National Signing Day Means Another New Class of ‘Cats


Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 5 stories making headlines for Kentucky Wildcats athletics for 5 February 2015.

National Signing Day is over. And though it won’t be known for a couple of year whether this year’s class will have a meaningful impact on the Kentucky football program, NSD 2015, and the days leading up to it, was a roller coaster ride for the coaching staff and fans. Kyle Tucker writes:

"“After a mass exodus and fan panic, when the dust settled and the ink dried on national letters of intent Wednesday, coach Mark Stoops and the University of Kentucky football program ended up with a very nice 2015 recruiting class.Stoops and his staff had to scramble as signing day approached, after a staggering six players in the span of eight days backed out of verbal commitments to the Wildcats. Some of UK’s highest-profile pledges ended up at Ohio State and Michigan State instead. But Kentucky steadied the ship and landed seven new players in the final two days of this cycle.”"

Yes, there were some late defections with this year’s signing class. And, as a result the class is probably not as strong as it could have been. But Mark Stoops isn’t focusing on who isn’t coming to Lexington. Jen Smith writes:

"“When Kentucky’s football coaches look at the massive blue-and-white recruiting board in their office, they don’t see some names they expected to see there a month ago.They don’t see some names littered with stars by recruiting services, as the Cats’ class was at this time last season.But when Mark Stoops looked over the 23 names on the big board Wednesday, he wasn’t thinking about the six commitments UK lost in the past two weeks or the nine overall.‘I want to concentrate on the victories that we have in this group because there’s a lot of guys in here … that we had to fight awfully hard to keep against some very good teams,’ the Kentucky coach said on national signing day.”"

Undefeated talk is growing and even though Calipari and the players say they’re not talking about it, everyone else seems to be. As the regular season enters the homestretch, finding reasons why the ‘Cats can’t go undefeated is becoming harder and harder. Matt King writes:

"“Kentucky, currently sitting at 22-0, I try not to focus too much on the record or even the results of a game. Instead, I look at how they’re developing individually and as a team. If anything, I’m overly critical and focus on their flaws because that’s what shows a team’s true colors.But now? Screw it. This team is going undefeated.I’m sorry. I tried to hold off as long as I could. And I understand if an 11-point victory over a Georgia team missing their leading scorer seems like an odd time to declare invincibility. But I think I’m finally convinced.”"

AJ Reed had an incredible season with the Bat Cats last year. And on Wednesday night, he was honored as the Kentucky Sportsman of the Year. Jonathan Lintner writes:

"“Former University of Kentucky baseball player AJ Reed was on Wednesday night named the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Kentucky Sportsman of the Year at the Bluegrass Sports Awards.Reed, selected 42nd overall by the Houston Astros last summer, was the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year.”"

Norris Cole is a pretty decent basketball player for the Miami Heat. But yeah, he made the dumbest play of the year at the end of the game Wednesday night against Minnesota. Troy Machir writes:

"“You can bash Heat guard Norris Cole for many things, but don’t dare bash him for trying to play basketball the right way.He knows the big man is supposed to inbound the ball to the guard. That’s how basketball works. If a guard inbounds to a big man, well, that’s just not how things are supposed to work in his mind.The issue with that thinking is you don’t get a chance to start over. Cole tried to, but that’s called a turnover.”"