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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

The happiest of birthdays to my dudes Baron and Asher. Hope it’s a great one.

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—Mekhi Becton was quick Thursday night to give Dwayne Ledford much of the credit for the development that led to the big guy being the NFL draft’s 11th overall pick.

—The latest CC Podcast is centered around a re-watch of the 2003 Louisville-Marquette game in Milwaukee.

—SB Nation’s Dan Kadar gives the Jets an “A” grade for their pick of Mekhi Becton.

11. New York Jets: Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville

This was a smart move by the Jets. They could have taken a wide receiver here, but decided it was more important to block for young franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. Becton is a physical specimen who moves around with ease despite being 360 pounds. The Jets can find receivers later in the draft. They can’t find a blocker like Becton.

Grade: A

—A look at the last five “Mister Irrelevants,” including former Louisville tight end Gerald Christian.

—Floyd Central OT Zen Michalski will be announcing his college choice on Saturday.

—The NCAA is moving towards allowing athletes to be paid by sponsors.

—Churchill Downs is hosting a “Kentucky Derby at Home” party next Saturday that will feature a virtual race involving all 13 Triple Crown winners.

Churchill Downs announced today plans to celebrate the first Saturday in May, the traditional date of the annual Kentucky Derby, by hosting a day-long at-home Kentucky Derby party to raise $2 million for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. Though the 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was postponed until Sept. 5 this year due to public health concerns related to the spread of COVID-19, Churchill Downs invites fans to honor the annual tradition while staying “Healthy at Home.”

Fans can tune in to a special broadcast on NBC on May 2, from 3 to 6 p.m. EDT, which will feature the 2015 Kentucky Derby that began the legendary American Pharaoh’s historic Triple Crown run (full NBC Sports show details to be announced next week). In addition, the NBC broadcast will highlight Churchill Downs’ first ever virtual horse race—The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a computer-simulated version of a race under the historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. The virtual race, created by Inspired Entertainment, will feature the 13 past Triple Crown winners and use data algorithms including historical handicapping information about each horse, which helps to determine the probability of their potential finishing positions.

Beginning on April 30, fans will be able to visit to choose their favorite horse to win the virtual race and also join Churchill Downs in making a charitable donation to COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. All participants who select the winning horse will be entered to win the ultimate Kentucky Derby 146 VIP Experience. Churchill Downs has pledged to match up to $1 million of donations with funds to be directed to the Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief. A small percentage will be earmarked for the R.E.I.N. Fund (Relief for Equine Industry Needs), a program managed by Churchill Downs Foundation designed to benefit workers of the backside whose livelihood has been impacted by COVID-19 and also to help ensure essential care for horses throughout the pandemic.

—Amid furloughs and budget tightening, Louisville will not drop a varsity sport.

—Jeff Goodman has Louisville at No. 22 and Kentucky at No. 23 in his updated top 50 for 2020-21.

—Shoutout to the Mack Family Foundation for continuing to do great things.

—Dave Lackford gives an update on the current state of U of L football recruiting in the latest Cardinal Sportscast pod.

—Jim Nantz could wind up calling events every week for a six-month stretch from the Masters through the PGA Championship.


Seven winners and five losers from the first day of the NFL draft.

—The Athletic’s Connor Hughes writes about what made Mekhi Becton an attractive pick for the New York Jets.

What does Adam Gase likes the most, though?

“He brings an edge to us,” the Jets coach said. “Nasty for our offensive line room. Anytime you can add a guy like that, you’re fired up as a coaching staff.”

Becton agreed.

“I like to see the man on the ground stay on the ground,” he said. “When I finish him I like to get on top.”

While Becton has the athleticism to play either tackle spot, the Jets will likely use him on the left side. They haven’t had consistent dominance at that position since D’Brickashaw Ferguson – who played every snap but one during his 10-year Jets career – retired in 2015. While the Jets signed Seattle’s George Fant in free agency and told him he could play left tackle, Becton’s arrival likely changes that. As soon as he’s ready to start, he’ll get the job.

That would likely move Fant over to the right side, where he’d compete with last year’s third-round pick Chuma Edoga.

“We’re going to play our best five out there,” Douglas said. “I think we’re going to have great competition at multiple spots on the offensive line in training camp. I’m looking forward to it.”

—Remembering last night’s first round picks as recruits.

—U of L music professor Anna Petrova will host a virtual concert Sunday at 3 p.m. The concert will be performed on Facebook live on the U of L School of Music’s page.

—The Kang and Kodos vibes are strong in Virginia’s newly revealed rebrand.

—U of L is offering some special options for season ticket holders who might be having more difficulty than usual affording the luxury this year.

—A pair of Cardinal men’s golfers have been named to the 2020 NCAA Division I PING All-America Honorable Mention Team.

—Your Friday reminder that Javian Hawkins is a bad, bad man.

—The CC pod gets a nod on this Courier Journal list of 30 podcasts that can help you maintain your sanity during quarantine life.

—Rating the best at worst at-home NFL draft war rooms.

—An inside look at Mekhi Becton getting the news last night:

Also, if Becton and Bionca Dunham produce offspring, they had better receive scholarship offers from every U of L coach right out of the womb.

—Rick Bozich writes about how a canceled Scottie Pippen trade altered the fates of both Rick Pitino and Louisville basketball.

—Shoutout to Annie Moore. This is awesome.

—Louisville is a 7-seed in this early bracketology from Heat Check CBB.

—What’s the key to winning a national title? Recent history shows it’s not enrolling a 5-star freshman as much as it’s getting a legitimate NBA prospect to skip the draft and return to school for one more season.

—Friday Irrelevance, triple helping:

—Teddy Bridgewater will officially be sporting the No. 5 in Carolina this year.

—And finally, the New York Jets official website serves up five things to know about Mekhi Becton.