On the field, nothing was really going right and the top players weren't exactly lining up to sign their names on letters of intent from either school.
But in the past few months, things have changed. Neither team has won a game or even stepped onto a field for a meaningful game, but both programs are currently feeling the sort of recruiting momentum reserved for top schools. And to find the source of all that momentum, look no further than the two new head coaches in charge.
The hirings of Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Butch Jones at Tennessee came with mixed reviews from the masses, but one thing everyone knew was that they'd have the ability to make some waves in recruiting. But I highly doubt anyone thought the swells would reach these heights.
If you look at ESPN's current recruiting class rankings you'll see both Tennessee and Kentucky in the top 11. Tennessee currently sits sixth, while Kentucky is at No. 11. The Vols are only behind Alabama (No. 2) and Texas A&M (No. 3) in the SEC, and both are ahead of Georgia (No. 13), Auburn (No. 14) and Ole Miss (No. 15).
Other recruiting services have the Vols and Cats ranked within the top five in their rankings, too. Everyone seems impressed with these two coaches, and it's easy to see why.
Jones already has verbal commitments from 16 players, including two ESPN 150 members in running back Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech Senior) and safety Todd Kelly Jr. (Knoxville, Tenn./Webb School Of Knoxville). Six of Tennessee's commitments are ESPN 300 members and eight are four-star prospects.
Hurd was a huge get for Jones. He's an elite back who could come in and contribute right away for the Vols. He's also the type of player other prospects can rally around and want to play with.
As for Stoops and Kentucky, the Wildcats -- fresh off of offering a 13-year-old prospect -- have an SEC-high 18 commits with one ESPN 150 player -- defensive end Denzel Ware (Crestview, Fla.) -- and five ESPN 300 members, including No. 6 pocket passing quarterback Drew Barker. Ware actually spent two stints committed to Florida State before committing to Kentucky.
Both of these coaches have been very pleasant surprises on the recruiting trail since their arrivals. People wondered if a more defensive-minded coach like Stoops, who was Florida State's defensive coordinator before taking the Kentucky job, could reel in the kind of offensive players needed to get Kentucky going again. Well, he signed top junior college receiver Javess Blue and lured four-star receiver Ryan Timmons away from Florida and Ohio State in the Wildcats' 2013 class.
So far in his 2014 class he's managed to get commitments from three ESPN 300 offensive players. Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy) is the No. 16 running back in the country, while Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio) is the No. 25 receiver nationally.
And Jones has Tennessee's recruiting class loaded with stars like the old days. People wondered if he'd be able to recruit the Southeast, but he's put those reservations in the past with the way he's pounded the pavement around these parts. Oh, and let's not forget the fact that he signed ESPN 150 receiver Marquez North and ESPN 300 quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson, who will compete for starting jobs this fall.
The past struggles at both universities haven't shaken either one of these coaches on the recruiting trail. They're recruiting with the big boys and they're holding their own. It's still a long way until national signing day, but these coaches are on a roll.
Imagine what they could do if they start winning on the field.
Crazy to think where the UK/UT programs were this time last year and how much excitement both programs seem to have moving forward.
WKU Football Named Preseason Favorite in SBC by Sporting News
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU has been named the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 according to the recently released college football preview from The Sporting News. WKU is followed in the ranking by Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State. In addition, senior running back Antonio Andrews has been named a preseason All-America selection by the organization.
Andrews is a third-team selection to the 2013 Sporting News All-America Team as an all-purpose player. Andrews led WKU in all-purpose yards (3,161), rushing yards (1,728), touchdowns (15), scoring (90), kick return yards (726), punt return yards (234) and carries (304) in 2012. His 3,161 all-purpose yards were the most in school history and the second-highest total ever behind 1988 Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders. Andrews and Sanders are the only two players in NCAA history to eclipse 3,000 all-purpose yards in a single season. Andrews also broke WKU’s single-season rushing record and led the Sun Belt Conference with 1,728 yards while making WKU the fifth program in NCAA history to post three consecutive 1,500 yards rushers (Bobby Rainey 2010-11).
Andrews, offensive lineman Sean Conway, linebacker Andrew Jackson, and defensive back Jonathan Dowling were also all named Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference selections by the publication. The Sporting News also named Andrews as the “most elusive running back” in the Sun Belt Conference and Jackson as the player with the “best instincts” and “hardest hitter.” Jackson is also listed as the top NFL prospect in the league. The publication also lists WKU as the program current ascending in the Sun Belt Conference.
Season tickets for the 2013 home football schedule are on sale now through WKUSports.com, by visiting the WKU Ticket Office in E.A. Diddle Arena or by calling 1-800-5 BIG RED.
