Joker Phillips' first spring recruiting period has been a rousing success, as the Wildcats picked up five commitments in May to bring their total to eight. This time last year, UK had just one commitment, South Carolina defensive end Justin Henderson.
And the Cats aren't just going for quantity over quality. Two of the commitments, Bryan Station offensive lineman Darrian Miller and Eastern tight end Jon Davis, are four-star recruits according to Scout.com. Last year's class contained just one four-star recruit, kicker Joe Mansour.
Another Wildcat recruit, East St. Louis defensive back Glen Faulkner, has been chosen to play in U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio next winter. Defensive tackle Clint Tucker, Faulkner's high school teammate who committed last week, has been nominated to play in the Under Armour All-American Game.
Phillips credits most of the early recruiting success to his staff, particularly newcomers Tee Martin, David Turner and Mike Summers.
"Our staff has been pretty aggressive in getting guys offered, calling and staying on top of the coaches and really getting after it," Phillips said. "It's really been a team effort. A lot of times one guy gets the credit, but it's been the whole staff. A guy has to be just as comfortable with his position coach as he is with the guy recruiting him. We've all tried to double- and triple-team up on guys."
But Phillips also knows there's a long way between now and national signing day next February and that his staff will have to work just as hard to hold on to those commitments. In the past, Kentucky has identified diamonds in the rough early and gotten commitments before having to fight off the big boys.
"When you get early commitments you know who your competition is," Phillips said. "We know who's up against us and they'll try and use certain things against us every year. We've just got to continue to recruit and hold on to these guys."
The Wildcats aren't expected to have the full allotment of 25 scholarships but Phillips said the staff will continue to recruit aggressively throughout the summer.
"We can't turn away great people who want to come here," Phillips said. "Sometimes it's a little lopsided, but we want to sign at least 18-20 every year regardless. It usually works out."
Preview magazines out; Cobb 2nd-team All-America
The Lindy's and Athlon college football preview magazines hit newsstands last week. Lindy's had UK ranked 63rd out of the 120 FBS teams and placed the Cats 11th out of 12 in the SEC, predicting a fifth-place finish in the East. Athlon also had Kentucky finishing fifth in the SEC East. Defending national champion Alabama was the No. 1 team in both magazines.
Also, Kentucky junior Randall Cobb was a second-team All-America selection by Athlon as an all-purpose player. Cobb was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press and ESPN.com last year when he ranked second in the league in touchdowns, third in punt returns, fourth in all-purpose yardage and seventh in scoring.
Cats GPA rises
In Phillips' first official semester as head coach, the football team's collective grade-point average rose from 2.35 in the fall to 2.66 in the spring.
"I'm very pleased," Phillips said. "We had over 40 guys with a 3.0. We still have a couple of guys that haven't bought in, but if they can do what they're supposed to do our GPA will be even higher."
Hall of Fame weekend
The Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend will be held June 18 and 19. The induction ceremony, which will include Bill Arnsparger, Gary Shirk, Joe Jacoby, Cris Dishman and Yeremiah Bell, will take place on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Lexington Opera House. Two former NFL greats will also be recognized: Jim Brown will receive the Blanton Collier Award, and Paul Hornung will be honored as well. The weekend also includes a Hall of Fame VIP after-party on Friday night and a Hall of Fame Golf Shootout on Saturday. For more information contact the NFL Players Association Kentucky Chapter at (859) 276-3488.
'Best of the Bluegrass' set
The 'Best of the Bluegrass' all-star football game will take place Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. at St. Xavier High School. The game will pit 40 players from the Louisville area against 40 players representing the rest of the state. Player nominations and selections will take place in the fall.
West Point graduate
Lesa Boyd, the daughter of former UK letterman Lester Boyd and his wife, Nila, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy last weekend. Boyd ran track and was the drum major of the band her senior year. Boyd was one of only 54 African-Americans in the graduating class of 1,002 and one of just 135 females. President Barack Obama spoke at the graduation ceremony.
'Hop' Brown golf scramble
The third annual John "Hop" Brown Golf Scramble will take place on July 3 at 9 a.m. at Eagle Trace Golf Course in Morehead. John "Hop" Brown, who died of brain cancer in 2003, was one of the most successful girls' high school basketball coaches in state history. Brown's daughter, Kandi, who helped lead her dad's West Carter team to the 2000 state title, is married to former UK wide receiver Gerad Parker.
Proceeds from the tournament will go Relay for Life and cancer research. For more information contact Sharon Brown at Sharon.email@example.com or Gerad Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org