Top to Bottom
The Class of 2014 is widely considered the best class in the history of the school, but they were top heavy. From Bowden to Abule, Stoops believes each play will contribute.
“I just feel so good about this class top to bottom,” he said. That’s no disrespect to the other guys, because I love them and they’re going to be great players, and we’re going to win a bunch of games. But it just takes a lot of great classes, and we want to continue to build on that, and we hope next year’s class is even better. And we anticipate that it will be.”
Stoops has suffered some late attrition in the past, but not this year. In this year’s recruiting calendar they didn’t lose any commits. After beginning with a “strong nucleus” of players, beating Louisville and finishing the season strong “certainly didn’t hurt” to help keep everyone in the fold.
“They’ve been so loyal to us,” he said. “These guys could have gone a lot of places, and they’ve been very solid with us.”
Versatility at a Variety of Positions
The “athlete” title is given to three players — Lynn Bowden, Joshua Ali and Tyrell Ajian — but they are not alone. The best part about this class — other than being bigger, faster stronger — is their versatility. Most of the receivers can play inside or out, most of the defensive backs can play corner or safety, and the defensive linemen can play all across the line of scrimmage.
The most versatile big man is Joshua Paschal, who will start as an outside linebacker.
“Josh is a guy that definitely can play more positions, and you’ll see how his body grows, but I’d like to start him in a role like a Bud Dupree and play him standing up,” Stoops said. “He has the ability to drop, but he has exceptional bursts in pass-rushing ability, so he’s very versatile.”
Mark Stoops called for more support from the fans on today’s edition of KSR and in his press conference. He told the group of reporters:
“We need to fill this place, because let me tell you, the guys that came here late in the season and watched our Georgia game and see that environment, that’s the environment that we have to play in front of every week, and that’s what we’re competing against. You guys know, you travel around and go look at the other SEC schools, winning or losing they are packing them in.”
Vince Marrow said the environment for the Georgia game is why Paschal came to Kentucky. After seeing TreVaughn struggle through the Joker Phillips era, their father needed to be convinced Kentucky has changed. After Josh attended the Georgia game, he was sold. He immediately called his father and said, “This is not what you think, Dad.”
An Eloquent Closing Remark
After an exhausting few months of busy recruiting, Stoops ended with an eloquent and optimistic message:
“Thank you to all you. Thanks for your interest, thanks for your coverage. I appreciate our staff, our wives, our families for the sacrifice that they make. It’s been a long year, culminating with this class here today that’s going to represent this university the right way.
The fans are going to be very proud of this group. It’s a great foundation for a freshman class for next year. And it’s definitely going to help us in the future. We’re excited about this year. I’m really happy to get this wrapped up, to be honest with you, and onto developing our players and getting to work with our players next week. So thank you all very much.”