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Video: UK football's Super Bowl ad - 'Why Not?'

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This commercial aired just after the end of the second quarter of the Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. It features a voice over by Mark Stoops and 17 Wildcats.

The theme: "Why Not?"

Here's the complete list of players who appeared:

Jeff Badet
Drew Barker
Javess Blue
Bud Dupree
Dorian Hendrix
Mikel Horton
Cory Johnson
Jojo Kemp
Ashely Lowery
Blake McClain
Marcus McWilson
Za'Darius Smith
Thaddeus Snodgrass
A.J. Stamps
Jordan Swindle
Jon Toth
Ryan Timmons
T.V. Williams
Nate Willis

More than two months ago, Mitch Barnhart stepped to the podium at the unveiling of plans for a $110-million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.

He talked about the project would "change the personality" of UK football's long-time home, how the more intimate surroundings would positively affect fans and players alike. Barnhart was mindful that the day was a celebration of the hard work of many, but insistent at the same time how much work was ahead.

In no uncertain terms, he spelled out his goal to compete at the highest level in the Southeastern Conference under Mark Stoops.

"The transformation of Commonwealth Stadium is the first step in that process," Barnhart said of the stadium plans in November, "but it's not our last."

On Friday, the UK athletics director unveiled the next one.

Plans for a privately funded $45-million practice facility were approved by the Board of Trustees, setting into motion a process that will move UK's entire football operation.

"One-stop shop for all of our kids," Barnhart said. "So now they'll be able to academically do their work. They'll be able to train. They'll be able to get most of their food over there."

The two-story structure will be located at the east end of the Nutter Field House, with two practice fields and an adjoining drill area also a part of the project. When finished in 2016, administrative offices, locker spaces, team meeting areas, training areas, high performance and weight room spaces, equipment rooms, a hydrotherapy room, player locker rooms, lounge facilities, an academic lounge/study area, and an entrance lobby with enhanced visitor amenities will be housed there.

"All that gives us a better ability to take care and make sure we've got a really good understanding of what our kids are doing in all facets of their lives," Barnhart said.

The practice facility upgrades were in initial plans for Commonwealth renovations, but it was ultimately decided the projects would have to be separated. Now that the stadium renovation is in the beginning stages of construction, that fact is even cleared.

"There's no possible way you could've done both projects with one scope of money," Barnhart said. "You couldn't have done it."

Per university rules, no project of this size can brought to the board without at least half of the funding necessary to complete it secured. Barnhart didn't go into detail, but he did say UK is past that 50-percent threshold and "well on our way to getting the rest of it done."

There are still decisions to be made as the project moves forward, including exactly how the existing Nutter Field House will be affected and whether to change the playing surface in Commonwealth to turf.

"Our goal is to immediately get to design," Barnhart said. "We've got some pretty good thoughts about what we want to do. It's not without thought -- we've been doing this, thinking about what it would look like -- and we've seen other buildings, other places."

As football gets an upgrade, so too will other UK programs that will take advantage of open space in the Nutter Training Center.

"It's really important to keep that for our other sports," Barnhart said. "And then track and field and gymnastics will probably move into that facility in addition to some other things probably because that is closer to where they live."

Next on Barnhart's radar are facilities for the baseball and men's and women's tennis programs.

"The two things we have left to address -- really important -- is obviously our baseball stadium and our indoor tennis," Barnhart said. "Those are two that are hanging out that we have got to get fixed in order to have them be respectable in this league."

But at least for a little while, Barnhart wants to enjoy the accomplishment that is getting approval for the football practice facility. The news comes on the heels of the beginning of the Commonwealth project and just days before the best recruiting class in school history becomes official on Signing Day next week.

Combine all those things with the fact that alumni Jacob Tamme, Danny Trevathan and Wesley Woodyard are all set to play for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday and it's a special week  for UK football.

