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Ignore the SEC rankings, think big picture

Too many people are looking at Kentucky’s 13th ranking in the SEC and writing this group off as no better than the last.  Those people don’t get it, at all, and their negativity is frustrating to see when Stoops has put together a hell of a class.  That number means very little when you’re evalutating the SEC, where over half the programs in the conference are among the best classes in the country every year.

In the SEC, unlike the other BCS conferences, it’s not about leapfrogging to the top of the rankings with a single recruiting class; it’s about closing the talent gap between your team and the Alabamas and LSUs.  And that’s exactly what Mark Stoops has done with his 2013 class.  Yeah, Kentucky is still towards the back of the pack, but that spot in the back, though still the same number, is much closer to the front, talent-wise, than it has been in years past.  It’s like losing a footrace by a couple lengths when you’ve been used to collapsing, gasping for air, and crawling to the finish line in previous races.  Kentucky still isn’t coming in first, second or third, but it’s on the heels of the leaders, gaining confidence, and turning up the pressure for the next race.

If you’re honestly disappointed in Kentucky not being towards the top of the SEC rankings this season, I love your enthusiasm, but you’re crazy.  The SEC has six of the top 10 classes in America and half of the top 20.  That’s absurd.  The 10th-ranked class in the SEC is the 20th-ranked in the country.  The 13th-ranked class in the conference, Kentucky, is No. 28 in the country.  Last year, the 10th-ranked SEC team was No. 30 nationally and Kentucky was No. 62.  Talent is up in the conference’s bottom tier and Kentucky is in on the action, chasing down the perennial recruiting powerhouses at the top.

So, if you want progress, look nationally to see Kentucky’s movement up the rankings.  UK was on pace for another class ranking somewhere in the 60s, but Stoops has the Cats sitting just outside the top 25 and looking in with a couple highly-touted players out there still deciding.  It’s quite the improvement from everything we’ve seen before, regardless of that 13th SEC ranking.


UK’s class rankings since 2002

2002: 94
2003: 63
2004: 52
2005: 67
2006: 36
2007: 54
2008: 57
2009: 41
2010: 50
2011: 61
2012: 62
2013: 28 (can still improve)

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

72 Comments for Ignore the SEC rankings, think big picture

  1. fur eel
    6:44 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Judging by some of the KSR posts on facility upgrades, I guess it is safe to say UK would have landed the #1 class and the college football equivalent to the Baltimore Ravens if only they could get a ‘recruiting room.’

  2. booger
    6:48 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Looks like probation in years to come!!!!!!

  3. Coach Jamin
    6:48 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    After 30 years of watching horrible football, sans a season or two here and there, here in Kentucky, I have learned one thing. Recruiting is prophetic only to a certain extent. Sure, it’s the foundation for which success can be built… but, to a bigger extent, it is what the coaches who are in place can do with that talent. I think Stoops past defenses and Brown’s past offenses speak for themselves. While the numbers say we’re still a bottom feeder in the SEC and that is what really matters, I’m going to see what these coaches can do with that talent before I cast judgement. Best class in a long long time in Kentucky football lore. If these kids are even decently coached up… we’ll look back in 3 years and laugh at the doubt that we are casting right now. Just one fan’s perspective, take it as you will.

  4. hey
    6:51 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    1&2- Butt-hurt much, trolls?

  5. Bob
    6:54 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t believe they got rid of the iron in Monopoly.

  6. Hey Drew
    6:54 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Go Cats! Is this cause for a delete?

  7. Mitch
    6:55 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool ass opotamus?

  8. WoodyCat
    6:55 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Expectation of great things to come! Fantastic recruiting job by our new staff in 2 1/2 months.
    I’ve been lifelong Wildcat fan. I rarely attend games, but always watch or listen to every game.
    I ordered season tickets yesterday for the first time. I believe!

  9. MANIA
    6:55 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    All this mouth for THAT?

    #4 – Butt-hurt would be the author. You know it, he knows it.

    Look at the rankings… You guys love rankings. Quantity, not Quality, leads the the ranking system your propagandist leaders enjoy quoting.

    It’s a good class, but mostly because there’s so much room to sign this year…

    “Over half”… “are among the best”… That’s sounds awesome, is UK there?

