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UK Baseball’s Reed is National Player of the Week

UK baseball’s A.J. Reed was named National Player of the Week by Louisville Slugger for the second time in his career. In UK’s first three game span over the weekend he hit five homers and 11 runs. Reed made school history over the weekend becoming the first UK player to hit two homers in one inning for UK since 2007 when he hit two homers, including one grand slam on Friday’s win. Saturday, he gave UK the lead over Old Dominion with a two-out, two-run single and tied he game later in the seventh inning with a solo homer. On Sunday, he hit another two homers against St. John’s. Reed is up for several national awards this season as well.

Kentucky remains #25 with wins this weekend over St. Joseph’s (13-2), Old Dominion (7-5) and St. John’s (13-0) and is now 5-2 for the season. Kentucky has it’s home opener Tuesday against Wright State at 4:00. 

Lyndsey is an intern and contributing writer at ESPN 1300, you can follow her on twitter for more of her work and personal sports opinions. 
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Freshman Phenom Heady has Big Opening Day

As the headline yesterday read Kentucky defeats No. 1 ranked Virginia, today’s headline reads a little differently.
 
A rising narrative surrounding the University of Kentucky baseball season this year will be the emergence of freshman second baseman Connor Heady. The refined talent that the Prospect native brings to the Wildcats will serve this season as a reminder that the basketball team in Lexington isn’t the only one that yields diaper dandies.
 
Heady, a 6-0 170-pound utility infielder from North Oldham High School, recorded a game of firsts; his first game in a UK uniform, his first win against a top ranked team and his first statistics logged as a Cat.
 
As UK handily defeated Virginia 8-3 yesterday in their season opener, Heady began his tenure as the starting second baseman under six-year head coach Gary Henderson.
 
Batting ninth in the lineup, Heady struck out swinging during his first at bat in the third inning. Kentucky was able to take advantage of a shaky pitching performance by Virginia’s Branden Waddell as they batted through the order, sending Heady to the plate once again in the fourth inning.
 
Digging in with teammate JaVon Shelby on first base, Heady roped a double to left field that would send Shelby around the bases to extend the UK lead to 4-1. For the former USA Baseball U-18 National Teamer, it was his first hit and RBI as a Wildcat.
 
Reaching first base in the sixth inning due to a walk, Heady’s first stolen base would come a few pitches later when he turned his secondary lead into a 60-yard dash. As a well-known draft prospect, many scouts are quick to commend Heady on his base path quickness: he runs a 6.5.
 
His final plate appearance came in the eighth inning as he laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Shelby to second base. A strategic move that would later set up the Shelby run scored, Heady was done for the day having batted 1-2 with an RBI and stolen base.
 
The former No. 3 prospect in the state and five-year varsity letterman, Heady was named preseason as the 12th best freshman in SEC and 38th best freshman in NCAA by Baseball America.
 
Look for the freshman slugger to make a splash this year and become one of the premiere players that Kentucky fields in seasons to follow.
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, on Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
*Photo courtesy of Twitter.com*
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Louisville Opens Season with Walk-Off Valentine’s Victory

CHARLESTON, SC. — It’s hard to believe with snow on the ground and ice covering the trees that it’s already time for college baseball, but for the Louisville Cardinals, a walk-off Valentine’s Day victory was a sweet start to their 2014 campaign.
 
Friday, February 14th, the defending College World Series participants rallied from a 5-1 deficit to defeat the West Virginia Mountaineers in 10 innings, 7-6.
 
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Taylor Munden was driven in by a single from teammate Jacob Rice.
 
Louisville went quietly in the bottom of the first inning, a trend that would emerge throughout the rest of the game; The Cards sent three batters up and sat three down in four innings. They managed to light the scoreboard in the second inning when first baseman Danny Rosenbaum slugged a solo shot over the left field wall. A sophomore, Rosenbaum batted .258 and added one homer last season playing in 39 games.
 
Runs scored in the second, third and fourth innings extended the West Virginia lead to 5-1, but the Cardinals’ comeback was sparked in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior catcher Kyle Gibson drove in second baseman Zach Lucas to pull the lead within three runs.
 
As the Cards stepped to the plate in the sixth inning, a Cole Sturgeon single was capitalized when designated hitter Grant Kay blasted a screamer to left center field, narrowing the lead to 5-4.
 
West Virginia added another run in the seventh, but both teams would struggle to find offensive fortitude until U of L knocked two runs in during the bottom of the eighth inning.
 
