Coach Cal has been magnificient in recruiting 3 straight #1 classes. However, thus far UK has not recruited a single player for 2012....they only have Ryan Harrow, a transfer from NC St.
Yes, we know that some recruits are waiting longer.... especially to see if the NBA will introduce a 2 yr. requirement for freshmen....and how would this affect UK's current terrific freshmen class.
Currently, only 10 of the top 35 ranked recruits in Rivals have commited to a college....so there still a lot of top recruits out there.....with many listing UK among schools they are considering.
The problem coach Cal has is that there could possibly be a huge loss from this seasons roster.....both in experience and talent.
For example: We know UK is losing Miller and Vargus who are both seniors. In addition, it is virtually assured that both Jones and Lamb will opt for the NBA. Add also the possibly that 2-3 of this season's freshmen class could also leave....that being Teague, Gilchrist and Davis.
So we know at least 4 players on this seasons roster are gone....Miller, Vargus, Jones and Lamb. It could reach as high as 7 players leaving depending on the year the freshmen have this season. My guess is that the number will be at least 5 players leaving and probably 6-7 players.
Now in losing Miller and Lamb....UK loses great experience and the two best perimeter shooters. Losing Jones off the frontline is a huge loss. In Davis, Gilchrist and Teague....UK has 3 of the most talented to play for UK. Any of these players leaving would be a tremendous loss in talent.
So, the likely roster for 2012 now would likely be Harrow, Beckham, Wiltjer, Poole and Hood( if he recovers OK from his ACL injury). The other 3 freshmen are a big question mark, but maybe one will return, but all 3 could easily leave. Of course, there could be a transfer out as well.
No, I'm not sweating bullets, but I am concerned that even as great a recruiter as coach Cal is.....replacing the likely talent and experience leaving would be a huge challenge for any coach. Bottom line, I believe that 2012 recruiting is placing great pressure on coach Cal. As I said, there are still a lot of highly ranked recruits still on the board, but Cal would need to bring in at least 5 very good recruits in 2012....if he falls short, UK talent will take a fall in 2012.
Hopefully, Cal can garner an early commitment or two to start the ball rolling. Unfortunately Cal is a victim of his own success as 2012 recruits looking at UK are worried about playing time not knowing which of UK's great freshmen might return.
If any coach in America can replenish what is likely a huge turnover in roster...it's coach Cal....but it won't be easy. Get er done Cal!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Kentucky released a statement a minutes ago via UKAthleticsNews twitter, stating that junior Jon Hood tore his ACL in a pickup game Monday and will undergo surgery once the inflammation subsides. The statement said, there is no timetable for his return. We at Wildcats Thunder wish Jon the best along with a healthy recovery.
WT Executive Moderator
In the 2011 college football season, head coach Joker Phillips and the Kentucky Wildcats will be utilizing many new faces on the offensive side of the ball. Several key players from one of the SEC's highest scoring offenses from last season are gone.
All-American wide receiver Randall Cobb was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Cobb elected to leave Lexington as a junior in the midst of an NFL lockout. Other key losses for the Wildcats include All-SEC running back Derrick Locke, All-SEC quarterback Mike Hartline and the Wildcats' second leading receiver, Chris Matthews.
I would venture to say every Kentucky fan cringes at the last paragraph. But there is certainly a bright future ahead for the Wildcats' depleted offense.
Morgan Newton, now a junior, will be taking over as the signal caller for the Wildcats. Newton started the last half of the season during his freshman year in place of injured Hartline. Newton played very well and showed he is the quarterback of the future for the Wildcats, leading them to a 5-3 record to round out the season. During his sophomore season, he played a backup role to Hartline. On the other hand, he started for the Wildcats in the BBVA Compass Bowl against Pittsburgh, playing extremely well despite a loss to the Panthers.
Newton has the tools to become an elite SEC quarterback. He possess an extremely strong arm, big upper body, great legs and is capable of gaining good yardage on the ground.
The question is: Will he have the support around him?
On the ground, the Wildcats have a plethora of young talent. Sophomore Raymond Sanders will be heading up the depth chart. He showed last season, as a true freshman—as well as in spring practice—that he is more than capable of taking the reins of running the ball.
Also of note, Josh Clemons, an extremely talented and high upside freshman, will also make a push for the starting job. Sophomore Jonathan George, junior CoShik Williams and redshirt freshman Brandon Gainer will also get carries during the season.
As you can see, the Wildcats are not without talent and depth on the ground.
The Wildcats returns one of the top offensive lines in the SEC heading into the season. Seniors Chandler Burden and Billy Joe Murphy will be the left and right tackles, respectively. Senior Stuart Hines and junior Larry Warford will be anchoring the middle at the guard positions. Junior Matt Smith will be snapping the ball to Newton.
The Wildcats return a vast amount of experience and talent in the trenches on the offensive side of the football. This offensive line will be one of the tops in the SEC.
Without question, the most impacted position—as a result of the loss of Randall Cobb and Chris Matthews—is the wide receiving corps. Quarterback Morgan Newton will be throwing passes to some pretty big question marks out wide.
Junior La'Rod King and sophomore Brian Adams will be the two best targets for Newton. Matt Roark, Gene McCaskill and E.J. Fields will also be on the field catching passes. As you can see, there will be quite a bit of inexperience out wide. Also, true freshman Daryl Collins is being labeled by many as "the next Randall Cobb."
The talent is there, but the big question is whether they be consistent in pressure situations like Cobb and Matthews.
