Larry Vaught

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UK Football: Three Freshmen That Are Better Than Advertised

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

August is here and that means the college football season is just around the corner. With UK’s Fall football practice going on now seemed like a good time to consider which true freshmen players might make an impact for the team this season. Here are three that could be huge for the Wildcat Football Team and the reasons why. 
Marquan McCall
McCall is a 6’3″ 368 lb lineman out of Oak Park High School in Michigan. He was rated the best player in Michigan in 2017 and listed as a four-star player by 247Sports. He played on both the offensive and defensive line for Oak Park but at UK he will be a defensive lineman.  He’s what he had to say about why he loves playing defense. “I really love beating up the center, that’s what I do best,” McCall said. His Oak Park High School Coach Greg Carter had this to say about McCall, “For a guy his size, he’s extremely quick and athletic and has great hands. He’s really, really physical and has a lot of experience, starting as a sophomore for us, and he’s just been a dominant player ever since.”
With the loss of Denzil Ware and Josh Paschal as edge rushers off the defensive line UK will need an additional athletic big-bodied player to help fill the gap at nose tackle and apply pressure up the middle on the opposing quarterback. A guy that weighs 368 lbs and has the nickname “Bully” should perfectly fit the bill. 
 
Deandre Square
As an early enrollee Square was able to participate in Spring practice and used that time to show his toughness and athleticism. With several linebackers nursing injuries Square stepped in and filled the spot admirably.
Here’s what Defensive Coordinator Matt House had to say about Square’s performance. He’s progressing well,” said defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Matt House.  “The thing that I like about DeAndre, you don’t necessarily know until you get him here, is he loves contact.  He’s not scared to mix it up and he’s really serious about his craft, about getting better.  I’ve been not surprised, but pleasantly surprised with his actions on the field this early.”
Not only was Deandre impressing the coaches this past Spring with his performance on the practice field but he was also impressing his teammates. Here’s what middle linebacker and Kentucky native Kash Daniel had to say about Square.
It’s unbelievable. The kid’s got athleticism that I’ve never seen before,” middle linebacker Kash Daniel said. “He’s got speed and a jolt that I’ve never seen before as a linebacker.” Seems like a player that could really provide some great fill-in reps on the field, especially in third down passing situations. 
 
Last but not least is a player that plays a critical offensive and defensive position at the same time. I’m talking about UK’s new freshman kicker and punter, Chance Poore. 
 
Chance Poore

Poore, from the state of South Carolina, was rated the No. 1 kicker in the nation in last year’s recruiting class. He is truly a multi -purpose kicker in that he can perform as a kickoff specialist, place kicker and punter. As a senior in high school he made 6 of 12 field goal attempts with the longest being 48 yards. He also kicked off for his team and placed 63% of his kicks into the end zone. As a punter he averaged 44 yards per kick. Here’s what Rick Sang, Program Director at Prokicker said about Poore, “Chance is the No. 1 ranked kicker in the nation for 2018 class.
An exceptional punter too. He can kick and punt for any college in the country at any level – right now. A very talented athlete who dominates his position and has shown great work ethic. He is already capable of launching NFL caliber kickoffs and punts!”. With the graduation of Austin Mcginniss Chance Poore could prove to be beneficial to special teams with his ability to place kickoffs in the end zone along with his field goal kicking and punting abilities. 
 
These three freshmen players could be significant backups to the starters or if an injury occurs to one of the starters at the positions mentioned these three could be the players that step up to help fill the gap. Experience is no substitute for talent and as Mark Stoops continues to recruit at a high level it’s talented players like these that could help Kentucky move into position to contend for the SEC East crown in the future.  

Benny Snell has a lot of Tyler Ulis in him

Benny Snell (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Benny Snell reminds me a lot of former UK basketball standout Tyler Ulis when it comes to using skeptics as motivation to push himself to succeed.

Ulis was told for years that he was too little to play in high school and then college and then the NBA. Each time, he proved the skeptics wrong.

Snell was a three-star recruit from Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. No surprise he was an Ohio State fan and wanted to be a “hometown” hero for the Buckeyes.

Tiger Woods: “I had to go get it and I tried.”

Here is what Tiger Woods said Sunday after his closing 6-under par 64 — his lowest final round ever in a major championship — left him one shot behind in its closet chance to win a major since he started his comeback.

Kentucky-Team Toronto Photo Gallery by Chet White/UK Athletics

UK completes Bahamas trip with another blowout win

Reid Travis (Chet White/UK Athletics Photo)

By UK ATHLETICS

UK-Team Toronto notes and numbers

Quade Green (UK Athletics/Chet White Photo)

UK MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES
KENTUCKY vs. TEAM TORONTO
BIG BLUE BAHAMAS | ATLANTIS IMPERIAL ARENA| PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS
AUG. 12, 2018
ATTENDANCE: 1,308
 
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 93, Team Toronto 60

DeCourcy: Calipari might use three point guards to close out games

Ashton Hagans (Chet White/UK Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky freshman guard Ashton Hagans is an intriguing prospect for coach John Calipari this season because he reclassified to get into the 2018 recruiting class and he also has plenty of competition from Quade Green and Immanuel Quickley for playing time.

“Ashton did not rush to get to college to sit on the bench,” said Sporting News college basketball columnist Mike DeCourcy. “He gives them a big presence in the backcourt. Immanuel is tall and lean and is very quick. He’s listed at 6-3 and is close to that. You just don’t see him as being 6-3 because he moves so quickly and darts around the court.

Jack Givens, Kyle Macy featured speakers at Tyler Hick Memorial Scholarship Banquet

By LARRY VAUGHT

Having a chance to moderate a discussion for former UK All-Americans Jack Givens and Kyle Macy as part of the annual Tyler Hicks Memorial Scholarship Banquet at Scott County was sensational. I think I enjoyed the stories the two starters on UK’s 1978 national championship team told as much as those attending the function.

Hicks, the son of Scott County coach Billy Hicks, died in an automobile accident in 2012 and this is the fifth year of awarding a Scott student a $10,000 scholarship. This year’s winner was softball player Princess Valencia, who will play at Morehead.

UK Basketball Photo Gallley by Chet White/UK Athletics from Saturday night’s win

Trash talking is just what Keldon Johnson does

Keldon Johnson (Chet White/UK Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Normally one would not expect August exhibition games to get chippy. Yet two of Kentucky’s three games in the Bahamas have been just that way.

Sophomore P.J. Washington says there is a common denominator between the altercation in game one and another one Saturday night in UK’s 100-64 win.

“Keldon (Johnson) likes to talk trash. We just got to back him up. That’s the denominator. We just have to back him up,” said Washington. “He is a big-time trash talker.