Most Recent Posts
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- Former UK great Jeff Sheppard excited about recruiting class, but says fans should remember players are young
- Kentucky fans even took time to throw up the “3 goggles” in the Alps
- Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”
- Even UK football coach Mark Stoops did not expect this much fan support at Kentucky
- Video: UK softball coach Rachel Lawson previews the Super Regional clash against Arizona State
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- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
By ASHLEY SCOBY
If there is one 2012 signee that could make immediate contributions this year, it might just be JUCO transfer Kory Brown. Here’s why:
The junior college factor: Kentucky has had success with JUCO transfers in recent years – guys such as Stevie Johnson, Chris Matthews and DeQuin Evans really came into their own at Kentucky and made it onto an NFL roster for at least some period of time. Junior college guys usually have gained valuable playing experience at a level past high school and are more ready to compete at the SEC level. The only knock against guys like Johnson or Evans during their time at UK was they had a hard time adjusting to SEC play until their second (and final) year. Which leads me to my next point…
Brown will have more time to adjust: Since he injured a knee during the 2010 season at East Central Community College, he will have three years of eligibility at Kentucky. Not only that, but he’s already enrolled, as of January. Brown got to participate in all the spring practices and has had six extra months of learning the defensive schemes – two HUGE factors when it comes to being able to contribute immediately.
Style of play: Brown is another one of those potential safety/linebacker hybrid guys – my absolute favorite. Per the summer depth chart that was released this week, Brown is listed as third string for the safety/linebacker position, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed at some point. At 6’0 and 208, and with experience at corner and safety during his football career, he will shine in Rick Minter’s defense. His former high school defensive coordinator, Ed Moore, said about Brown, “Kory was the most instinctive player I’ve ever coached, always at the right place at the right time. He’s a very physical player, very good in run support as well as pass coverage.”
Production: Brown was a three year starter in high school at corner and safety. He played four games for his junior college team in Mississippi before getting injured, but in those four games, he came through with 26 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception. With his size and hitting ability, Brown is a natural defensive player.
Extra: Brown, during the spring semester that he’s been at UK, came through with a 3.7 GPA, putting him on the Dean’s List. Larry himself wrote a story about Brown going to the celebration at Rupp after the basketball team won the national championship – Brown talked about how he hoped Kentucky fans could cheer for the football team like they did for the basketball team. And for what it’s worth, he has two other brothers in football – Omar, who is trying to make the Baltimore Ravens’ roster this summer, and Evan MacKelvey, who is starting his second season with Marshall University this fall.
Having just one of these factors in his favor wouldn’t create Brown’s potential for immediate success – however, having the combination of all these surely will bode well for the JUCO. Even if he doesn’t immediately contribute at safety/linebacker this year, look for him on the field as he makes some nasty tackles on special teams.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Heâ€™s adjusting to Southeastern Conference football, but junior college transfer Kory Brown was not about to miss the celebration for Kentuckyâ€™s national championship team. Thatâ€™s why the sophomore safety/linebacker was among 20,000 fans in Rupp Arena last week for the national championship celebration.
â€œI just wanted to represent my team and support the basketball team,â€ said Brown, a South Carolina native. â€œThey did a great job all season.â€
Brown says he sees basketball players â€œa few timesâ€ on campus and at the academic center.
â€œI went to a few games during the season after I got here (in January),â€ Brown said. â€œI do like basketball. Iâ€ˆplayed basketball in high school, so I am into it.â€
Brown was not disappointed at the celebration.
â€œIt was amazing. Coach Calâ€™s speech kind of made me emotional. It seems like when he speaks, he talks from the heart and Iâ€ˆlike that,â€ Brown said.â€It did surprise me that so many people were there. Some people did not go to class. They just took time out of their day to come out for the team. I donâ€™t think people back home could ever understand. I have never seen anything like it. A few other teammates went, but we were all spread out. I just managed to get tickets to the low seats. I was pretty lucky to be down there.