In addition to season tickets, single game tickets for the game with Kentucky in Nashville on Aug. 31 at 6:00 p.m. CT are currently on sale. Tickets are priced at $67 for club level, $47 for lower level sideline, $32 for upper sideline and $22 for upper corner. To ensure seating in the WKU fan sections, all fans are encouraged to order tickets through the WKU Ticket Office. General public tickets may be ordered online at WKUSports.com or by calling 1-800-5-BIG RED or 270-745-5222 locally. Parking passes for this game may be ordered through Ticketmaster.com or through the WKU Ticket Office. The first 4,000 WKU students at the game on August 31 with a valid ID will receive a free ticket to the game. After 4,000, student tickets will be $13.
For complete coverage of WKU Football, visit www.wkusports.com.
New Western Kentucky football coach Bobby Petrino will be at the “Toppers on Tour” event at 6 p.m. Monday at Heritage Hill Golf Club in Shepherdsville.
Also expected to be at the stop to meet fans are athletic director Todd Stewart, men's basketball coach Ray Harper, women's basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard and volleyball coach Travis Hudson.
The event is free, and a buffet dinner is available for $20.
Other tour stops are in Owensboro Tuesday, Nashville Thursday, Elizabethtown June 17 and Glasgow on June 18.
There are a ton of WKU fans in the Louisville area, it will be interesting to see how much the former Cardinal coach will get while in town.
Via: Myron Medcalf | ESPN.com
The recruiting world is governed, in part, by the gurus who assign stars and rankings to young prospects.
From an early age, the best basketball players in America are compared to one another. So as they evolve, they’re always cognizant of where they stand and where their rivals stand.
And they all covet that No. 1 slot.
I think that’s a necessary transition to a discussion about recent comments made by Memphis signee Kuran Iverson, who believes the Tigers’ recruiting class will surpass the incoming crew that John Calipari has assembled at Kentucky.
The latter has been called the greatest recruiting class in NCAA history by many seasoned scribes and analysts. It features six McDonald’s All-Americans: Julius Randle, James Young, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee.
But Iverson, who is related to Allen Iverson, is not impressed. On Sunday, he told SNY.tv that Memphis’ freshmen will be better than Kentucky’s:
We can be great,” the 6-foot-9 cousin of Allen Iverson told SNY.tv after scoring 12 points as Team Perseverance lost to Team Courage, 116-110, in the Mary Kline Senior Game on Sunday.
“Everybody talking about Kentucky hype, but there ain’t really gonna be no Kentucky hype. There’s gonna be some Memphis hype.”
Do you think you guys are better than them?
“Yeah, way better,” he said. “Way better. They talented, we work hard.”
Not just better. “Way better” than an incoming class that’s been called the best of the best.
Well, I admire his confidence. Would you expect anything less from someone who’s related to Allen “We talkin’ ’bout practice” Iverson?
Iverson, a 6-9 forward ranked 33rd in the 2013 class per RecruitingNation, also tells the site that he’d like to play point guard for the Tigers next season.
Again, he has the confidence that any coach would want a freshman to possess. And what is he supposed to say? “There’s no chance that we’ll be better than Kentucky next year.”
People would call him a pessimist if he did. But it’s difficult to envision a situation that involves Memphis’ youngsters outplaying Kentucky’s freshmen in 2013-14.
We’ve never seen anything like this.
Kentucky’s talented group will join returning players who could have been first-round picks last year (Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein). Sure, a few of the six McDonald’s All-Americans could struggle next season. But all six? Doubtful.
And there will be even more Kentucky hype as the season approaches, Mr. Iverson. A lot of it. Perhaps an unprecedented buzz.
Now, Josh Pastner has an impressive class.
Iverson, Austin Nichols and Nick King anchor a group of freshmen that’s ranked third overall by RecruitingNation behind Kentucky and Andrew Wiggins. … I mean, Kansas.
Still, I can’t see how it outperforms Kentucky’s group. Maybe I’ll be -- we’ll be -- wrong.
One thing is certain: Iverson’s comments have magnified the spotlight on Memphis’ freshmen. More for them to prove, I guess.
Good luck with that one.
Via: Phil Steele
Today, I finish up releasing my 2013 Preseason All-Conference Teams with the SEC Team and today you can check out my preseason All-SEC Team below.
Phil Steele released his preseason All-SEC football teams today and Kentucky didn’t make a lot of noise on the lists. Only three of the 112 total selections are Wildcats, the lowest representation from any team in the conference. Leading the pack for UK is linebacker Avery Williamson on Steele’s All-SEC second team, followed by defensive end Alvin “Bud” Dupree and punter Landon Foster on the fourth squad.