After a Sutton Whiting strikeout, Sturgeon singled to left field and stole second before rounding third and scoring as Jeff Gardner doubled deep down the right field line. Rosenbaum added an RBI after he rocked a double down the same right field line, scoring Gardner and tying the game at six.
 
Into extras the game went as neither team could touch home plate during the ninth inning. Coach Dan McDonnell sent 2013 First Team All-Big East pitcher Nick Burdi to the mound to handle the heart of the Mountaineers’ lineup. Able to fend off a walk and fielding error by Whiting, Burdi was successful in holding the ‘Eers to scoreless inning.
 
In the bottom of the 10th, Gardner provided the kill shot that sealed the game when he detonated a walk-off bomb that sailed over the right field wall and highlighted the 7-6 win.
 
Off to a 1-0 start to the year, the Cardinals resume play on February 15th when they take on The Citadel at 2:30 pm.
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18 and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
*Photo courtesy of Fansided.com*
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Kentucky Women's Tennis Tops EKU, ETSU

#38 Kentucky women’s tennis went 2-0 today, defeating in-state opponent EKU 4-0 and East Tennessee State 4-0.

The Cats began the day by dominating doubles. Seniors Caitlin McGraw and CeCe Witten won their first match 8-2, and Junior Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and sophomore Kirsten Lewis paired up to win 8-3.

In singles, Morin-Kougoucheff has yet to drop a match this season, winning 6-1 and 6-3 to put Kentucky up 2-0. #56 ranked Nadia Ravita gave the team a win over the Colonels top returner, Amandine Faouzi winning both sets, 6-4. Kirsten Lewis clenched winning 6-2 and 6-3 respectively against EKU.

ETSU forfeited the #6 singles position putting Kentucky up 1-0. ETSU’s Giuloa Andreazza retired at the number 1 position after Kentucky’s Kelsey Dieters won the first set 6-1. Kentucky led 2-0 going into the fourth match, which McGraw won 6-1 and 6-2. The match was clenched by Moin-Kougoucheff’s win, the third time this season she has clenched a match for her team.

"I worked very hard last season to improve my game," Morin-Kougoucheff said. "I'm more fit this year so when I get on the court I know I am prepared physically to handle anything on the court."

Kentucky is now 8-1 this season. Kentucky will finish off their 5-match home streak against Ohio State on Friday at 1:00 at the Boone Tennis Center.

Lyndsey is a contributing writer and intern for ESPN 1300. For more of her articles and sports opinions/predictions follow her on twitter @lyndseygough 
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UK Shocks the State on National Signing Day

Wednesday Kentucky football brought in one of its most talented recruiting classes to date. At one point the Cats were all the way to #1 atop the Rivals rankings, but this class finished at #17 and #9 in the SEC (both school records). With 28 signees, including 7 early enrolling, Mark Stoops had what can be considered a very successful first full year of recruiting. With 13 offensive players and 15 defensive recruits Kentucky had a well-balanced class as well.

OFFENSE

Dorian Baker
Wide Receiver
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
6-3, 205
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Drew Barker
Quarterback
Burlington, Kentucky
6-3, 217
Early Enrolled
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Blake Bone
Wide Receiver
Woodruff, South Carolina
6-5, 200
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Mikel Horton
Running Back
Early Enrolled
West Chester, Ohio
6-1, 223
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Garrett Johnson
 Wide Receiver
Winter Garden, Florida
5-11, 175
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Josh Krok
 Offensive Lineman
Niles, Ohio
6-8, 325
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Jarrett LaRubbio
 Offensive Lineman
Middletown, Ohio
6-6, 280
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN:  3*
Scout: 3*
 
Darryl Long
 Tight End
Westerville, Ohio
6-4, 225
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Nick Richardson
Offensive Lineman
Westerville, Ohio
6-4, 270
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Thaddeus Snodgrass
 Wide Receiver
Early Enrolled
Springfield, Ohio
6-1, 180
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings
 Offensive Lineman
Hoover, Alabama
6-3, 320
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Stanley “Boom” Williams
 Running Back
Monroe, Georgia
5-9, 190
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
T.V. Williams
 Wide Receiver
Early Enrolled
McKinney, Texas
5-10, 165
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
The Cats are very young and inexperienced on the line, and in the receiving core. Stoops and staff recruited to fill these obvious gaps. Losing two running backs and one offensive lineman gives this class a chance to come in and compete for positions. I expect Drew Barker to be in the running for the starting QB spot, and Thaddeus Snodgrass and Blake Bone to compete for WR spots. Barker was a huge get for the Cats as far as statements go, choosing Kentucky over South Carolina. Barker also played a significant role in recruiting many of his fellow signees. Snodgrass has an advantage on the rest of his class since he is already in Lexington working out- his hands and route-running ability make him an SEC threat. Bone’s size and quickness give him the ability to compete at an SEC-caliber right away.  Darryl Long looks to compete for a starting spot as Kentucky graduated three tight ends as well. These freshmen also have a good chance to make an immediate impact on special teams as well.
 
