UK Football Recruiting Wrapup and More

Feb. 4, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. -  Kentucky's 2011 football signing class was ranked No. 32 in the nation by the Scout.com evaluation service, the second-highest ranking for UK since Scout.com began assessing recruiting classes in 2002.

Joker Phillips and the coaching staff signed 26 players, including three players who originally signed a year ago but "grayshirted" and did not enroll until January of this year.  According to Scout.com, the class was headlined by a pair of four-star signees, offensive lineman Darrian Miller of Lexington and defensive back Glenn Faulkner of East St. Louis, Ill.

It's interesting to note that Scout.com did not include the three grayshirt players in its 2011 evaluation, meaning that UK's class could have moved higher in the rankings had the grayshirts been included.  Kentucky's highest ranking by Scout.com came in 2009 when the Cat class was tabbed No. 27 in the nation.

Martin Honored by ESPN.com: Kentucky assistant coach Tee Martin has been recognized as one of the top recruiters in the Southeastern Conference by Chris Low, who covers the SEC for ESPN.com.

Having joined Kentucky in 2010, Martin made an immediate impact on and off the field in his first year on the staff.  On the field, senior Chris Matthews and junior Randall Cobb had the most productive seasons of their careers.  Cobb was named first-team All-America after catching 84 passes for 1,017 yards and seven touchdowns and also rushing for 424 yards and five TDs out of the "WildCobb" formation.  Matthews snagged 61 balls for 925 yards, tying for the SEC lead with nine touchdown receptions, and received second-team All-SEC honors.

Martin also played a key role in the strength of the 2011 recruiting class.  Recognizing his performance and the interest he was receiving from rival schools, UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart and Coach Joker Phillips rewarded Martin with a contract extension and the title of passing game coordinator on Jan. 29.

Signing Day Blog Sets Record: Fan interest in UK's 2011 signing class helped set a record for the "live blog" on UKathletics.com.

A total of 6,086 unique visitors joined the blog Wednesday, which began at 9 a.m.  Confirmed signees were announced on the blog and interviews were conducted with Kentucky assistant coaches.  Eric Lindsey of the UK Media Relations Office moderated the event. Originally scheduled to end at 12:30 p.m., fans were treated to 50 minutes of bonus coverage as the commitments kept coming in and additional coaches gave their live commentary.  The blog ended at 1:20 p.m.

The 6,086 fans were the most ever for any UK live-blog event, surpassing the previous best of approximately 4,000 guests for the 2010 signing day.  

Locke, Cobb Invited to the NFL Combine: Kentucky senior tailback Derrick Locke and junior wide receiver Randall Cobb have been invited to the National Football League scouting combine, set for Feb. 24 through March 1 in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Locke rushed for 2,618 yards during his Kentucky career, sixth in Wildcat history, with 22 touchdowns.  He also proved himself as a capable pass receiver with 95 career receptions.  His exceptional speed (under 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash) comes on special display on kickoff returns, as he set the UK career record with an average of 27.1 yards per return, including a pair of 100-yard touchdown runbacks.

Cobb will exhibit his all-around playmaking ability which made him an outstanding pass catcher, rusher, quarterback, punt returner and kickoff returner.  Although he played only three years, Cobb set the UK career touchdown record with 37 and is fourth in career all-purpose yardage.  Cobb's monster junior season featured an SEC-record 2,396 all-purpose yards and first-team All-America honors.

More than 300 top prospects were invited to the NFL combine, which plays a key role in evaluating players' professional potential.  The event will be televised on the NFL Network and also can be followed on NFL.com.

Masthay Ready for the Super Bowl: Tim Masthay's rookie season in Green Bay is ending on the game's biggest stage as the former Kentucky Wildcat will play in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Masthay played a key role in helping Green Bay advance to the title game.  In the 21-14 win over Chicago that put the Packers in the Super Bowl, Masthay punted eight times for a 41.8-yard average.  More important than his distance were his placement and hangtime, which kept the Bears bottled up for much of the game.  The Bears' starting point following six of Masthay's punts were their own 16-, 2-, 11-, 18-, 20- and 10-yard line.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson was quoted as saying that Masthay "won the game for us."

Masthay becomes the 26th Wildcat who has played for a team that advanced to the Super Bowl that season.  It's the second-consecutive year for a Cat in the Super Bowl as Jacob Tamme played for Indianapolis in last year's championship game.

Cat Scratches has more on Masthay's journey from undrafted free agent to Super Bowl punter and his thoughts leading up to the game.

Matthews and Lumpkin in Texas vs. the Nation: Kentucky football seniors Chris Matthews and Ricky Lumpkin will participate in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game in San Antonio on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. EST.

In order to help balance the teams, Lumpkin and Matthews have been assigned to the Texas team.  Lumpkin will wear jersey No. 53 and Matthews will wear No. 88.  Television will be handled by CBS College Sports.

During his Kentucky career, Lumpkin totaled 82 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks.  Matthews, a former junior-college star, compiled 93 receptions for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns during his two-year Wildcat career.