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Tennessee Reporter Takes Shot at Mark Stoops

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Mark Stoops prior to the Kentucky-Tennessee game at Neyland Stadium in 2023.
UK Athletics

For much of the Kentucky-Tennessee football rivalry, it has long been one-sided, as can be seen with the series record of 83-26-9 in favor of Tennessee, including a 26-game win streak. Yet, the lack of competitiveness for much of the series, hasn’t stopped the bad blood between the programs.

In January 2021, when Tennessee was found to have committed recruiting violations, which featured cash in Mcdonald’s bags, many fans in the Big Blue Nation and beyond took joy in that.

Mark Stoops was one of those people. When asked about news of Tennessee’s recruiting violations in a Spring 2021 interview with Kentucky Sports Radio, which followed a 34-7 Wildcats win in Knoxville that past season, Stoops said, “I gotta be careful in my response here. Did I see it coming? Yes. I’m grateful it came. Does it surprise me? Not one bit.”

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Earlier this month, the NCAA concluded its investigation and released their finding into the Tennessee program. The findings? Over 200 recruiting violations, including 18 level 1 violations. The punishment? Minimal.

  • $8 million fine (NCAA claims this amount is equivalent to the loss Tennessee would suffer with a bowl ban)
  • 5 years of probation
  • 28 scholarships revoked (16 self-imposed, 12 imposed by NCAA) during probation
  • 36 official visits revoked during probation
  • 6-year show cause for Jeremey Pruitt (meaning he can’t coach for 6 years)
  • And lastly, NO POSTSEASON BAN

At SEC Media Days, David Eckert of the Knoxville News Sentinel reminded Stoops of his prior comments and asked if he had any reaction now that the NCAA released its findings. Stoops answered, “At this point, I have no reaction. That was two years ago and I have moved way beyond that.”

“No disrespect, but I just don’t have anything. I don’t know much about it. I’m worried about my own backyard. So it is what it is. I have no control over that.”

In typical Tennessee fashion, Eckert implied that Stoops’ lack of reaction was because Kentucky had not beaten Tennessee since 2020, and only having “two wins over Tennessee since arriving in Lexington.”

Kentucky will play Tennessee at home this year on October 28th and there will be no shortage of motivation.

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Four-Star Safety, Top 200 Recruit Martels Carter Jr. Commits to Kentucky

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2025 Four-star safety Martels Carter Jr commits to Kentucky Wildcats over Auburn, Colorado, and Louisville.
UK Athletics

YAHTZEE!

The Kentucky Wildcats have added the top-ranked player in the state and one of the top safeties in the country to their 2025 recruiting class.

On Saturday, Martels Carter Jr. announced his commitment to the Wildcats!

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“BBN I’M HOME”

A unanimous 4-star prospect and top 20 safety nationally, Carter chose the Cats over finalists Auburn Tigers, Colorado Buffalo, and Louisville. He also held offers from some of the biggest programs in the sport, including Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon among others.

Originally from Chattanooga, TN, Carter moved to Paducah last summer where he starred for Paducah Tilghman High School, helping them to an undefeated regular season and a deep run in the 4A state playoffs, falling in the semifinals.

While it’s okay to celebrate his commitment, it will still be a battle until signing day. Auburn is seen as Kentucky’s biggest threat with Carter planning multiple visits, and he also has a family connection to Deion Sander’s Colorado program.

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That said, he will almost certainly take an official visit to Kentucky this fall. Vince Marrow has made Carter a priority of this class and will do everything in his power to retain the talented defensive back.

Carter makes the sixth commitment for Kentucky’s 2025 class, to go along with two talented offensive players and fellow four-star recruits Quintin Simmons Jr (WR) and Marquise Davis (RB).

Also published on A Sea of Blue.

