority Free Agent

While the NFL.com analysts aren’t as high on many of these Wildcats as others, these players brought Kentucky football to a level it hasn’t seen for 40+ years. If given a fair shot, you could see the majority of this list on NFL rosters next season.

Until the draft comes on at 8 pm ET, enjoy this billboard of Josh Allen 🐐

2020 Four Star Football Recruit Praises Kentucky and Disses Alabama

Four-star wide receiver Kalil Branham has been a hot name in Lexington since decommitting from Michigan following his visit to Lexington for the Blue-White game.

Following the visit, there were several picks made for the Cats to land Brahman, and with his recent tweet from Tuesday those chances seem to be getting bigger.

I doubt Nick Saban appreciates Branham’s tweet, but it does support the “family” atmosphere around the UK football program that current and former players have talked about.

Branham, a 6-foot-1 wide receiver from Columbus, Ohio ranks as the No. 339 player overall and the 6th best player from Ohio in the 2020 class.

Football recruiting is as unpredictable as the weather, but signs are looking good for the Cats to land their first four-star wide receiver since Lynn Bowden.

In case you needed to know, Branham is also a track star and he is “fast, fast”.

Thoughts on the UK Football Blue-White Game

Whoa, 64-10?

Yes, that was the final score in the 2019 version of the Kentucky Football Spring Game. A lot of offense, but not a lot of defense. And Mark Stoops was the first to say that.

“It can look good for the offense, sloppy for the defense,” Stoops said after the game.

The first team QB’s combined went 15-16, 244 yards, 2 TD’s, and had 15.25 yards per attempt.

Both offenses combined for 774 yards of offense, which would win a few games. But, Stoops wasn’t a fan.

“Today was really probably the most sloppy day we’ve had. There were some big plays. I like to see that. I like to see the explosive plays, but overall what you’re always looking for is good, hard-nosed, fundamental football and I saw a lot of sloppy play out here today.”

With it being a Spring Game, maybe there was some lazy play out there? Stoops addressed that too, saying there was a “lack of competitiveness” on the defensive side.

Kentucky had a great defense last year, and part of the reason for that was they were a bunch of veterans who had improved mightily.

This year, that isn’t the case. The offense is going to be fun to watch, but the defense will be very frustrating at times.

But, with all that, Stoops is still excited about this group.

“We’re going to be a darn good team when it’s all said and done. I’m confident of that. I probably aggravate myself when you split the teams like this. Trust me, I’m excited about this group.”

Folks, it’s a Spring Game, so I definitely wouldn’t get too down on the defense. They will develop and be ready by the season opener on August 31st.

Take a look at the stats below

Takeaways from UK Pro Day

It’s March and the Big Blue Nation’s eyes are all on the basketball team, and deservedly so. However, the football team is coming off one of the best seasons in UK football history with the help of twelve potential NFL draft picks.

Last Friday, a total of sixteen former Cats participated in UK’s 2019 Pro Day. The Pro Day was primarily for those that were either not invited or could not participate in the NFL Draft Combine. Josh Allen, Benny Snell, and the other six combine participants were there to support teammates.

While that was the plan, NFL Teams were still drooling over Josh Allen. Allen said that even though he did no performance drills, scouts repeatedly pulled him aside to have informal conversations and to get a better feel of Josh Allen the person and the football player. I mean how could you not draft that beast #1? Just look at his hands and strength

Before the season started, NFL sources talked about how this Kentucky team had just as much NFL talent as any team in the country and that’s still the case as all 32 NFL teams were well represented, including some big names such as Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock and Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead.

With Allen and Snell sitting out, the rest of the Cats shined.

CJ Conrad

For CJ Conrad, UK’s Pro Day was about more than just putting up numbers. It was about just being able to get back on the field after concerns that his football career might be over.

Conrad received a combine invite but before he was able to participate in any drills, Conrad was ruled out after a medical examination found what was thought to be a heart issue. Last Monday, Conrad flew to Boston for a second opinion and got the great news that he would be able to continue to pursue his NFL dreams.

After not being able to work out for nearly three weeks, Conrad chose to not go through the entire “underwear olympic” regimen and instead just performed catching drills. Conrad was okay with that saying, “It really tested me a lot, but just to be out here with my teammates and all that, it’s meant everything.”

Conrad will continue to prepare for the NFL Draft in April and will hold another Pro Day on April 8th, where he will be joined by Mike Edwards who sat out due to a hand injury.

Chris Westry

Westry was the only eligible UK defensive back not invited to the Combine and with his performance on Friday, they might have regretted that decision.

Westry measured at 6-foot-4, posted a 38-inch vertical, and ran unofficial 4.31-second and 4.37-second 40-yard dashes. For comparison, Westry’s forty time would’ve been second among all defensive backs at the Combine and was as fast or faster than every wide receiver.

The performance wasn’t a surprise to Mark Stoops saying, “Chris Westry ran a great time, of course he was the only DB not invited to the Combine, and he lights it up here today”

Here is a clip from the Cats going nuts when Westry recorded his 38-inch vertical.

George Asafo-Adjei

Offensive tackle, George Asafo-Adjei undoubtedly had the best day of all the Cats participating on Friday and made himself some serious $$$.

Asafo-Adjei had 34 bench press reps, which would have tied him for second place among all offensive linemen at the NFL Combine. Asafo-Adjei’s 30″ vertical leap would have placed him in the top ten at the combine. Most remarkably he was able to do something only four offensive linemen did at the combine, breaking the five-second mark in the 40-yard dash with a 4.93-second mark.

Here is a table of all the results from Friday’s Pro Day.