In this video from Kentucky Wildcats TV, Mark Stoops talks about his visit to ESPN’s annual SEC coaches “car wash”, where all 14 league coaches visit the sports network’s campus.
In this short video clip from earlier this (Thursday) afternoon, UK head coach Mark Stoops talks about a range of topics regarding his team’s upcoming season including: Neal Brown’s offense, the quarterback situation, and the 2014 schedule.
Moments ago Kentucky added yet another member to its already stellar 2015 offensive line recruiting class in 6-foot-4, 310-pound George Asafo-Adjei. The West Chester Ohio native picked the Cats over offers from Florida, West Virginia, Illinois and Louisville among others. He’s ranked the 42nd best offensive guard in the country according to Rivals.com, and his commitment boosts Kentucky’s overall 2015 class ranking up to 22nd in the nation.
This is the 6th offensive line commitment that Kentucky has gotten in its 10 member 2015 recruiting class thus far. It appears that Mark Stoops is sending a strong message that offensive line is an area of emphasis for this year’s class. The other offensive line commitments in this year’s class are:
-Luke Hiers-6’3″, 290 lbs, FL
-Levon Livingston-6’7″, 270 lbs, D.C
-Logan Stenberg-6’6″, 327 lbs, AL
-Larry Wells-6’6″, 310 lbs, OH
-Mason Wolfe-6’5″, 299 lbs, KY
With size like that the future looks bright for Kentucky’s offensive line (which is an area that MUST improve if the team wants to be a serious contender in the SEC).
ESPN recently came out with a list of their top 10 SEC defensive ends for the 2014 season, and Kentucky’s ends–Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith–were among those chosen (which is quite a statement given the SEC’s reputation for talented defensive linemen).
“4. Bud Dupree, Sr., Kentucky: Having successfully made the transition from outside linebacker to end last season when Mark Stoops and his staff arrived, the 6-4, 267-pound Dupree has finished in the top 10 in the SEC in sacks each of the past two seasons. He’s the essence of consistency and has made at least three tackles in each of the 26 games he’s started in his college career.
10. Za’Darius Smith, Sr., Kentucky: The other half of Kentucky’s talented end tandem, the 6-6, 264-pound Smith made a big impact a year ago after coming over from junior college. He finished with six sacks and had a sack or tackle for loss in six games. Junior college players typically make a big jump in their second year in the program, which means Smith could easily take off in 2014.”
Here’s how the rest of the list looks:
1. Dante Fowler, Jr., Florida
2. Trey Flowers, Sr., Arkansas
3. Markus Golden, Sr., Missouri
4. Bud Dupree, Sr., Kentucky
5. Carl Lawson, So., Auburn
6. Shane Ray, Jr., Missouri
7. Danielle Hunter, Jr., LSU
8. C.J Johnson, Jr., Ole Miss
9. Jonathan Allen, So., Alabama
10. Za’Darius Smith, Sr., Kentucky
No matter who ends up winning the starting job at quarterback for Kentucky this fall, offensive coordinator Neal Brown is confident that the play of UK’s signal-caller will be “considerably better.”
“I think the No. 1 thing is we’re better at that position,” Brown said last week prior to his appearance at the Kentucky Football Coaches Association clinic in Danville. “We’re going to be considerably better at that position than we were a year ago no matter who the starter is. I think all three of the guys that went through the spring got better. That’s probably the thing that I’m most excited about is fundamentally we just got a lot better. Decision-making, fundamentally, we’re a lot more active with the football.”
The main competitors in the quarterback competition for UK heading into the summer are sophomore Patrick Towles, redshirt freshman Reese Phillips, and grayshirt freshman Drew Barker, and Brown seemed to be pleased with the improvement shown by all three:
“Looking back at it, I think Reese Phillips probably had the most consistent spring, day in, day out in practice. Towles had the best spring game. He performed when the lights were on the best, and that carries some weight for sure. And then Barker, he really did some good things, especially being a year behind those guys. Those guys had a spring and a fall, and this is the first time he went out there and practiced 15 times, and he’s right there nipping at their heels,” Brown said.