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Cutter Boley Opens up on Playing for Kentucky, “This Is Where My Heart’s Always Been”

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Four-star quarterback prospect Cutter Boley signing with Kentucky football.
© Scott Utterback/Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the early National Signing Day for the class of 2024 being over, Kentucky’s newest signed quarterback Cutter Boley discusses why he committed to play at Kentucky.

“Just growing up in the state, you know, I’ve grown up a fan I feel like this is where my heart’s always been, and just the offense that Liam Coen runs and the job coach (Mark) Stoops does as head coach is phenomenal and I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” Boley tells Kentucky Insider.

Kentucky needed to get some quarterbacks after three players either graduated or transferred with Devin Leary graduating, Destin Wade transferring to Colorado, and Kaiya Sheron electing to transfer as well.

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Kentucky was able to load up in the quarterback room by landing the Georgia transfer Brock Vandagriff, Georgia Southern transfer Beau Allen, and then signing Boley in the class of 2024. Boley is ready to compete against them and he recognizes their talent.

“I couldn’t be any more excited to learn from them. They’re two really good quarterbacks, like I said, and they’ll have countless things to teach me from the places they’ve been and the offense that they’ve been in,” Boley tells us. “I just can’t wait to learn the things they know and just be able to work and get to work with them.”

One of the reasons why Boley committed to Kentucky is due to him having a connection since he has lived here his whole life.

“Just growing up in the state, you know, I’ve grown up a fan I feel like this is where my heart’s always been, and just the offense that Liam Coen runs and the job coach (Mark) Stoops does as head coach is phenomenal and I wouldn’t want to play for anybody else,” said Boley.

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As for finally signing his National Letter of Intent, Boley feels relieved to have it finished.

“It’s definitely a relief to finally put the pen to paper and make it official,” said Boley. “It’s been a long time coming so I couldn’t be any more excited about my decision and where I’m going to be for the next four years.”

What Boley is most focused on is how the offense is run, as at this time he feels like his play style is made to play professionally.

“I’m really hoping to develop into that pro-style quarterback, but I feel like I’m definitely a pro-style quarterback right now, but really develop into just being able to play in that offense at a very high level and get really comfortable in the offense, and I just want to develop all parts of my game and really be a quarterback that the NFL looks for and that type of quarterback they want to have,” Boley tells us.

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With Kentucky having a chance to develop within instead of the transfer route, fans will have a chance to see a quarterback finally develop into potentially starting in the future.

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Kentucky Freshman Hayes Johnson Always Wanted to Play for Kentucky, “I Sure Wasn’t Going to Turn It Down

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UK Athletics

Kentucky is looking to get back to the Big Blue Wall days and what is a better way than recruiting in-state players to beef it back up? The Wildcats were able to get both Aba Selm and Hayes Johnson to commit to Kentucky with both being from the state and it was a big get.

When it came to Johnson’s recruitment, he had his mind made up that he wanted to play for the Kentucky Wildcats and he will be able to do that come this fall.

“I mean honestly, it is just kind of like what I said when I committed, it is just one of the things that I dreamed of doing since I was a little kid,” Johnson tells KYInsider. “I got the opportunity, and I sure wasn’t going to turn it down.”

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With him being from Kentucky he knows it will be a special moment for him to be able to put on the jersey and play inside Kroger Field.

“It’s just immense pride,” Johnson says. “I mean I take so much pride in the University and to be able to represent not only the University of Kentucky but the state of Kentucky and the people, and the people in my hometown, and plenty of other towns like this across the state. It’s truly amazing.”

For a while now, everyone has had big dreams for the Kentucky football program and that is to make it to Atlanta and compete for the SEC Championship and that is no stranger to Johnson at all.

“I mean personally, I mean, I’ve been a Kentucky fan all of my life, and I know what we all want,” Johnson tells us. “We all want to go to Atlanta, I mean that’s really it, to get to work and get to Atlanta.”

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His goals for Atlanta will begin in January as that is when he plans to enroll at Kentucky and it sounds like he is ready to get to work and step foot on to campus very soon.

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