  10. UK_Ryan
    6:56 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Drew…I don’t expect a 8-4 season next year or a BCS bowl (as some fans have suggested) in 3 years by any stretch, but this class was one heck of a haul by a guy and his staff on the job for a about 2 months. I hope these “realistic” fans will try to see the glass half-full and just enjoy this for once.

  11. cats
    6:57 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    the way you have to look at it from our view point is that we got multiple 7 and 8 win seasons with classes 10-20 spots lower than this one, plus its about getting players that fit right with your system

  12. JBR
    6:58 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Well said Drew…it is a learning curve for a largely basketball fanbase, and only casually pays attention to football. There is a big difference here, though…we now have a great recruiter that, and only time will truly tell, but that will also COACH this team. Say what you want about how good of a guy he was, Joker could not coach a high school team. He was horrible. So, with the next couple of years (and it takes more than a year in football) we will see better classes AND better coaching.

  13. UK Homer
    6:59 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I think all UK football fans are excited about this, but you can’t blame those who point out that over half of our schedule has a better class than us. We are definitely in a better position to overachieve and win over half of our games, but it’s somewhat demoralizing when you realize we’re 5-7 (correct me if I’m wrong) against our schedule. That said, 5-7 beats 2-10. Go Cats! I like the big step in the right direction!

  14. Mengus
    6:59 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    9) Jason Hatcher chose UK over Cha-ley and the Cawds. Its burning you up inside. I can feel it.

  15. booger
    7:00 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Ii meant Hurtt will have UofL on probation for years to come sorry.

  16. Andy Taylor
    7:00 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Congrats coach Stoops! Keep up the awesome work and just like coach Cal says about what it takes to win. #1 great players 2. great players and #3 great players. We are starting to get real SEC caliber players here at UK and man it feels good.

  17. Happyhappyhappy
    7:01 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I have followed UK and been a season ticket holder (except for the last two seasons) for many years. I have to say that this is one of the most exciting recruiting processes I have followed. If we bring in classes like this over the next few years, we will be competitive in the SEC. I think that’s all the BBN wants, is to be competitive. May take Stoops and company a few years, but I see us finally going in the right direction. We just need to exercise patience. Big difference in the talent level in this class. Job well done!!

  18. Rixter
    7:02 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    If Kentucky can finish close to .500 in the SEC, 2nd or 3rd in the East, win all the non-conference games, and a bowl game…would you complain?

  19. Andy Taylor
    7:02 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Oh yeah and #1 and 2 go eat crow trolls.

  20. UKBlue
    7:05 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    This is going to take a couple of years to turn around, but at least now we are finally headed in the right direction. Hiring Stooops was step 1, hiring the rest of the coaches was step 2, today was step 3.

    UL trolls really need to be worrying about themselves, wondering how UK pulled recruits that they really really wanted away from them, and the major fact that UL wins are going to be taken away from them over Coach Hurtt & their future & ability to recruit because of Hurtt eventually getting show cause.

  21. tdogg40330
    7:07 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    18) hell naww, thats means a win over UL and a bowl win ….sounds good to me

  22. JBR
    7:09 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Where you at G-Unit? We gonna get Lawson and/or Hearns?

  23. JTack
    7:11 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I agree 100%. I can’t believe people on here can piss and moan about what this staff has accomplished in less than 3 months.

  24. MANIA
    7:11 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    14 – we’re talking about football… You know, 11 guys on the field…

    Are you kidding me? Citing one player, regardless of who it is, as your rationale?

    The Cards DEFINITELY want to trade you Quick, or even Teddy for Hatcher… Ohh yes, they would make that trade. They also want to trade Charlie for Stoops. Yes, they do.

    Wash off the makeup Joker.

  25. Tony Edelen
    7:12 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    It is amazing how all the Tard fans in Bardstown are so uninformed and simply ignorant for the most part….All I heard all day was “we didn’t want Hatcher he is a thug and to small to play n the little east” Charlie told him to go to UK due to the fact he would never see the field at da Ville….lol I can’t recall more Big Blue Envy ever before in my life!