At the tight end position, the Wildcats return everyone. This position is wide open with four players vying for the starting nod including Tyler Robinson, Nick Melillo, Anthony Kendrick and Jordan Aumiller. There is quite a bit of talent and depth at the tight end position, but which of these four players will get the starting nod post-summer camp?
The Wildcats lost quite a bit of firepower on the offensive side of the ball. The talent is there, but still questions remain.
All of the questions and position battles will become more clear after summer camp progresses and comes to a close.
But one thing is for sure: The Wildcat offense has a very bright future moving forward.
WT Executive Moderator
The Kentucky Wildcats finished 6-7 last season, while making their fifth-straight bowl game.
In 2011, the Wildcats will look to continue to rise up the SEC rankings. With the likes of Randall Cobb being drafted to the Green Bay Packers, and with Derrick Locke and Chris Matthews graduating, the Wildcats look to reload and continue to gain respect in the SEC and also on the national scene.
Football season is fast approaching and, like usual, nobody knows what is in store for the upcoming year of football ahead of us.
So here are five bold predictions for the Kentucky Wildcats in the 2011 season.
UK Will Upset Florida
The Cats vs. Gators football series has been a landslide (and that's an understatement) in favor of the Gators. Florida has beaten Kentucky for the last...well, let's just say two decades.
But the 2011 game will finally be the game the Cats break the curse.
On September 24, 2011, the Gators will roll into Commonwealth Stadium with new coach Will Muschamp, after a rivalry game with Tennessee and right before a tough stretch with a home game against Alabama and then games on the road at LSU and Auburn.
The Gators could very will be overlooking the feisty Wildcats, who could very well be 3-0 coming into the game.
The Gators will be the favorite, but the feisty Cats will have something to say in a trap game for the Gators.
The Losing Streak Against Tennessee Will Be Snapped
Much like Florida, Tennessee has been a thorn in Kentucky's side for the past two decades.
The Cats have had plenty of good chances and close calls against the Volunteers.
The Volunteers will roll into Lexington in late November for the annual border rivalry with Kentucky.
Tennessee has been in a slump for a couple of years and is looking to again rise to back to glory. The Cats and Vols will be matched in a hard-fought, tooth-and-nail game. The Cats, led by Morgan Newton under center, will be fired up, as well as the 70,000 people in Commonwealth Stadium.
Don't be surprised if this one goes into overtime. The Cats will take it.
UK Will Win 8 Regular-Season Games
For the first time in a long while, the Wildcats will win eight regular-season games.
Morgan Newton will have the offense rolling in the air. Raymond Sanders and freshman Josh Clemons will have the offense running over defenses on the ground. Also, Danny Trevathan and Winston Guy will have the new defensive scheme clicking on all cylinders.
I mentioned in my first two slides that UK will beat Florida and Tennessee. Add to that a 4-0 record in the out-of-conference schedule with wins over Louisville, Central Michigan, Western Kentucky and Jacksonville State.
Now add two SEC games against the likes of Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and possibly Mississippi State, and UK will have eight regular-season wins for the first time in recent memory.
Morgan Newton Will Throw for over 3,500 Yards
Morgan Newton is taking over the reins as UK's quarterback after the graduation of Mike Hartline.
A highly touted, 4-star player out of high school in 2009, Morgan Newton is now a junior. His freshman year, he started half of the season and led UK to a 5-2 record in his presence. His sophomore year, he played a backup role.
Now in his junior season, he is finally getting the chance to show his stuff along with former UK and SEC great quarterback, Andre Woodson mentoring him on the coaching staff.
Morgan Newton will emerge with his great arm and his legs out of the pocket as one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC.
Look for him to break some UK season records when his career at UK is over.
Kentucky Will Reach Their 6th-Straight Bowl Game
With my previous four bold predictions, UK will find itself with eight regular-season wins with a top SEC quarterback in Morgan Newton. They will find themselves in their sixth-straight bowl game.
If all goes as planned in these predictions, UK will find itself finishing third in the SEC East and reach a New Year's Day bowl game.
Kentucky will emerge as a respected SEC team and will make noise in the East. This is a new era of Kentucky football and the Cats are out for blood.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The 2011 Official Kentucky Football Yearbook is in stores this month. It's 128 pages of the most in-depth look at Kentucky football. Here’s what you'll find inside:
Tom Leach, on how Joker Phillips has been part of Kentucky football’s best years as a player and coach, and what he’s doing to ensure the program’s future success.
Inside the Mind of Minter — A Cat Scratches exclusive by Eric Lindsey The X’s and O’s behind Kentucky co-defensive coordinator Rick Minter’s revamped defense.
Sunday Service — Dick Gabriel on how Kentucky is putting more players in the NFL than ever.
Get all these, along with player Q&As, coaching staff profiles, opponent breakdowns and much more in your copy of the 2011 Official Kentucky Football Yearbook.
UK Fans can order the yearbook online by clicking here or by picking one up at your local Kentucky Kroger, Fan Outfitters and other select retail locations. Yearbooks also will be sold at Commonwealth Stadium throughout the season.
Monday, July 04, 2011
BluegrassHoops.com presents Anthony Davis and Marquis Teague of the Kentucky Wildcats at the Deron Williams and Amare Stoudemire Skills Academies in Chicago, Illinois.
Friday, July 01, 2011
WT Video Specialist
After an incredible Senior season, Josh Harrellson (Jorts) won the hearts of Kentucky fans everywhere. He will forever be one of the all time favorites of this storied program. Thanks for the memories, Josh. Good luck in the NBA.