"I hope they have a championship ring," Barnhart said. "That's what they've worked their whole lives to get to is those kind of moments, and they're all deserving guys. They've been unbelievable representatives of this program. And so to have that, and with what's going on with Mark and his staff, and to have the facility up and running, it's a very exciting time for our program."

On Friday, the UK Board of Trustees approved UK Athletics' plans to build a $45 million practice facility adjoining to Nutter Field House. In the video below, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart talked about the importance of the project and the excitement surrounding UK football under Mark Stoops.



Video: Signing Day promo - Who's Next

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Signing Day is less than a week away. Stay tuned in the coming days for news on how fans will be able to follow along like never before.

Video: UK football spring workouts - Week one

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Video: Signing Day 2014 promo

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Video: Nutter Training Center weight room renovation

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This offseason, the weight room at the Nutter Training Center underwent a dramatic facelift with a new floor, new equipment and new surface on the upstairs track. In this video, High Performance Coach Erik Korem walks about what the upgrades mean for UK football.

Larry Warford was a three-year starter at UK before become the Detroit Lions' third-round pick in 2012. (Britney Howard, UK Athletics) Larry Warford was a three-year starter at UK before become the Detroit Lions' third-round pick in 2012. (Britney Howard, UK Athletics)
Offensive linemen, even in the NFL, are normally relatively anonymous. Larry Warford, however, is making quite a name for himself one season into his professional career with the Detroit Lions.

Last week, Mel Kiper named him one of the top offensive rookies in the league. On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus disagreed. The popular NFL analysis website said he was the best.

PFF named the former UK star its Offensive Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, with Warford beating out Keenan Allen of the San Diego Chargers and Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Here's what Khaled Elsayed had to say about Warford:

I'll confess to not watching much college football in years gone, but out of interest last year I started studying some defensive players. One of those was Sheldon Richardson and it was impressive to watch the Missouri defensive linemen. Except in one game where one particular right guard continually got the better of him. That man would end up the Lions third round pick, a second team All-Pro selection for us and our Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It's not the flashiest of picks. He didn't rumble into the end zone for touchdowns or make leaps at the goal lines to pick up scores. He doesn't play for a playoff team and you don't see him getting a lot of talk in review programs or during the actual game. Yet what Warford has done is look like an NFL player since Day 1. Of every guard in the league who we graded on every single play, Warford would finish fourth out of all of them. Positives in every area with no sacks allowed in pass protection and just four penalties called on him all year. While others experienced peaks and valleys, Warford was a model of consistency, grading out positively in all but three games.

On the subject of PFF's grades, Warford had a rookie season for the history books. He posted a total grade for the year of plus-22.8, the highest of any guard graded by PFF ... and by a wide margin. Mike Iupati -- a 2012 All-Pro selection for the San Francisco 49ers -- had the previous high grade of 14.8 in 2010.

For more on Warford's impressive honor, check out the complete story from Pro Football Focus.

Every spring, John Calipari's latest class of star recruits plays in a series of high-school all-star games with the Big Blue Nation watching closely. With Mark Stoops at the helm, Kentucky fans will need to start doing the same with future football Wildcats.

Drew Barker -- the highly touted Burlington, Ky., native viewed as the ringleader of UK's 2014 class -- played in the Army All-American game on Saturday and showed why Rivals.com ranks him a four-star prospect and the No. 6 quarterback in the nation.

Playing on the West squad, Barker came on in relief and led his team on its first two scoring drives and an eventual 28-6 victory. In total, he played three drives and completed 4-of-6 passes for 54 yards. Final rushing totals were not available, but he also flashed some impressive athletic ability.

His play did not go unnoticed by his soon-to-be coach.

With the winter semester set to start in less than two weeks, Barker and six more early enrollees will arrive on campus soon. Included in that group are running back Mike Horton and wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass. Horton will play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Sunday (9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1), while Snodgrass played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl on Friday. No statistics were available for the game.

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