Kentucky Football’s Youth Movement


Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

When the college football season kicks off next month, Kentucky will be one of the youngest and least experienced teams in the SEC. Almost half of the team has never played a down of college football. Jennifer Smith writes:

"“Sixty-one of the Cats’ current non-finalized roster of 104 released on July 14 are freshmen, sophomores or transfers who have yet to play a down of football.That’s a lot of new players with different learning curves to accommodate in a short amount of time.For Kentucky, it’s going to mean going back to the basics for the offense, which returns six primary starters, but will be relying on inexperienced players at key positions such as quarterback, tight end and wide receiver.”"

One reason Stoops & Co have been successful on the recruiting trail is their ability to get commitments from guys who have flown under the radar, before bigger and more heralded programs take interest. Larry Wells, an offensive lineman from Kenton, Ohio is one of those guys. Ben Roberts writes:

"“Other programs have taken notice in the months since he pledged to the Wildcats.Michigan State assistant coach Mike Tressel stopped by Wells’ high school a few weeks ago. Late last week, Tressel called Wells with a scholarship offer.…Ohio State has also been staying in regular contact. Surely an offer from the Buckeyes — the Big Ten powerhouse that plays just an hour from Wells’ hometown — would cause him to think twice about UK.‘I don’t care about them at all,’ he said.”"

Malik Newman is one of John Calipari’s top targets for the Class of 2015. Newman is top shooting guard in the country and the second overall player in his class. He is a package deal (supposedly) with Diamond Stone, the top center in the country and sixth overall player in the Class of 2015. And Newman has his own brand. Jason King writes:

"“Newman—just 17 years old—also has his own professional website.Log on to, and you’ll find videos chronicling Newman’s junior year of high school, a bullet-point list of his career achievements dating back to seventh grade and links to newspaper articles about the 6’3” guard from Jackson, Mississippi.There’s even a “Lifestyle” section with photos of Newman posing in designer threads. And in the site’s top left corner of each page, a bold letter “M” sits on top of an “N.”That’s right. Newman has his own logo.”"

Keelon Lawson is a high school coach in Memphis. He is the last coach to lead a city school to the Tennessee state championship. He is also the father of three elite high school basketball prospects, one of whom recently committee to play for Josh Pastner’s Memphis Tigers and another who is considering committing to Memphis. On Wednesday, Keelon Lawson was hired by Pastner as an assistant coach for Memphis. Jeff Goodman writes:

"“He is the father of three heralded recruits. The oldest, K.J. Lawson, is a 6-foot-7 wing ranked 37th in the country by He has committed to play at Memphis.Dedric Lawson is a 6-8 power forward in the Class of 2016 who is ranked seventh in the country by Chandler Lawson is a 6-6 wing who is ranked No. 1 overall in the Class of 2019 by one recruiting site.The family is also related to current Memphis assistant Robert Kirby.Dedric Lawson recently told, which initially reported the possibility of Pastner hiring Lawson, that he likely would commit to Memphis if his father joins the Tigers’ staff. He is also strongly considering Kentucky.‘That would probably seal the deal for me, to commit to Memphis,’ Dedric told last week at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas.”"

One of the most awkward moments of last night’s ESPY awards was Drake blowing into Lance Stephenson’s ear. Coach Cal, in attendance and sitting two rows behind Stephenson, seemed to enjoy the moment, as you can see from this picture: