Special guests key part of Cats’ bowl trip
Kentucky has several special guests with it in Florida this week as it prepares for the Citrus Bowl.
The family of Marco Shemwell, the 4-year-old boy who was struck and killed shortly after attending the UK-Murray State game, arrived on a plane with Kentucky staff members on Saturday, an official confirmed to the Herald-Leader.
Kentucky’s players and Coach Mark Stoops served as honorary pall bearers at the boy’s funeral.
The coaches and players have discussed how much Shemwell’s story impacted them. A UK Children’s Hospital nurse that cared for Marco also recently was surprised with a trip to the bowl.
“I’m glad we played good for Marco and the Shemwell family,”
Stoops said after UK’s win over Mississippi State. “I’m so glad that we played well in honor of him and that family.”
Cats running back Benny Snell wrote “RIP Marco” on his wrist before the game and called the entire situation “heartbreaking.
“This team, we played for him,” Snell said the next week. “We played for that family. For his life to be so short — him just wanting to see a football game for the first time and enjoy life. And just thinking about it, it just makes me so sad.”
Another boy who has had a big impact on the Cats this season, Luke Klausing, has been at all of the bowl practices in Orlando with the team. Josh Allen stopped to mess with him in between drills.
Senior cornerback Derrick Baity played catch with the 11-yearold from Louisville during Saturday’s practice.
Klausing, who has battled cystic fibrosis most of his life, was “recruited” to play for UK at the beginning of the season. He’s been a part of almost all of the
“He’s like our little brother, a teammate, always makes our days better when Luke is here,” linebacker Kash Daniel said this week. “He always has a smile on his face and just bringing that positive vibe, that positive energy to the team. It’s really cool to have him around. We’re glad to have him and his family with us.”
Kentucky also has a special message that it has carried with it from Lexington in the form of a banner from the UK Children’s Hospital that tight end C.J. Conrad visited regularly.
It’s hanging up in the Cats’ Orlando hotel.
Conrad said: “All the kids I was visiting through the weeks of the season signed it and that meant a lot to me.”
Kentucky practiced on Saturday ahead of its Citrus Bowl matchup with Penn State.