Larry Vaught

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UK Football: Two Players You May Not Know But Definitely Should

A.J. Rose (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

Do you know who was the wealthiest person in the world in 2017?  Most people do. Or they probably could make a pretty good guess. It’s Bill Gates, who along with Paul Allen, founded Microsoft in 1975. In 2017 Forbes reported that Bill Gates was worth an estimated $87.8 billion dollars. 
But here is the interesting part. Can you guess the second wealthiest person according to Forbes in 2017? Most people probably could not. His name is Amancio Ortega. He founded Inditex Fashion Group which includes the Zara Clothing Line. They operate 7,000 retail outlets throughout Europe. His estimated worth in 2017 was $85.8 billion dollars. 
And how does this relate to UK Sports? Ok, I’m getting to that. The UK Football Team is currently holding Fall practice preparing for the season opener against Central Michigan on September 1st. Throughout the Spring and now into the Fall we have heard a lot about guys like Benny Snell and CJ Conrad or the quarterback battle between Gunnar Hoak and Terry Wilson, Jr. on the offensive side of the ball and Mike Edwards or Jordan Jones and even the loss of certain guys like Josh Paschal on the defense. They are the “Bill Gates” of UK Football. They get most of the notoriety. But who are the “Amancio Ortegas” of the UK Football Team? Glad you asked. Here are my picks for this season. The players that operate under the radar but should have big seasons for UK this year. 
First up on the list is AJ Rose at running back. AJ – as a freshman last year – struggled to pick up on the nuances of college football. He seemed to be a step slow in making decisions and consequently didn’t seem to hit the holes at the proper times or run “north/south” when he did attempt to hit the hole. He struggled to make an impact in his limited opportunities last season. But this year should be a completely different story. He came in last season as a 6’1″ 185 lb running back from Cleveland, Ohio.
This season — after a year in the weight room — he is tipping the scales at 208 lbs. More than 20 lbs of additional muscle. And based on what we saw in the Spring game his timing has improved and he is running much better as a “north/south” type back in Kentucky’s run-oriented offense. This is what Eddie Gran, UK Offensive Coordinator, had to say about Roses’s performance in the Spring Game. “He’s just so much more confident,” Gran said. “A little more physicality. You saw him get north and south. You saw him run over a safety again. Dropped his pads.”
Based on Roses’s spring performance – 134 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries – this could be the year UK once again has two one thousand yard rushers and AJ Rose should be one of those guys.  
The next player is also a guy that plays on offense. Zy’aire Hughes – at 6’1″ and 183 lbs – showed flashes of how good he can really be in the Spring Game – four passes for 56 yards and touchdown – and has continued to progress in the Fall. Here’s what he had to say about the process of learning a new position at the college level. “Playing quarterback got me here, really,” Hughes said. “But this spring has been about becoming a receiver instead of an athlete. It’s coming to me slowly. You can’t just be an athlete and be a good receiver. You just have to use technique and play the game.”
Based on his improvement in the Spring Coach Stoops had this to say about  Hughes, “He has some juice and he has some speed and he can get open,” Stoops said.  
Hughes should get an opportunity to use that speed as the UK offense needs to find a way to stretch the field if teams continue to stack the box against them to stop the run game. Hughes could be just the ticket this Fall. 
The next article will cover two guys that aren’t very well known but should come up big on the defensive side of the ball. 

Emma Talley has stress-free, but frustrating 2-under par 70 in opening round

Emma Talley, left, and Jessica Korda during Thursday’s first round. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)


INDIANAPOLIS — Emma Talley hit 16 of 18 greens, missed just one fairway and seem to have birdie putts inside 15 feet — and often 10 feet — all day during the opening round of the Indy Women in Tech Championship at the Brickyard Crossing.

Yet she finished with just a 2-under par 70 in the first round because she needed 32 putts.

“I played really well today,” said Tally, a three-time Kentucky high school champion from Caldwell County and a NCAA champion at Alabama. “I just couldn’t get the putter on. Hopefully it goes better tomorrow.”

Craig Skinner likes high expectations for No. 5 Cats (Larry Vaught/Verizon Video)

If Zion Harmon was ruled ineligible, arbiter will then decide if he can play at Marshall County

Zion Harmon (USA Basketball)


Several reports have surfaced that Zion Harmon has been ruled ineligible to play after transferring from Adair County to Marshall County.

Harmon is one of the best players in the state, and certainly the best sophomore. He led the state in scoring last year at Adair and a season earlier helped lead Bowling Green to the state title.

What’s important to remember here is that it is not unusual for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to rule a high-profile player ineligible after he or she transfers and opt to let an arbiter hear the appeal by the player and issue a final ruling.

Danny Clark: “We have playmakers all over the field.”


With the quarterback battle between Gunnar Hoak and Terry Wilson going, it’s easy to forget that redshirt freshman quarterback Danny Clark was a one-time Ohio State commit and has what former UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen has a “cannon” for a throwing arm.

 “I am a lot more comfortable, especially in the offense and getting a whole extra year to practice,” said Clark. “I got to see when I have a safety rolling down here, this guy is probably coming. It’s cool to get those experiences and see guys like (last year’s starting quarterback) Stephen (Johnson) who you rarely saw him make a bad protection call or bad read.

Craig Skinner on volleyball freshmen: “They’re all very talented and ready to play.”

Craig Skinner really likes everything about his four freshmen.


As she watched the Kentucky volleyball team last year, Lauren Tharp just kept thinking about what it would be like when she was part of the team.

“Last season was really exciting, especially in the NCAA Tournament seeing how far they went (to the Elite Eight). I just loved the team’s dynamic. I couldn’t wait to be part of it,” said Tharp, a freshman defensive specialist from Louisville Mercy.

She’s part of another strong recruiting class for coach Craig Skinner. Kentucky was picked to win the Southeastern Conference and is ranked No. 5 nationally going into the season.

Mason Hazelwood Named Perfect Game League’s Top Pitcher

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky left-handed pitcher Mason Hazelwood is the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s Pitcher of the Year, the summer league announced Wednesday. He had previously been selected First-Team All-PGCBL.

Hazelwood, a rising sophomore, was brilliant in 11 appearances for the Elmira Pioneers. He started eight games and posted a 5-1 record with a league-record 84 strikeouts in just 50.0 innings. His five wins also tied for the most in the league this summer.

Volleyball coach Craig Skinner: “This team wears the jersey with a lot of pride” (Larry Vaught/Verizon Video)

Add coachable to talent that Calipari’s Cats have

UK Athletics Photo


Kentucky coach John Calipari wanted the four-game exhibition trip to the Bahamas to not only be a basketball learning experience for his team, but also a bonding experience.

From what UK Basketball Radio Network’s Tom Leach saw, it was “very much” a bonding time for the Wildcats.

“They didn’t have classes. They are away from everything, but they were all together,” Leach said. “They were doing water slides, which were many and varied. They had practices and meetings.

Louisville receiver feels Cardinals have “upper edge talent-wise” against Alabama secondary


Some Kentucky football fans have worried that the football Cats got overshadowed by the basketball team’s exhibition games in the Bahamas.

Maybe, but it also took the focus off the football Cats and let coach Mark Stoops and his staff just concentrate on practice.

Or it could be like the attention Louisville got thanks to comments from receiver Dez Fitzpatrick. The Cardinals open the season Sept. 1 in Orlando against Alabama, the defending national champion, and are a 25-point underdog.

However, Fitzpatrick has said more than enough to make sure there’s no chance the Crimson Tide might overlook the Cardinals.