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Stoops Has Changed Recruiting By Winning The Commonwealth

One of the many excuses frequently employed by Kentucky football apologists was that our fair Commonwealth simply didn’t produce enough talent to be competitive in the SEC. Kentucky will never be as talent rich as Florida, Georgia, or Texas and therefore will never have the horses in the stable to beat those teams year in and year out. While that statement may be true  the real problem at hand was allowing an exodus of that talent out of the state or even worse to one of our rivals.

Simply look at the final three years under Joker and where the best players in the state choose to attend college:


Lamar Dawson ****- USC


Patrick Towles ****-UK

Mekale Mckay ***- Arkansas

Zeke Pike ***- Auburn

Thomas Chapman ***- UK

Tyrone Pearson ***- WKU

Jeremy Clark ***- Michigan


Hunter Bivin ****- Notre Dame

James Quick ****- UL

Kyle Boldin**** – UL

Ryan Timmons ****- UK

Jason Hatcher ***- UK

Ryan White ***- Vandy

Jacob Hyde ***- UK

Keep in mind that Ryan Timmons was likely heading to Florida and Jason Hatcher had previously committed to USC before Stoops brought the duo to Lexington. UK is going to always have to look to other states in order to fill out the majority of the roster but when you have guys in the state who can play you’ve got to lock them up. That is exactly what didn’t happen with players like Hunter Bivin and Lamar Dawson who left our state for some of the biggest programs in the nation.

If Kentucky is ever going to be competitive in the SEC the first thing they needed to do was control our borders which is what the staff accomplished with the class of 2014:


Matt Elam ***** – UK

Drew Barker ****- UK

Lloyd Tubman ****-UK

Reggie Bonnafon ***-UL

Adrian Middleton ***-UK

What is most impressive about the 4 UK signees from our state is they all picked the Cats after looking like they were locks to other schools. Under a different regime Elam would have went to Bama, Barker to South Carolina, and Tubman to Penn State with the rest of the class not being united under the linchpin of Barker. Winning battles in our own state is a primary reason Stoops has the Cats finishing inside the top 20 and changing the culture of Kentucky football.

With guys like Damien Harris and Eli Brown in the 2015 pipeline it’s a battleground Stoops will need to continue to win. Results on the field will follow shortly after.

Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

16 responses to “Stoops Has Changed Recruiting By Winning The Commonwealth”

  1. Grammar PoPo

    “would have gone” not “would have went”

    1. Yep

      I was going to point that out but they’ve become somewhat steeled to it. Hopefully he isn’t a journalism major.

  2. 9 is fine

    Good read, something a lot of fans might brush aside. While the talent pool might not be as good as other states, if you can’t win the battles in your own state, how can you expect to win the regional/national battles? Stoops has a plan, a very detailed plan, and so far it seems he is executing every part of it. I look forward to seeing how the next 3 seasons play out. Just as Cal likes to say, “enjoy the ride”.

  3. David

    I am so glad to see Kentucky born and raised kids staying in the Commonwealth to play ball and not going out of state to play. I have my fingers crossed on landing Harris, Brown and Emmitt Smith, throw in one of those highly touted QB’s we have and I will be tickled to death.

    Keep up the good work coaches!

  4. UK Pigskin Fan

    I remember when Coach Stoops was hired by UK, I knew UK Athletics just hit a grand slam home run. I also remember shaking Coach Stoops hand after he landed at the RJ Corman airport in Nicholasville. That was yesterday.

    Today I thought, Coach Stoops knows what “action” means. He and his recruiting staff have proved that in the outstanding recruiting job they have done. The bright future of Kentucky football is arriving each day as they move forward to the future of good things to come!

    PS: Good journalism by Andrew!

    1. Real Cracka

      You’re right. He stormed out of the gates with a loss to WKU. Won 2 games against teams that were somehow worse than WKU and lost every SEC game. It felt so different.

    2. MusertheAbuser

      Real Cracka – He did that with the nations toughest schedule, Joker’s team, and a group of freshman that just started to get a feel for the college game. Expecting a 1 year rebuild in the SEC is like expecting a baby to make it’s own dinner. It’s not going to happen for a while.

  5. Luther

    Thought Jason hatch was 4 star – not 3…

  6. Real Cracka

    Now if he could only win an SEC game. Nevermind against WKU.

  7. Fair game

    First of all you left off Mr. Kentucky Football for 2014, he’s going to WKU by the way. Stoop’s isn’t winning that area in the Commonwealth. He ignored Mr. Kentucky Football!

    Second, from your list, Stoops isn’t winning the class of 2012 players, nor is he winning their area of the Commonwealth.

    Third, Dawson wouldn’t pick UK today, yesterday, or tommorrow. And he wasn’t the only big time Kentucky player in 2011.

    1. MusertheAbuser

      First of all, Fant committed to WKU before Stoop’s first season even started and Western was always going to get him.

      Second, Stoops couldn’t win the class of 2012 because he wasn’t even our coach yet, which the article points out.

      Third, while it is true that dawson was not the only big player in 2011 (Jon Davis, Darrian Miller, Zach West), You are just saying what the article said again about Dawson.

  8. BluBlud

    8 comments – 2 of them grammar queens, 2 by the same troll, one questioning stars.

    Grammar Queens: This is not Freshman Composition 101, critique and grade elsewhere. You seem to be bitter you were not selected as a member of KSR. Live with it.

    Troll: You are the perfect example of what to expect when welfare subsidized intelligence discovers the internet. I would tell you to stay off the net, but maybe you might accidentally stumble across the help wanted page, and hopefully find a job that better suits your skill levels, perhaps something in the fertilizer application business.

    Oh and Star Person – Whatever the star rating a player has listed on this entry, you can be sure it will be a better talent than what we had previously.

    The point being made, Stoops is definitely making progress in the state where UK was the Third option. That has changed, and to all you trolls and critics, find another blog to waste your life with.

    Go for a walk, ride a bike, read a book, spend time with your family, (should you have one) or just clean your room in the basement.

    Great points, thank you for the information. Try typing that for a change and try to stop being an a$$ hiding behind a keyboard with a screen.

    Go Cats.

  9. Dwoos

    Number 8. I couldn’t have said it better if I had a week to prepare.

  10. beavis606

    So do ANY of those kids from 2012 actually get on the field?

  11. Jughead

    “We all like Bob Costas”…, not.

    He’s a snarky, self-absorbed whining twit who never played sports and uses his notoriety to vomit moronic political opinions. I friggin HATE him. I would celebrate his early demise.

    And, I’m not watching the Games because of him. I’d rather catch up on spring training and let Putin and Costas have their political orgies on their own.

  12. Laker Cat 18

    “Kyle Boldin.” I hope that was on purpose. I don’t like Lexington Catholic or Louisville.