Five weeks from today the first college football early signing period will begin. On the heels of a decommitment from a four-star All-American quarterback, you might think that Vince Marrow is flustered entering the final stretch of the recruiting season. That’s not the case.
Kentucky’s recruiting coordinator has the country’s No. 25 class, a team with a 7-3 record and is not missing a beat from one late defection.
“We found Stephen Johnson when we had a guy flip last time. If we can do that, I will take that any day. That’s for the record. I want everybody to know that,” Marrow said. “He’s going to go down as one of the winningest quarterbacks here.”
All is fair in love, war and recruiting. Marrow has already moved on to the next one.
“It’s a thing where it happened, we wish kids well, we wish their families well, but we’re right back on two, three, four, five more quarterbacks so it’s no big deal.”
One of those quarterbacks is Junior College quarterback Terry Wilson. The former Oregon Duck received a scholarship offer yesterday, shortly after Kentucky commenced communication. Things move fast for JUCO prospects.
“Coaches want you to play right away,” former JUCO quarterback Stephen Johnson said yesterday. “I think I got to school Tuesday when it started. I was on my recruiting trip Friday and Saturday. As soon as I got back home, I packed my bags and came right back here.”
Things will move fast in the final five weeks before signing day. When asked how much busier he is with the shortened recruiting season, Marrow chuckled. Even though it’s a heavier workload, he likes the new December period.
“We work 24/7 anyway, but now you can get a kid to sign in December instead of fighting that whole battle in February. In the past when we were first starting out, we had some kids that we identified — not just us, other schools — and other schools will come in January or late, close to February and pick them kids up. So signing in December I think is a good thing for a lot of people. I know a lot of coaches are for it.”
Marrow believes Kentucky will lock up most of the class in December, then give the coaches freedom to find a late surprise for the traditional NSD on the first Wednesday of February.
“Most kids want to make a pledge and go to the school they’re going to. It’s just that if you take it all the way February, you’ve got people, something may happen and people can mess with them a little bit. But I think in December, most kids know where they want to go. You figure, you’re going to be signing somewhere in two months after that.
“I think in December you’ll see about 90 percent of the class sign the papers then. And then it tells us, if they don’t sign, they must not be that serious with us. And then we’ll go out and recruit somebody else.”
This class has a few things that no other Mark Stoops class had. There are two players from the state of Michigan, including the state’s No. 1 prospect Marquan McCall. There are seven recruits from Ohio, but thanks to Eddie Gran, the 2018 class will have six recruits from the state of Florida.
“I think people are starting to see our brand and our logo more strong in the South, but you still gotta keep working. You gotta keep grinding down there. Up North we’ve been pretty good from day one. As we keep winning and beating them South schools in the SEC, they see that Kentucky is a good place to come to.”
Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow are expanding Kentucky’s recruiting territory in 2018. They plan on expanding the following list before National Signing Day on December 20.
Kentucky Football 2018 Signees
|Marquan McCall||OG||Oak Park, Mi.||6-4||320||4-star|
|Darian Kinnard||OT||Cleveland, Oh.||6-7||336||4-star|
|Terry Wilson||QB||Omaha, Ne.||6-2||180||3-star|
|Chris Oats||OLB||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-4||215||4-star|
|DeAndre Square||S/OLB||Detroit, Mi.||6-1||200||3-star|
|Brenden Bates||TE||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-5||230||3-star|
|Stanley Garner||CB||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.||6-3||180||3-star|
|Quintin Wilson||C||Cincinnati, Oh.||6-3||290||3-star|
|Marvin Alexander||WR||Hollywood, Fl.||6-3||175||3-star|
|Kavosiey Smoke||RB||Wetumpka, Al.||6'||215||3-star|
|Jamari Brown||CB||Pompano Beach, Fl.||6-3||180||3-star|
|Davoan Hawkins||DE||Hollywood, Fl.||6-4||270||3-star|
|Akeem Hayes||ATH/WR||Hollywood, Fl.||5-10||175||3-star|
|Keaton Upshaw||TE||Lima, Oh.||6-7||225||3-star|
|Bryce Oliver||WR||Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.||6-3||205||3-star|
|Christopher Rodriguez||RB||McDonough, Ga.||5-11||200||3-star|
|Ashtan Pierre||ATH||Deerfield Beach, Fl.||6-2||191||3-star|
|Nick Lewis||OT||Jacksonville, Fl.||6-9||350||3-star|
|Domonique Williams||JUCO CB||Knoxville, Tn.||5-10||190||3-star|
|Kenneth Horsey||OT||Seminole, Fl.||6-4||325||3-star|
|Jerquavion “Qua” Mahone||DT||Manchester, Ga.||6-4||195||N/A|
|LiAllen Dailey||WR||Pinson, Al.||6-4||200||3-star|
|Chance Poore||K||Anderson, Sc.||6-3||200||3-star|
|Max Duffy||P||Western Australia||6-1||176||3-star|