DEFENSE
 
Tymere Dubose
 Defensive End
Youngstown, Ohio
6-5, 280
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Mike Edwards
 Defensive Back
Cincinnati, Ohio
5-11, 185
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 4*
 
Matt Elam
 Defensive Tackle
Elizabethtown, Kentucky
6-7, 375
Rivals: 4*
247: 5*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Nico Firios
 Linebacker
Longwood, Florida
6-2, 220
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 3*
 
Ryan Flannigan
 Linebacker
Junior College Transfer (JR)
Missouri City, Texas
6-3, 230
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Dorian Hendrix
 Linebacker
Early Enrolled
Huber Heights, Ohio
6-0, 230
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Cory “CJ” Johnson
 Defensive Tackle
JUCO Transfer (JR)
Early Enrolled
Columbia, South Carolina
6-3, 275
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Adrian Middleton
 Defensive Tackle
Bowling Green, Kentucky
6-3, 275
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Kendall Randolph
 Defensive Back
Tallahassee, Florida
6-0, 175
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 3*
 
AJ Stamps
 Cornerback
JUCO Tranfer (JR)
Early Enrolled
Vicksburg, Mississippi
6-0, 190
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Lloyd Tubman
 Defensive End
Louisville, Kentucky
6-5, 225
Rivals: 3*
247: 4*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Jared Tucker
 Defensive Back
Stone Mountain, Georgia
65-11, 170
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Kobie Walker
 Linebacker
Olney, Maryland
6-3, 200
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Denzel Ware
 Defensive End
Crestview, Florida
6-2, 240
Rivals: 3*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Darius West
 Safety
Lima, Ohio
6-0, 200
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
 
Last season UK was incredibly weak in the secondary, which the coaches recruited to fill that void. Getting Matt Elam and Lloyd Tubman on signing day were two huge statements for Kentucky, beating Alabama and Louisville for recruits. Elam and the linebackers should benefit from UK’s multiple defense. Hendrix and Flannigan could be immediate impact players at the linebacker position. In the secondary I expect to see Stamps and West (granting he is healthy) to take starting spots. We should expect to see all three JUCO players to see immediate field time next season.

Stoops landed four of the top five players in the state with the fifth heading to Western (without Petrino). 16 members of this class received a 4* ranking at at least one of the four major services and 10 were listed in either the Rivals top 250 or the ESPN, Scout or 247 top 300. With Stoops having two recruiting classes under his belt and new facilities and a new stadium on the way, can we expect to see the culture change and a bowl game that the BBN has been hoping for? Let me know what you think on twitter @lyndseygough
 
 
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Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself..

Honest question, how many people can name your local sports anchors? What about radio? Who’s the local guy that you can turn on in the car?
 
A rising problem that lies with journalism is that across the country, some broadcasters and writers don’t know how to efficiently establish a distinctive social media presence. They don’t relate to or connect with the people that they expect to be listening, watching, or reading their content.
 
The young talent coming through the pipes and progressive broadcasters realize driving engagement through community driven efforts in local markets and generating interaction on social media for a more broad appeal have now become a cornerstone of what it takes to survive in this cutthroat industry. We want to engage our viewers, listeners, readers and Twitter followers, and we do that by branding ourselves and finding our niche audience.
 
The ability to understand social media and utilize it in an effective way to create a relationship with your audience is becoming something that you must do to separate yourself from the pack. Social media allows journalists to connect with their followers and friends in a way that drives cohesion and creates a unique brand for that individual.
 
As of the 29th of January, I’ve begun my first advertising campaign on Twitter. This campaign is about expanding my reach and awareness. I’ve had a solid pop in my followers thus far, and that’s why I’m writing this memo:
 
To those of you that followed me recently, I appreciate it. Be it through cold following (essentially cold calling in sales) or the campaign’s reach, you are now reading what I write in 140 characters and the links to creative pieces like this.
 