â€œAfter beating Louisville (in the national semifinals), the whole city went crazy. I can only imagine everybody getting behind us and believing if we can win big games like that.â€
Brown sustained a knee injury at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss., during the 2010 season and did not play last year, so he has three years of eligibility remaining.
â€œI had not been on the field in a while and was worried about me knee, but the trainers worked with me and I donâ€™t have a problem at all with it,â€ Brown said. â€œThe knee is 100 percent. I just have to go out and learn all the plays now. The tough part is knowing what to do at what time. The learning process comes along, but you have got to know when to run what because we have like five different plays for one call andÂ you got to know when to do it formation-wise. But Iâ€ˆam catching on.
â€œIâ€ˆhave been meeting with (defensive coordinator) coach (Rick) Minter a little more. The more studying I can do,â€ˆI can catch up to where these guys already are. I have to pick it up on the run. He can be tough, but the one on one time Iâ€ˆget with him helps a lot because when we have meetings he talks to you as a group as a whole. In individual time, he talks directly to you and that really helps me.
â€œI just want a chance to play this year. It donâ€™t matter where. You can put me anywhere on the field. Put me at D-line (defensive line) and I will play there. I just want to help my team.â€
South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington knows plenty about Kentuckyâ€™s top-ranked basketball team, but he also knows a lot about one new Kentucky football player â€” former high school teammate Kory Brown.
They played together for two years at Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner, S.C., before Brown headed to East Central Community College for two years before enrolling at Kentucky in January. Brown was ranked as the nationâ€™s No. 3 junior college safety by one scouting service.
â€œIf I decide to play football again, tell him please donâ€™t try to lay me out when we play Kentucky,â€ said Ellington, who was also a receiver/kick returner on South Carolinaâ€™s football team last season when he had two touchdowns. â€œHe loves contact all the time. On the field, he is mean. He donâ€™t care if you were on his team, he was going to hit you and try to lay you out.â€
â€œBut just being around him makes you want to laugh all day. He is a great guy and a hard-working guy. He blew out his name and messed it up (in junior college), but the way he came back and fought through it and got a scholarship to Kentucky is great.â€
Brown admitted his academic work was less than stellar, one reason he had to go to junior college, and Ellington also said he had some other difficult off-field issues to overcome in high school.
â€œHe had to overcome a lot of things. He had players and teammates that every time we went somewhere, we would bring him along with us to encourage him. Heâ€™s a great guy. The things he went through and to be able to get in this spot is great for him. Iâ€™m proud of him,â€ Ellington, who has averaged 11 points per game since rejoining the South Carolina basketball team, said.
â€œI really think he can do real well in the SEC because he loves the contact and that is what SEC football is all about. It all comes down to hitting and I think he will do great. Heâ€™s a competitor and loves to hit, so I think he would try to lay me out without a doubt. But it would not be personal. He hits anybody. Heâ€™s a great guy, though. Kentucky fans and players will love him.â€
Ellington played against Kentucky twice this season as well as twice last season and had no doubt Kentucky was the team to beat in the Southeastern Conference Tournament that started Thursday. He says one reason is that Kentucky coach John Calipari, much like South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, is â€œdrivenâ€ to win.
â€œThey both love to win and make you love winning,â€ Ellington said. â€œI can tell that about Calipari because sometimes I will be running down the court, and I see him running beside me. He is such a competitor. I respect him in all aspects of what he does. He is a great coach. Every now and then he might say something to me during a game that just makes me laugh. I know he is a great person because of that.
â€œWhat he has done the last three years at Kentucky is remarkable. I respect him because he still stresses about playing the next game and trying to win it. I really respect the way he coaches. They are a great team and I think they could very well win the national championship.â€
Ellington says Kentucky is good because of its all-around play.
â€œFrom their guards to their big men they are good, and that guy (Anthony) Davis is a truly great player,â€ Ellington said. â€œIf you go in there, you know he is going to block that shot and that really helps their team. He is back there and guys are scared to go to the hole. With him and (Terrence) Jones and (Doron) Lamb and those other guys, they are just pretty good everywhere. Thereâ€™s no weak point and thatâ€™s what makes them so great.â€