NEWSSTAND (7/7): Peters, Nesbitt updates; praise for Stoops; Money matters

Justin Rowland, Publisher
Cats Illustrated

Friday's CatsIllustrated.com Newsstand gives you the latest on Xavier Peters and Michael Nesbitt. Plus, read about pitcher Justin Lewis' decision to turn down the Tampa Bay Rays.

You'll read about where UK stacks up with the rest of the country in terms of revenue, and the Cats' overall athletic department performance over the past five years rates better than it ever has.

That and much more below.

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POWER RANKINGS

The following ranking of the 65 athletic departments in the five major conferences – Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern – is an average of their annual standing in the Learfield Directors Cup over the past five school years (2012-13 through 2016-17). The Learfield standings are used by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) as the official measuring stick for how universities perform overall athletically in a given year.

LINK: Ranking all 65 Power Five schools in overall athletic success

REVENUE RANKING

USA Today released its database featuring the spending and revenue of 230 Division 1 public schools in 2016. The University of Kentucky ranked 13th nationally and 6th in the SEC in overall revenue. The UK athletic program made $132,180,246 in total revenue. In total expenses, UK ranked 10th nationally and 4th in the SEC with $127,225,580 spent.

LINK: Where UK ranks in national revenue according to USA Today database

STATUS UPDATE

As of the start of the week only two 2017 UK signees hadn't made it to Lexington: Lynn Bowden of Warren (Ohio) Harding and defensive back Michael Nesbitt of Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson.

CatsIllustrated.com reported that sources were saying Bowden would be good to go earlier this summer, and we first reported that he had attained the necessary scores to make that a reality in the past couple of weeks.

But what about Nesbitt?

LINK: Update on the status of 2017 signee Michael Nesbitt

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AT IT AGAIN

Kentucky football is doing it again, but this time it shouldn't take anyone by surprise. The Wildcats, under Mark Stoops, are now ranked No. 15 in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings after a recent commitment from Ohio linebacker Xavier Peters.

The Wildcats' 2018 class is ranked fourth in the SEC ahead of programs such as South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Of course, I expect the Gators, Crimson Tide, Tigers and Bulldogs to eventually surpass Kentucky in the rankings and South Carolina could do the same, but didn’t everyone expect Kentucky to fade away on the recruiting trail by now? I know fan bases in the SEC sure did. But led by ace recruiter Vince Marrow and an aggressive staff, the Wildcats continue to stockpile talent on the roster.

LINK: 3-point stance shines the spotlight on Stoops' recruiting success

WHERE PETERS STANDS

One day removed from the drama following Xavier Peters' commitment CatsIllustrated.com has learned new information regarding the player's recruitment.

Yesterday we sorted through some things that were once unclear, and today we've learned an answer to a big lingering question: Is Peters still committed?

LINK: Is Xavier Peters still committed to Kentucky?

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FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

Pro Football Focus is continuing with its steady stream of research into the last college football season as a form of preparation for the season to come. Last week we showed you where their research showed Denzil Ware was one of the top sack and pressure men in the SEC, at least among those returning this year.

Now, as you can see from PFF's graphic above, they're recognizing junior Kentucky cornerback Derrick Baity. According to PFF, Baity is second only to Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick among returning SEC players when it comes to combined interceptions and pass breakups.

LINK: Football notebook includes praise for Derrick Baity, updates on Bowden and ticket sales, defensive line questions

Watch all of KSTV's videos and see their content at their website.

LEWIS RETURNING

In a surprising decision, UK righthanded pitcher Justin Lewis will return to school for his junior season rather than sign with the Tampa Bay Rays. Lewis was selected by the Rays in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.

On Saturday, Cats Illustrated reported that Lewis was in Tampa meeting with the Rays. In an interview with Lewis on Thursday morning, Lewis said he flew to Tampa on June 29 and stayed until July 1.

LINK: Justin Lewis will return to UK for junior season

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

July is arguably the most important month in high school basketball with three open evaluation periods. At this time next week, college coaches will be found in gyms all across the country watching the nation's best players.

Today's Rival Views debate: Which players will be most closely watched by the college coaches? As usual, national basketball analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans provide different opinions.

LINK: Which players will be most closely watched in July?

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BEST TO WORST

CatsIllustrated.com is starting to preview the 2017 college football season with kickoff less than two months away.

Here we rank the top quarterbacks on Kentucky's 2017 schedule.

LINK: Ranking the quarterbacks on Kentucky's schedule

LEADERSHIP COUNCILS

A total of 68 Southeastern Conference student-athletes will participate in a joint meeting of the SEC Student-Athlete Leadership Councils and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Friday through Sunday in Birmingham.

Representing Kentucky will be Greg Hart and Courtney Love of football, Katie Reed of softball, Alyssa Rice of women’s basketball and Dillon Pulliam of men’s basketball.

LINK: Five UK athletes part of SEC student-athlete leadership councils in Birmingham

EXHIBITIONS SET

Kentucky will play two in-state NCAA Division III colleges — Centre and Thomas More — in preseason exhibition games this fall.

UK will play Thomas More on Oct. 27. Then the Cats will play Centre on Nov. 3.

Thomas More Coach Drew Cooper expressed gratitude for Kentucky helping in-state schools.

LINK: Kentucky to play Centre, Thomas More in preseason exhibitions

Centre coach Greg Mason has reason to celebrate. In April, his wife gave birth to their first child. On Thursday, it was announced his Colonels would play Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Nov. 3.

"It's an amazing opportunity for our program," Mason told WKYT. "What it means to our players, our college. It's pretty special."

LINK: Centre players, coach excited about opportunity to play Kentucky

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