Some of you will find that I’m someone that you would meet as a complete stranger in the grocery store or sitting in a seat next to you at a sporting event and we’d immediately hit it off. Similar likes, similar interests, similar personalities.
 
However, you can’t connect to everyone and I may not be your guy. People share different perceptions and beliefs and everyone’s opinion should be heard, but sometimes we tend to disagree with others. If you come to find that we wouldn’t mesh on a personal level or that you don’t like what I’m laying down, no love lost. Cut your ties and move on, that’s just business.
 
Having said that, here’s what I ask of you (hey, if you’re still reading this far down, I’ve got you in my crosshairs).
 
I want to know what kinds of things you’re interested in. I want to know who your teams are and what region you’re from so I can always be vested in something that you care about. What would you like to see more of on your timeline? What are people not covering that you want them to cover? What do you want to be reading from me?
 
This was a campaign that ran all over the United States, not just in my current residency in the state of Kentucky. I’ve received new followers from the Lexington and Louisville markets, but I’ve had an influx of national followers and I’m on your guys’ hot seat.  
 
So tell me about yourself. Take 5 minutes to send me an email and let me know the kinds of things you’d like to see more of. If you’re talking about it, I want to know about it and drive conversation.
 
I’m a well-mannered, driven, progressive young man and I want to build my platform. Instead of a statistic, I want to know you and invite you to join me in dialogue. I’m grinding between “I want it” and “I’ve got it,” and these kind of innovative practices are the things hopefully I’ll reflect on later and attribute to the latter statement.
 
New followers, email me your interests and city locations at bennytomp18@icloud.com, and we’ll get the engagement train rolling and the national network growing.
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18 and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
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'Till the (recruiting) battle is won

Kentucky football has just won its latest off-the-field battle, snagging top recruit Matt Elam off of Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Today at John Hardin High School numerous media members gathered to hear the 6 foot 5, 375 pound, offensive tackle make his college decision.

Elam was originally slated to make his decision during the Army All-American Bowl, but decided to take some extra time and move his announcement closer to National Sign Day. With less than a week until NSD, Elam picked up a Kentucky helmet (yes helmet, not hat) off the table and choose to stay in the bluegrass and play for Mark Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats.

Elam is now a part of what can easily be considered one of the most prominent and highest ranking football classes to ever commit to Kentucky. 247 sports still lists them at #20 nationally, but still #9 in the SEC. While Bama really wanted Elam, they still remain sitting atop the rankings at #1.
Per Rivals.com, Elam is the #5 player in the state (counting Kentucky QB Drew Barker). ESPN gives him 4 stars and lists him at #26 nationally for his position and #3 overall in the state.

Elam said just after committing that, "I feel like UK will definitely make a come-up, but things aren’t going to change quick. I don’t have this perception of just things changing as soon as I get there. Because we’re still going to struggle, but that’s the only way to go to the top, because as you see at programs like Auburn and South Carolina, they struggled in their programs and stuff. So I feel like definitely UK can get to the top one day. It may not happen next year or the year (after) that, but it’s going to happen.” You can read his full statement here.

Stoops is set to have 28 signees on Wednesday rounding off Stoops’ and Co. first full recruiting class. 

Photo by Kyle Tucket of the Courier Journal

Lyndsey is an intern for WLXG and a contributer to ESPN 1300. For more of her opinions and work follow her on twitter @lyndseygough 

 
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UK Hoops Backs Pat

Kentucky and Tennessee are sworn rivals on the court, but off the court Kentucky is joining with the rest of the SEC to support a cause. UK women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell and his wife Jenna’s foundation “The Mitchell Family Foundation” will be donating $2 form each ticket sold for tonight and Sunday’s home games towards The Pat Summitt Foundation.

“Coach Summitt has impacted so many lives in a positive way,” Mitchell said. “Jenna and I wouldn’t be in the position we are today without Pat Summitt. Please join us as we help Pat continue to make a positive impact on the lives of people dealing with Alzheimer’s.”

The basketball team will be battling on the court, but helping in a bigger fight against Alzheimer’s during these games. The Cats play tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum against Alabama and Sunday 1:00 against Arkansas.

“We want to help fight this horrible disease and the Big Blue Nation can help us by buying tickets to our next two home games or if you already have tickets, just show up!” Mitchell said. “We hope to sell out Memorial (capacity 8,000) on Thursday and Sunday and be able to donate over $30,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation.”

The SEC puts on the “We Back Pat” week, which brings awareness to Alzheimer’s disease, but also brings recognition to former Tennessee women’s coach, Pat Summitt. UK will be wearing “We Back Pat” shooting shirts during warm-ups for both nights.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased through UK athletics. Donations can also be made to www.patsummitt.org.
 