Brown also stated that the competition is far from over, and that he’s hoping to see improvement made by the players over the summer:
“We’re just going to have better play,” he said. “And that’s the reason we didn’t name a starter. We wanted to carry it through the summer and see if these guys can make the same type of improvements they made during the winter, if they can make that over the summer.”
Kentucky fans should take comfort in those words, because the offensive coordinator isn’t one to mince words or sugar coat things when he thinks something is good or bad. He’s also seen his share of great college quarterbacks during his playing and coaching days at Kentucky and Texas Tech, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to quarterback play.
Kentucky’s future SEC opponents were released by the league office all the way through the 2025 season today, and there are some very interesting games for wildcat fans to look forward to in the coming years, including matchups with western division football powers:
- Auburn (Home 2015)
- Alabama (Away 2016)
- Ole Miss (Home 2017) and
- Texas A&M (Away 2018)
When Kentucky travels to College Station, Texas in 2018 to play the Texas A&M Aggies, it will be the first time the two teams have met since since 1953. The home team lost both ends of a home-and-home in 1952 and 1953, by a combined four points. Both teams also share a hall of fame head coach in Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Here is a complete list of Kentucky’s rotating western division opponents through 2025:
- 2014 at LSU
- 2015 vs Auburn
- 2016 at Alabama
- 2017 vs Ole Miss
- 2018 at TX A&M
- 2019 vs Arkansas
- 2020 at Auburn
- 2021 vs LSU
- 2022 at Ole Miss
- 2023 vs Alabama
- 2024 at Arkansas
- 2025 vs Texas A&M
UK’s permanent opponents in 2014 are:
Home: Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State
Away: Florida, Missouri and Tennessee
Avery Williamson was picked today in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans. Now Kentucky will have two former linebackers playing for Tennessee with former Wildcat Wesley Woodyard signing with the Titans earlier this year.
(Here is the press release by UK discussing Williamson being drafted):
“LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson was selected by his homestate team, the Tennessee Titans, in the fifth round of the National Football League Draft on Saturday.
“This is crazy!” an exuberant Williamson said from his hometown of Milan, Tenn. “It’s a great feeling to be at home, I’m very excited.
“I’d also like to say thanks for all the support I’ve had from my family, the coaches I’ve had over the years and the Big Blue Nation. I’m thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Williamson had a stellar career at Kentucky. He totaled 102 tackles in the 2013 season, ranking fourth in the Southeastern Conference. It was his second-consecutive campaign over the century mark. He also had four tackles for loss, a quarterback sack, three QB hurries and two fumble recoveries.
Williamson was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by College Sports Madness and was a second-team all-league pick by The Associated Press, SEC Coaches, ESPN.com, Phil Steele’s College Football and Athlon Sports. He also was on the watch lists for the Lott Trophy (nation’s best defensive player), Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker) and the Senior CLASS Award.
Williamson notched 135 tackles during his junior season, ranking second in the SEC in total tackles. He garnered second-team All-SEC from College Sports Madness and third-team all-league accolades from Phil Steele’s College Football.
Off the field, Williamson was active in the community and was named to the SEC Community Service Team.
Prior to Kentucky, Williamson was first-team all-state at Milan High School and was the 2009 West Tennessee Player of the Year as named by the Jackson Sun. He led his team to the state championship game as a junior and senior, setting a championship game record with 22 tackles as a senior in the 2009 title contest.
Williamson will join former Wildcat Wesley Woodyard in Nashville. Woodyard recently signed with the Titans as a free agent. Although they did not play together at Kentucky, they have met during Woodyard’s visits to Lexington.
Williamson is the first Kentucky player ever drafted by Tennessee. The last time a Wildcat was drafted by the franchise came in 1993 when offensive lineman Chuck Bradley was chosen when the team was known as the Houston Oilers.
The pick of Williamson marks the seventh consecutive year that Kentucky has had a player chosen in the NFL Draft and the second linebacker in the last three years. Danny Trevathan, taken by Denver in 2012, led the team last season with 129 tackles as the Broncos advanced to the Super Bowl.”
Here are the pictures of Woodyard signing with the Titans earlier this year: