Kentucky Wildcats in a dog fight for the Governor's Cup and John Calipari's a Recruiting Machine

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Sep 7, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops before the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 7, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops before the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

From what I hear, there is a football game being played this weekend. Cats and Cards I think? Louisville Hate Week I’ve been told? Yeah, who cares. Though the actual game for the Governor’s Cup will be played at Noon this Saturday, the real game has already been played by way of recruiting. You see, recruiting is a business but kids LOVE rivalries. Especially ones with the vileness of this one.

There are big implications with any rivalry game.

But the ripples from this year’s Louisville-Kentucky game could extend to Ohio and beyond.

Both UK Coach Mark Stoops and Cardinals Coach Charlie Strong discussed the potential recruiting significance of this year’s version of the annual rivalry at their news conferences this week.

Despite winning two in a row in the rivalry and guiding the team with the Heisman Trophy candidate and national championship dreams, Strong seemed to feel the intensity getting cranked up.

“When teams have something to play for, then it becomes a bigger game and it will become bigger, because now you get the recruiting on both sides,” Strong said. “You look at two programs that are beginning to take steps now and when those steps are taken, you get the program into a position where you need to get it to, then those games will have more meaning to it.”

The Louisville coach noted how the two schools suddenly have similar geographical interests.

“Both of us are trying to get into Ohio,” he said. “They have some commitments in Ohio, we’re both into Florida, we’re both in the city here. We’ll always battle them in recruiting.”

Stoops, who is new to this rivalry but all too familiar with the Florida-Florida State version, said he was curious to see if the game would have a broader effect.

“It didn’t impact recruiting at Florida State-Florida, it really didn’t,” Stoops said. “A lot of our guys were committed before that game, to be honest with you. I don’t know whether it will impact recruiting or not. I really don’t know.”

‘Not going to get any easier’

Recent history is not on Kentucky’s side as it begins a brutal five-week stretch that includes four straight games against teams ranked in the nation’s top 18.

Kentucky hosts No. 7 Louisville on Saturday. After a week off, No. 18 Florida visits. Then comes a trip to No. 13 South Carolina and a home game against top-rated Alabama.

But one of Mark Stoops great surprises in the demolition of Miami (OH) last weekend was the emergence of Ryan Timmons.  The kid was a beast.  He spent as much time in the backfield breaking off runs as he did streaking down the sidelines or across the middle catching passes.  Remind you of anyone?  If he returns punts and plays a little QB we’ll need to check his DNA.  Now that you know all I love about Timmons, check out how Coach Stoops feels.

What is there about Ryan Timmons that Kentucky coach Mark Stoops  likes the most?

“We felt all along, you’ve heard me talk about that really since we’ve recruited him. You could watch him on film and see a very good football player. Just a guy that does a lot of things well,” Stoops said.  “And I’ve said it before, he may not be the fastest or the biggest or whatever, but he’s just a good football player.

“So we liked that about him, and he fits into our offense, as you can tell, because we do a lot of different things. I think we’ve been very good and very creative with him to get him the ball.”

Not to be left out of any recruiting conversation, Coach Cal has been hot on the trail of a couple recruits in a couple different classes and it looks like that journey can end this Friday with Tyler Ulis.

Marian Catholic guard Tyler Ulis will make his college choice on Friday at approximately 7:20 pm, live on High School Cube News.

Ulis’ announcement will take place right before Marian Catholic’s football team hosts Carmel. The decision will be live streamed on the front page of High School Cube News.

The 5-8 guard, ranked No. 29 in the country by Scout, is deciding between Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan State.

Ulis finished up his final official visit on Monday as he watched Kentucky’s alumni game in Lexington. The Wildcats are considered the favorites to land Ulis. Iowa was the first major school to offer a scholarship and Ulis has remained loyal to the Hawkeyes since then, keeping them on his list through every cut.

Michigan State was long considered the favorite, until Kentucky and coach John Calipari stepped in with an offer over the summer.


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