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Offensive tackle Jordan Swindle will be making his second appearance at SEC Media Days this season after attending last year as well. Swindle will be joined this year by fellow seniors A.J. Stamps and Melvin Lewis. Offensive tackle Jordan Swindle will be making his second appearance at SEC Media Days this season after attending last year as well. (Todd Van Emst, UK Athletics)
For the most diehard SEC football fans, there is no better indication that football season is coming then the annual Southeastern Conference Media Days. If you are one of those fans, you have one more week of waiting.

The SEC has announced the schedule and attendees for the four-day football overload that will run July 13-16 at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala.

Joining third-year head coach Mark Stoops to represent Kentucky at the event will be senior safety A.J. Stamps, senior defensive lineman Melvin Lewis and senior offensive lineman Jordan Swindle. The four will take the stage in Hoover on Wednesday morning starting at 10 a.m. ET and will be making the rounds until approximately 1 p.m. ET.

ESPN will once again bring SEC Media Days to a national audience, with the SEC Network having live coverage all four days. SEC Now will air live from Hoover every day and air every head coach press conference live in addition to live interviews with players and coaches. Save this link (http://es.pn/1NLVNaa) to watch SEC Now during Kentucky's appearance in Hoover.

Fans are also encouraged to follow @UKFootball on Twitter and Instagram and Kentucky Football on Facebook for behind the scenes photos and information. @KYwildcatsTV and Cat Scratches will also be on the trip for exclusive videos and insight before, during and after the Wildcats appearance in Hoover.

Video: 80 days to UK football

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Several members of the Kentucky football team used a class project to turn the tables on fellow students and professors. Melvin Lewis, Jabari Johnson, D.J. Warren and Bud Dupree put together the Gridiron Challenge as a senior project to show professors and fellow students the demands of being a student-athlete. The UK College of Agriculture. Food and Environment put together a video about the project, which can be seen below.

Video: UK football's 2015 freshmen move in

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For the first time this summer, Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops talked about Kentucky's upcoming season. The head coach touched on a number of topics Wednesday at the annual Governor's Cup Luncheon, which was held at Frankfort Country Club in Frankfort.

Stoops, who was joined at the luncheon by honorees from both U of L and UK as well as Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino, answered questions from reporters as part of the luncheon. In his 10-minute appearance at the podium, the head coach answered the obvious question that the staff is still evaluating the starting quarterback position daily, but believes returning starter Patrick Towles does have a "leg up."

"We're constantly evaluating that. We went back and watched a lot of tape, a lot of cut-ups, and trying to be very critical. Yeah, I'd say Patrick probably has the leg up," Stoops said. "He did some good things in the spring, but Drew (Barker) is young and playing better and better every time he steps on the field. He's still going to have an opportunity throughout the summer and throughout camp to win that job, but Patrick's probably got a leg up at this point."

Stoops said quarterback Reese Phillips is still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he sustained this offseason, but is expected to return mid-August.

The head coach said the staff gave the players some time off after finals to go home and decompress before returning this week for workouts. However, Stoops said several players decided to stay and start workouts early, something he was happy to see.

"I feel like our guys clearly understand what's expected of them," Stoops said. "Are we as disciplined as we need to be all the time? Probably not. And that's the next phase. I feel like they have the experience now at certain positions. We have a good blend of even some younger guys that have some experience but some great talent. And some older guys that played some football, been in our system now going into their third year, and that's certainly going to help. So I'm pleased with them. It's never going to be perfect, but we need to be more consistent and more disciplined in all the things we're doing."

While Stoops was in Frankfort previewing the upcoming season, the players - which Stoops said have nearly all returned to campus for workouts - were busy trying on different uniform combinations during photo day. A video of photo day, is a blog post below.

Video: UK football jersey photo day 2015

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The Kentucky football team got together on Wednesday, donning the dozens of different uniform combinations the Wildcats can wear for a preseason photo shoot. Here's a look behind the scenes.

Austin MacGinnis. (Nikki McLaughlin, UK Athletics) Austin MacGinnis. (Nikki McLaughlin, UK Athletics)
This week, Alex Montgomery, Austin MacGinnis and Marcus McWilson are on UK football's annual service trip to Ethiopia. Over the coming days, they will take turns sharing their experiences in a series of Cat Scratches blog entries. Please note that these posts are the student-athletes' personal reactions and the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Kentucky or UK Athletics. Today, MacGinnis looks back on the Wednesday the group spent last week visiting a local jail and a handful of Ethiopian villages.

Our African hump day sure did start out with a hump...in the form of about 50 camels crossing the street on our way to a children's sponsorship house. When we walked into the children's building, 100 kids were waiting on us with songs, chants and clapping. It was a jaw-dropping entrance to say the least. The smiles on the kids' faces reached from ear to ear. They did not want anything from us, but just to be in our presence and feel loved. We played soccer, jumped rope, danced and sang with the kids. After playing and spending time with the children we were able to give them snacks of avocado juice and morinda leaves. Along with some candy.