|1st TEAM||2nd TEAM||3rd TEAM||4th TEAM|
|QB||Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M||AJ McCarron, Alabama||Aaron Murray, Georgia||Jeff Driskel, Florida|
|RB||TJ Yeldon, Alabama||LaDarius Perkins, Miss St||Brandon Williams, A&M||Keith Marshall, Georgia|
|RB||Todd Gurley, Georgia||Tre Mason, Auburn||Jeremy Hill, LSU||Jeff Scott, Mississippi|
|WR||Amari Cooper, Alabama||Odell Beckham, LSU||Dorial Green-Beckham, Mizz||Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida|
|WR||Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt||Donte Moncrief, Mississippi||Kevin Norwood, Alabama||Michael Bennett, Georgia|
|WR||Mike Evans, Texas A&M||Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia||Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt||Jarvis Landry, LSU|
|TE||Arthur Lynch, Georgia||Rory Anderson, S Carolina||CJ Uzomah, Auburn||(WR) Ja-Mes Logan, Miss|
|C||Travis Swanson, Arkansas||James Stone, Tennessee||Jonotthan Harrison, Florida||Reese Dismukes, Auburn|
|OG||Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St||AJ Cann, South Carolina||Aaron Morris, Mississippi||Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M|
|OG||Anthony Steen, Alabama||Zach Fulton, Tennessee||Chris Burnette, Georgia||Jon Halapio, Florida|
|OT||Jake Matthews, Texas A&M||Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt||Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee||Kenarious Gates, Georgia|
|OT||Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama||Antonio Richardson, Tenn||La’el Collins, LSU||John Theus, Georgia|
|1st TEAM||2nd TEAM||3rd TEAM||4th TEAM|
|DL||Jadeveon Clowney, S Carolina||Ronald Powell, Florida||Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss||Ed Stinson, Alabama|
|DL||Anthony Johnson, LSU||Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama||Byran Jones, Arkansas||Walker May, Vanderbilt|
|DL||Daniel McCullers, Tennessee||Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina||Kony Ealy, Missouri||Alvin Dupree, Kentucky|
|DL||Dominique Easley, Florida||Chris Smith, Arkansas||Denico Autry, Mississippi St||CJ Johnson, Mississippi|
|LB||CJ Mosley, Alabama||Lamin Barrow, LSU||Jordan Jenkins, Georgia||Mike Marry, Mississippi|
|LB||AJ Johnson, Tennessee||Trey DePriest, Alabama||Andrew Wilson, Missouri||Karl Butler, Vanderbilt|
|LB||Adrian Hubbard, Alabama||Avery Williamson, Kentucky||Antonio Morrison, Florida||Curt Maggitt, Tennessee|
|LB||Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss||Benardrick McKinney, Miss St||Amarlo Herrera, Georgia||Chase Garnham, Vanderbilt|
|CB||Deion Belue, Alabama||Damian Swann, Georgia||Jalen Mills, LSU||Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida|
|CB||Andre Hal, Vanderbilt||Marcus Roberson, Florida||EJ Gaines, Missouri||Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss|
|S||Craig Loston, LSU||Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama||Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt||Jaylen Watkins, Florida|
|S||HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama||Nickoe Whitley, Miss St||Byron Moore, Tennessee||Demetruce McNeal, Auburn|
|1st TEAM||2nd TEAM||3rd TEAM||4th TEAM|
|K||Carey Spear, Vanderbilt||Cody Parkey, Auburn||Zach Hocker, Arkansas||Andrew Baggett, Missouri|
|P||Kyle Christy, Florida||Cody Mandell, Alabama||Baker Swedenburg, Miss St||Landon Foster, Kentucky|
|KR||Andre Debose, Florida||Jameon Lewis, Mississippi St||Marcus Murphy, Missouri||Jaylen Walton, Mississippi|
|PR||Marcus Murphy, Missouri||Odell Beckham, LSU||Jonathan Krause, Vanderbilt||Christion Jones, Alabama|
The Cats look to improve following last season with Joker... Stoops hopes that these three players that made All-SEC can help with that.
Written by Vince Ellis Detroit Free Press Sports Writer
Point guard Peyton Siva has had a few good weeks.
After helping lead Louisville to the national championship in April, the good fortune continued earlier this month when he put in one of the best athletic performances at the NBA predraft combine in Chicago.
He impressed last week in a joint Nets-Rockets-Clippers combine in Brooklyn, N.Y., and he visited the Pistons this week for a predraft workout.
Undersized at 6-feet-1, Siva is considered a second-round prospect. The Pistons have two second-round picks (37th and 56th overall) in the June 27 draft.
“He’s real , (has) great speed,” Nets director of player personnel Gregg Polinsky told the New York Post at the Brooklyn combine. “What do you say? Winning culture, he’s been coached, can take all you can give him ... he’s going to get some looks.”
He improved his stock when he displayed a maximum vertical leap of more than 40 inches and bench pressed 185 pounds 15 times in Chicago.
Siva said in Chicago and in Brooklyn that he was headed to work out in Detroit. Marquette prospect Vander Blue, who is trying to show he can play the point, said in Chicago he would also be a part of the Pistons’ workout.
Hoopsworld reported Kansas prospect Elijah Johnson and Iona guard Momo Jones were part of Monday’s workout, so it’s evident the Pistons were looking at point guard prospects.