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Shermanating the Sherman Haters

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
Last night, my brother and I were having a conversation about how we both felt about Richard Sherman’s post-game interview. He didn’t mind it and neither did I and we shared our insights with each other. I had a couple of takeaways that I wanted to add some perspective on, so turn that thing down while I issue my statement:
 
Now, if you know me, you know I’m a gentlemen that likes to place wagers (stand by for Benny’s Picks next college football season). But with that being said, I’d be willing to bet my portfolio that the people saying the most extreme things on social media had no prior knowledge of Sherman’s background to seeing that interview. Some didn’t even know who he was. Let’s just hope Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberts wasn’t watching, A&E can’t afford to take another public relations napalm strike.
 
So for the racists and uneducated, pay attention and at least try to sound knowledgeable as you take shots a man that you label as a thug. You tag Richard Sherman as what you believe to be a thug based on common stereotypes and misperceptions and lack of education. You see a man that is accomplishing things that you’ll never be able to and you despise him for it.
 
But I guess that’s just the motion, right? Sherman expresses the confidence he holds in himself as an individual, and people slap him down for it? We preach to the youth to pursue their goals -- chase the American Dream, be successful -- and work harder than anyone else to achieve them, but once they’ve hit a certain status, envy causes us to lash out and attempt to discredit their achievements.
 
It’s ironic really; those of you that are trying to defend your conviction and brand Sherman as a “hoodrat” are nowhere near his level of intelligence -- and U.O.E.N.O.
 
Let’s start with the fact that at his high school, Dominguez High School in Compton, California, in addition to being an all-star athlete in two sports (football and track), Sherman earned a 4.2 GPA and graduated second in his class, per Ty Schalter, an NFL national lead writer for Bleacherreport.com.
 
Or how about the fact as Tweeted by Scott Enyeart, a former USC/Pac-12 football reporter and host of the Seahawks 12th man podcast for Sports Radio KJR 950am in Seattle, Sherman scored a 1400/1600 on his SAT and held a 3.9 GPA while starring as a D-1 athlete in college?
 
But never mind the fact that it was Stanford, or the fact that as Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead reported, Sherman has started and is actively pursuing his Master’s degree in communications, or that he’s a regular contributor for Peter King’s Sports Illustrated website, the Monday Morning Quarterback
 
No no no people. Let’s speak from timeless prejudices and judge a book by its cover. Let’s allow our deepest insecurities to surface and speak based on fear and ignorance. Let’s see who can look the most clueless or get ignored the most on Twitter by Sherman, and paid attention to the most by Deadspin.
 
Beyond the external feature barrier, let’s examine your argument at the individual level that people shouldn’t run their mouth and be disrespectful.
 
You can’t say you’re the best.
 
Why the hell not?
 
Would we condemn Steve Jobs if he had said he was the best innovator of technology? What if Warren Buffett was to say, “I’m a financial guru,” would we be upset? Or although it would be unlike his personality, if Peyton Manning said, “yeah, I am the best quarterback in the league,” would people argue?
 
I’ll never understand why some people raise an issue when a top performer in their field or industry tells others to take notes. Sherman’s stats make his bite equally as lethal as his bark. He’s got the numbers to justify his self-established role as the “best cornerback in the league.” And as Michael Smith and Jemele Hill would say, numbers never lie.
 
Sherman was targeted only 58 times during this past regular season. With his league leading eight interceptions, Sherman’s 13.8 percent interception rate was 4.4 percent better than the second best (Logan Ryan, 9.40 percent), according to Michael Salfino, a sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His eight interceptions also tied his 2012 campaign, a season in which he was target 28 additional times.
 
Come on people, enough is enough. When a guy walks into the league and earns first team all-pro twice in his first three seasons, ties for second most interceptions in his second year and is leading the league by his junior season, isn’t he justified to speak similarly to Jerry Maguire’s animated client, Rod Tidwell?
 
But people want him to adhere to how they think he should act. Richard Sherman’s response didn’t fit the criteria of people that hold others to unrealistic or racially coded standards. Conservative patriarch guy thinks he’s a disgrace to the game and pom-pom waving Michael Crabtree fans wish harm upon him.
 