After we left the children's sponsorship house, we visited a local jail. The jails in Ethiopia are much, much different than those in the U.S. Instead of big cement walls topped with razor sharp barbed wire, the Ethiopian prisoners were only held captive by a wood fence and three lines of farming barbed wire. The offenses of the prisoners in the jail ranged from petty crimes to murder. They did not wear the typical orange jump suits like in the U.S. either. They were dressed in normal street clothes and could easily be mistaken for innocent pedestrians to the untrained eye.

After the jail visit is when the day really became special for me. We delivered bags of flour, macaroni, rice, spices and kits to allow a group of women to start their own coffee business. We delivered these goods to six different families in various villages. The women who received these gifts have basically nothing to their name but a very small square hut. These women have not received any support from the fathers and must provide for their children by themselves.  

One experience, in particular, from today really stuck out to me. We were invited into one woman's very small hut after giving her the supplies. While in the hut we prayed with the woman and were able to communicate through a translator. The woman explained to us that she has never met her mother OR father. She was abandoned as an infant and is now raising two kids with no father figure. She told Mark (who is basically our tour guide for the trip), "I see you as a father figure now, I would not have been able to provide for my kids without the help of your supplies." These words were spoken with such deep passion and honesty that it touched me deeply. Being able to help someone that is so grateful and deserving made my heart feel full. The joy and happiness we were able to bring these women is unmatched by anything I have previously experienced in my life.

I've come to realize on this trip that there is so much more to life than material goods. Ethiopia has taught me not to form opinions about a person by the clothes they wear, but by the fullness and love in their heart. It is very hard to put into words how little these people really have, yet they do not let their situation in life get them down. The smiles on their faces give me hope. I really just feel blessed to be invited on this trip. The opportunity to serve others instead of being served has opened my eyes in a way they've never been open before. I am really looking forward to these next few days here in Africa.

Marcus McWilson, Austin MacGinnis and Alex Montgomery. (Nikki McLaughlin, UK Athletics) Marcus McWilson, Austin MacGinnis and Alex Montgomery. (Nikki McLaughlin, UK Athletics)
This week, Alex Montgomery, Austin MacGinnis and Marcus McWilson are on UK football's annual service trip to Ethiopia. Over the coming days, they will take turns sharing their experiences in a series of Cat Scratches blog entries. Please note that these posts are the student-athletes' personal reactions and the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Kentucky or UK Athletics. Today, Nikki McLaughlin -- the photographer accompanying the group on the trip -- shares her thoughts.

Each time I visit Ethiopia, I return home having made some amazing new friends. Included on the new friend list this go-round: three incredible football players from Kentucky.

I've been in awe this week as I have watched these three young men bless the people here and be blessed by them in return. Whether they were doing construction projects on the home of an AIDS-affflicted widow, delivering a mattress to an elderly woman who had never before slept on one, providing food to families who might otherwise have nothing at all to eat or showering love upon impoverished children, these three have impressed me so much.

I will never forget watching Marcus McWilson tirelessly pound nail after nail into mud homes so that several widows would be ready for rainy season. I will always remember watching Alex Montgomery quietly offer a big smile to each child who ran up for a chance to compare their (tiny) hand against his.  And Austin MacGinnis, he must have dedicated an entire suitcase to candy, toys and soccer cleats. I loved watching him put his heart into sharing each of these things with the sweet babies here. Although on the opposite side of the globe from home, all three of these guys seemed to be "right at home" as they took time to play football and soccer with countless little ones.

These guys have worked hard and loved big. And today, the group relaxed a bit, took a break from work and went on a field trip! We drove several hours south of Addis to Debre Libanos to check out an ancient 13th-century monastery and the Blue Nile Gorge. I was super impressed by the story of a monk who meditated in a cave near the monastery for just over 29 years. We saw monkeys too! AWESOME. Before heading back we had an impromptu portrait shoot at the gorge lookout which included karate-kid kicks and handstands of course.

Whether serving widows and orphans or throwing a football to an aspiring athlete or chasing after monkeys, these guys have totally rocked it. I am so honored to be here with this amazing UK team as we adventure through Ethiopia making friends and memories along the way, so lucky to be behind my lens capturing this story. Ethiopia now has a piece of my heart and I dare to bet the same is true for my new friends from Kentucky.

"It's not how much we give but how much LOVE we put into giving." -- Mother Teresa

Recent Comments

  • samy: Thank God for your work. read more
  • mimi: a very touchy story. in life, its so easy to get caught up with the glitz, look at people who read more
  • Berdj J. Rassam: Media days are mixed bags - sometimes good and interesting, and sometimes dull and boring. read more
  • BBN#1Fan: Was the first time I EVER watched the draft! It was great to see BBN doing great on this nite! read more
  • Berdj J. Rassam: Another great night for UK in the NBA draft. read more
  • Brooklin Lee: One loss does not mean you lose anything. Just try again in the next matches. I know the Wild Cats read more
  • Floyd Ballard: CONGRATULATIONS!! I watched the run Saturday on TV, and you looked fantastic. read more
  • Walter Leonard: President? Why would Cal want to take such a drastic pay cut? As long as he can still coach here, read more
  • BJ Rassam: Many of us are looking forward to the team Coach Cal will be putting out this upcoming season. read more
  • Tom Minney: Nice story about 3 outstanding young guys and the power of love. Debre Libanos is an outstanding place to visit, read more