John Clay's notes: Joker made savvy recruiting moves

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistAugust 31, 2011 

Random notes:

■ As a blog reader points out, the one true freshman atop the Kentucky football depth chart is a player taken late in the recruiting process.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound D.J. Warren, from Randall Cobb's old high school in Alcoa, Tenn., had been committed to Chattanooga until the Cats extended a scholarship offer just before signing day.

Chattanooga? How can the Cats compete in the SEC with players who nearly went to Chattanooga?

Fast-forward seven months to Monday when Warren was listed as UK's No. 1 fullback, ahead of sophomore Cody Jones.

Head coach Joker Phillips has been careful not to mention freshmen by name, but he let it slip during camp that he thought he had a young fullback who was "going to be a very good player in this league for a long time."

Goes to show that recruiting is a very tricky business.

■ How can UK's student newspaper be breaking the school's media policy of contacting student-athletes when the students in question had not yet been announced as athletes?

■ As a general rule, if journalists waited for the powers that be to tell them who they can talk to and when they can talk to them, we would never find out much of anything.

■ So why exactly is a cash-strapped state such as Kentucky forking out $3.6 million to help a private enterprise known as the Kentucky Speedway? I know, the NASCAR race supposedly generated $150 million in economic impact. But why should the taxpayers, most of whom did not attend the race, be forced to pay the bill when there are so many other needs right now?

■ Same goes for Rupp Arena. I say kudos to Mayor Jim Gray for making every effort to study the Rupp Arena issue. The last thing the city needs is a quick acquiescence to the university's wishes.

■ Good for Bruce Pearl, who has decided to leave coaching (for the time being) and join a Knoxville marketing firm for a grocery chain. Pearl sold Tennessee on basketball. Too bad he couldn't sell the NCAA it wasn't him in that photograph.

■ South Carolina's third-string quarterback was injured in a moped crash when he was trying to carry a pizza. Andrew Clifford should be OK, but he will miss the next two to three weeks, Steve Spurrier said. For John Calipari's sake, I hope the pizza wasn't Papa John's.

■ If weather were treated like sports on radio talk shows, Irene would be blasted for underachieving.

■ LSU lost its most experienced offensive lineman on Monday. At this rate, Les Miles may have to suit up himself when the Tigers play Oregon in Arlington on Saturday night. I wouldn't put it past him.

■ Which genius at Disney decided to put LSU-Oregon (ABC) and Georgia-Boise State (ESPN) up against each other in prime time anyway?

■ More bad news for Cedric Benson. Sentenced to 20 days in jail, the Bengals running back will serve the term during Cincinnati's bye week. That guy just can't catch a break.

■ Monday night on Twitter, news that Texas A&M may formally be leaving the Big 12 sparked the hashtag #SECApplicationQuestions. Here were three: (1) Is your football team's budget comparable to the state budget for education? (2) Have you ever parked your RV on a rival's campus ... on Tuesday. (3) Can you win the national championship?

■ My two: (1) Do you consider barbecue to be a major food group? (2) Do your fans buy basketball season tickets just to remain on the waiting list for football season tickets?

■ Remember, on my blog ( we spotlight one UK fan on Twitter every weekday.

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