July 30, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior T.C. Drake has been named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, as announced by the Nassau County (N.Y.) Sports Commission.

Drake (Bardstown, Ky.) caught 12 passes for 204 yards last season, with an outstanding average of 17 yards per reception.  His top game was four catches for 82 yards in the win over Middle Tennessee and he had a career-long grab of 37 yards in the victory over Arkansas.  He also contributes on several special teams.

The award is named in honor of John Mackey, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, who is considered to be the best to have played the tight end position.  A tight end by whom all others are measured, Mackey was a role model on and off the field as demonstrated by his Super Bowl Championship, his commitment to community and his place in history as the first President of the NFL Players Association.

Amponsah Joins UK Staff: The Kentucky athletic training staff has hired a familiar face in Gabe Amponsah, a former graduate assistant during the 2006 and 2007 football seasons, to become senior athletic trainer. 

Amponsah will work primarily with the Wildcat football team, including the evaluation and treatment of injuries along with the development and implementation of rehabilitation protocols.

Head athletic trainer Jim Madaleno sought out Amponsah when the position became available this summer. Amponsah, a native of Columbia, Md., had just wrapped up his first year at Florida State, primarily working with the football team.

“When (Madaleno) called, it was very surprising,” Amponsah said. “It kind of flipped my world upside-down.  I was just getting ready to move into a new place. When I talked to my boss at FSU, he said to think about it and decide what’s best for me. So I thought about it for a day and decided to come back (to UK).”

The Wildcat football family at the Shively Center welcomed Amponsah with open arms.

“I am very excited to be able to bring Gabe back,” said Madaleno. “The players are even more excited since they remember him from a year ago when he was in graduate school at UK. His experience at Florida State will add to our staff to better serve our student-athletes.”

Amponsah cites Madaleno as a primary reason for pursuing his graduate degree at Kentucky.

“They have a good athletic training program at UK and I had heard good things about working with Jim Madaleno, so I thought I’d apply and give it a shot,” Amponsah said. “Once I went through the interview process and got accepted, it was a no-brainer.”

Before graduating from UK with a Master’s degree in athletic training in May 2008, Amponsah completed his undergraduate studies in the discipline at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. While in the Steel City, he worked as an athletic training intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.

Amponsah replaces Matt Summers, who left to become the head athletic trainer for football at the University of Arkansas. 

Kentucky Football Calendar:

Date Event
Fri. July 31 Kickoff Luncheon, presented by Kroger, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington; individual tickets are $40 each, table of 10 for $400
Thurs. Aug. 6 Players report
Fri. Aug. 7 UK Media Day at Commonwealth Stadium; first team practice
Sat. Aug. 8 Fan Day at Commonwealth Stadium, gates open 6:30 p.m., activities at 7:30 p.m.

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