To the anti-Sherman demographic, what you’re telling me is that if you’re in Sherman’s cleats and you make the biggest play of the game, in the biggest game the season has yielded, in an emotional rivalry with a history of animosity between you and your opponent, and you get a microphone shoved in your face 30 seconds after the passionate win while sound record setting cheers from your 12th man swirl around you, that you’re going to be calm and collected?
 
That’s what happens when you feed a hot mic to a young, testosterone driven male immediately following an intense, defining moment that landed his team in the Super Bowl. What can you possibly expect?
 
That’s the dialogue he’s supposed to be having with a teammate that runs up to congratulate him, or a coach that attempts to celebrate with his players. When he can’t even catch his breath and he’s already having reporters burst his bubble, what do you want from the guy? He’s going to be amped up. If you stick your hand in the flame, you’re going to get burned.
 
The other thing you have to realize is that talking is what fuels Sherman’s fire.
 
David Shaw, head coach at Stanford University, acknowledges the fact that Sherman likes to chirp and that’s just how he’s wired. He’s a semi-frequent guest on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and Monday, January 20, Colin used a soundbite of a previous interview with Shaw while discussing the type of player Sherman is.
 
“He is the most competitive human being you’ll find,” Shaw said. “He is ultra competitive, he pushes himself extremely hard, he expects the world from himself — and part of that is his talking. Talking keeps him at the top of his game.”
 
I enjoy directing attention to narratives that aren’t being told or are sometimes swept under the rug. I believe in transcending and progressing through outdated stereotypes and pumping the breaks when a bunch of Twidiots spout their hate Tweets. As for Richard Sherman, he believes in judging a man by all of his actions, not just some.
 
“To those who could call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field — don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines,” Sherman wrote in Monday’s column on MMQB.si.com. “Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
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Ex-Cats Tamme, Trevathan, Woodyard to play in Super Bowl XLVII

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos
When the Broncos and Seahawks meet up on February 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, three former players from the University of Kentucky will be playing for a ring.
 
Denver’s 26-16 win on Sunday over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots secured a Super Bowl berth for ex-Cats Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan and Jacob Tamme.
 
A defense led in tackles all season by Trevathan, and leadership by Woodyard, the Broncos were faced with a tough task on Sunday after eliminating the San Diego Chargers 24-17 the week before.
 
Bill Belichick and the Brady Bunch were rolling into Mile High Stadium seeking to send their quarterback to be the first in league history to play in six Super Bowls, but the former Kentucky players led a defensive frontier that bent and didn’t break until the Patriots finally scored their first touchdown with 9:26 left to play in the fourth quarter.
 
Trying to battle back from 23-10 Denver lead at that point, the Patriots would only score once more before the final seconds ran off the clock. Sticking to the script that was written all year, Trevathan continued to lead the way for the Broncos defenders as the former Kentucky standout recorded eight solo tackles in the win over the Patriots.
 
Through Denver’s two playoff wins, Trevathan has combined for 11 assisted tackles and 12 solo, continuing to add to his regular season and league’s 11th best total of 129. Although this was his first year starting week in and week out, and only second in the league, Trevathan’s team leading tackles and interceptions, three, make a strong argument that he could return as one of next year’s premiere linebackers.
 
Seen rallying his teammates while Peyton was busy leading his electric offense down the field, Wesley Woodyard’s performance in the game solidified his role on Denver’s team as not only a defensive force, but a motivator of men. Woodyard’s two tackles in the AFC Championship raised his 2013-2014 campaign to 86 tackles on the year, adding an interception and two forced fumbles along the way.
 
We’ve heard, read and talked about Trevathan and Woodyard all year long, but Sunday, there was another ex-Cat that reminded viewers of the NFL that UK doesn’t always send players to the national football league, but when they do, they make big plays at big times.
 
Staged at the goal line midway through the second quarter, as Peyton dropped three steps and scanned his progressions, he found a sitting Jacob Tamme that ushered in the first touchdown of the game.
 
Tamme, who throughout the season played a lesser role in Denver’s offense behind Julius Thomas, amassed 154 yards and a touchdown on 20 receptions. Coincidentally, his only touchdown of the year was scored during the Patriots and Broncos week 12 meeting when the Broncos fell in Foxboro, 34-31.
 
As February 2 draws closer and the anticipation builds up, Trevathan says it’s just another day on the job.
 
"We aren't going to do anything different,” said Trevathan to Patriots.com. We're just preparing and staying within our realm. Just getting excited and getting motivated to go out here and try to put together a good 60 minutes.
 
"I'm just ready to go. It's another game, it's another opportunity for me to play the game that I love and be out here with my dogs."

Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, on Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
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