Several members of the University of Kentucky coaching staff took advantage of UK's open date to hit the recruiting trail last week.
UK Coach Rich Brooks used last weekend's trip to Cincinnati for the Miami game to do some scouting, as he traveled via helicopter to check out Northern Kentucky prospects Austen Collinsworth (Highlands) and Miles Simpson (Simon Kenton).
The Wildcats have seven commitments for 2010: Ohio teammates Tyler Brause (6-4, 220, QB/ATH) and Teven Eatman, (6-7, 280 TE/OL), South Carolina defensive end Justin Henderson (6-4, 228); LaGrange kicker Joseph Mansour, Murfreesboro, Tenn., defensive lineman Tim McAdoo (6-2, 310) and Georgia running back Raymond Sanders (5-8, 175). And safety Mychal Bailey, a LaGrange (Ga.). product who signed with UK in 2007 before enrolling at Southwest Mississippi Junior College, is also expected to re-sign with the Cats in February.
Kentucky may not have the full allotment of 25 scholarships to work with. According to the roster in the UK media guide, the Cats have 84 players on scholarship for 2009, one short of the maximum allowed by the NCAA. UK is scheduled to lose 17 scholarship seniors. That would leave 18 scholarships for the 2010 class, although that number could rise with attrition.
The Cats appear to have struck gold in the 2009 class with a pair of juco recruits from Los Angeles Harbor College, wide receiver Chris Matthews and defensive end DeQuin Evans, and the UK staff has its eye on Harbor once again as the Cats try to fill out the 2010 class. Scout.com reported in August that Kentucky was looking at four players from Harbor: quarterback Dominique Blackmon, wide receiver Dwayne Frampton, cornerback Darryl Feemster, and defensive end Kyle Sharmon. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Blackmon was a three-star prospect out of high school who spent his freshman season at Washington before transferring to Harbor.
Rivals.com also reported that UK is the mix for Arterio Sloan, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound four-star corner from West Helena, Ark. Sloan recently decommitted from Nebraska and lists Auburn, Mississippi State and UK as his favorites according to Rivals.com. Sloan is being recruited by secondary coach Chris Thurmond. Rivals.com also reported that UK was the first to offer Xavier McFadden, a 5-foot-11, 165-pound three-star WR/DB from Rock Hill, S.C. Kentucky has also offered P.J. Clyburn, a three-star safety from Statesville, N.C. who also has offers from Arkansas, Illinois and N.C. State.
Hartline to miss brother's NFL debut
The Cats were given Friday and Saturday off from practice, which allowed many of the players to go home for the weekend. UK quarterback Mike Hartline's brother, Brian, is set to make his NFL debut as a receiver for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in Atlanta, but with the team scheduled to return to the practice field Sunday, Hartline won't be able to attend.
"It would have been nice, because they're playing close, within driving distance," Hartline said. "But we've been talking. He's really happy about making the team. Things are going great. It's almost surreal. It's hard to believe your brother has made it that far with all he's been through and how hard he's worked."
Book on Lyons legacy to hit stands
True Blue, a book chronicling the Kentucky football career of Dicky Lyons Sr. and Dicky Lyons Jr. hit the newsstands this week. The book is written by Leslie Lyons, the sister of Dicky Lyons Jr. To order the book, visit setshotpress.com. There will be a book signing on Friday at Wildcat Wearhouse in Fayette Mall from 6:30-7.
Lyons Jr. starts new business venture
Dicky Lyons Jr., who was released shortly after signing a free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons, has returned to Lexington to start Lyonheart Sports Academy LLC, a training facility that works with athletes of all ages in the development of strength in the athlete for sport-specific skills, as well as speed and conditioning for on-field performance. Former Wildcat cornerback Shomari Moore is Lyons' partner in the agency. The two former Cats hosted a camp this weekend and plan to expand the program in the coming weeks. For more info visit www.wix.com/lyonheart/lhsa
Coming off the bye week
2003: Kentucky lost both of its games following a bye in Brooks' first season, a 27-21 road loss at South Carolina and a 27-17 loss at Vanderbilt.
2004: The Cats' two best performances in an otherwise drab year both came off open dates, as they pounded Indiana 51-32 and battled Tennessee to the wire before falling 37-31 in the regular-season finale at Knoxville. That performance propelled Joker Phillips into the vacant offensive coordinator position.
2005: UK laid eggs on both of its open dates, getting pounded 44-16 at South Carolina and dropping a 13-7 snoozefest to Ole Miss in Oxford.
2006: This was the first season of the 12-game schedule. Kentucky had just been embarrassed 49-0 at LSU and rumors were swirling about Brooks' future before UK used the bye to regroup and post a 34-31 road win at Mississippi State that began the turnaround that led to a Music City Bowl bid.
2007: A tired and worn down UK team had been whipped at home 31-14 by Mississippi State before a much-needed bye. The Cats recharged its battery and went to Nashville and picked up a 27-20 win over a Jay Cutler-led Vanderbilt squad.
2008: UK whipped Western Kentucky 41-3 after its first open date. Then the Cats walked into a tough situation following its second bye, as they had to go to Tennessee to face the Vols in Phil Fulmer's finale. UT won going away, 28-10.
Chip Cosby covers UK football for the Herald-Leader. This article includes his opinions and observations. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.