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July 25, 2014
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Story by: Steve Tressler
If you want to win football games in the mighty SEC, then you better win the recruiting battle as well. (see: Franklin, James Vanderbilt.) No gridiron coach in UK’s history has had as much success in his first two years of recruiting as Mark Stoops.
We’ve had a few big names pulled in by other coaches. Tim Couch did sign on with Bill Curry. Dennis Johnson did sign on with Hal Mumme. Micah Johnson was a huge get for Rich Brooks. But these were all in-state guys to begin with. Few big names came to Kentucky from outside the commonwealth.
Stoops and company have changed all that. And just in time to, let’s hope. Over the last 3 years and just 170 miles south, Tennessee has been brought in some impressive recruiting classes by selling the hope of more playing time for freshman.
Stoops has done the same here and the fans are riding a tidal wave of hope because of it. Yours truly is one of them. As proof, when he received a contract extension keeping him here at Kentucky through 2018 season even after winning only two games in his first season fans were relieved he got it.
Such is the state of an SEC football program and fan base desperate to be considered relevant.
Rivals announced that this years’ Kentucky football recruiting class ranked #17 in the nation. Better than traditional powers like Texas (#20), Michigan (#31) and Georgia Tech (#47) It’s also 13 spots better than Kentucky did last year. The first two recruiting classes for Mark Stoops and his staff are now the #1 and #2 all-time best recruiting classes in the history of Kentucky football. For Rivals full 2014 list go here: http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/teamrank/2014/all/all
The hope now is that all of the off-season hard work of getting better talent will turn into wins. It’s a slow process but for now most fans will give Stoops and Co. breathing room.
If the Cats wins 5 games this year it would be a great year by most fans standards. Is that what you think?
Now tell me how many games you think Kentucky will win this year?