  26. Stupid is as stupid does
    7:12 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Ranking a recruiting class the day they sign is like ranking a draft class the day after the draft. Stupid. Its not basketball where there are less kids and more opportunities for coaches to scout, football has a lot more variables. Randall Cobb was only a three star recruit. Its football, some of the kids will see the field next year, most will not and we won’t know their value until they develop & play two or more seasons from now.

  27. Rixter
    7:12 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    # 9. how are you liking that # 55 ranking on the heels of an obviously meaningless Sugar Bowl win??

  28. MANIA
    7:13 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    When will Math tell you what Step 4 is?

  29. Iucansuckabigblue....
    7:14 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Something to be said for a man that comes in and in two months. Two months! Pulls in the highest ranked recruiting class ever in the history of a program. I love his fire and his desire to help make this thing. Work. I love how the former players are all in with Coach Stoops. I love how we are getting players and coaches that want to be Wildcats.

    If last year we got one 4 Star it would have been breaking news. And this man in 2 months got 3 and possibly another. Things are changing. Things are getting better. Brighter days are coming. We get the funding for the stadium. And in two years it is going to be a different ball game. I believe it 100%.

    And for all you trolls? If you dislike us so much why are you trolling a Kentucky site? Cause you don’t care Right? You need to go on your own crappy blog that gets 20 hits a day and stop worrying about Kentucky.

    Ohh and another thing haters :

    2012 Kentucky Wildcats NCAA National Champions

  30. MANIA
    7:14 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    27 – Beating Florida… That’s not a goal of Stoops?

    Ohh okay, I thought that was something you were trying to accomplish.

  31. same ol
    7:14 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Big time UK fan here… just hate to see everybody drinking dat cool aide…
    We had the 36 best class a few years back, now we have the 28.
    In the end, as it will always be, we win half the games it’s HUGE… we win 1 or 2 more and it’s heaven.
    We get the 13th best in SEC because that’s exactly what we are… bottom of the SEC.

    Who cares what we are nationally?
    We play a few out of conference games and then it’s back to the regulars who make us their door mat.

    I realize you get better #’s with excitement like this, but it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

    Kentucky will always be a middle of the pack SEC at best… and I’m fine with that. Can’t wait to watch them next year.

  32. seasontickolder
    7:15 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    this has been just amazing to watch excited for the future.
    happy to be a season tic holder!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. MANIA
    7:15 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Just passing thru, Stoops told me to check in on the fans of his little brutha… Mark.

  34. old man
    7:17 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I’m wondering if this post will make it. For some reason, KSR likes to delete my post for no apparent reason. I just wanted to say that Stoops did a great job with this class and I think great things are coming to the program. Maybe not SEC titles, but a program that isn’t a “bye” week for other SEC teams.

  35. WayneChismsHeadBand
    7:19 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    There are a lot of dumb ass people, and some of those people are unfortunately UK fans. If you can’t be excited about today, take your negative ass some where else. This class is better then the last 10 combined. Sure, Stoops has to win with them, but he also had to get them here first. Those Poo-pooing this class can go root for Louisville, you fit right in with them, as most of them want to down grade this class at every turn. Of course, they DON’T want Hatcher know. The Fighting Line Beards will always be Little brother. No matter how many games they win, because they have a little brother complex.

  36. MANIA
    7:22 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Well with this class, it’s Libert Bowl or bust…

    Stay classy guys.

  37. jpgott2
    7:25 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    For only being on the job for 2 months, this is a crazy good class, that could still get better. The great thing about Stoops is that he can build a legit defense (something UK fans have not seen at UK in some time), and Neal Brown can build an Air Raid that few teams see in the SEC.

    UK has a legit football fan base that is hungry for SEC success, and Stoop’s with time, can be that answer.

  38. Randy Marsh
    7:28 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Drew, thanks for this post. Let the cynics be silenced, and let us appreciate this for what it is – like you said, a move to close the talent gap with those ahead of us in the SEC. It is a great time to be a part of the BBN! GO BIG BLUE!

  39. Reese Bobby
    7:32 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    “Kentucky is still toward the back of the pack, but that spot in the back, tho still the same number, is much closer to the front” lol, really? Like I told my boy Ricky: “if you ain’t first, you’re last.”

  40. PeytonSivasFacialHair
    7:32 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    MANIA, If Super Chuck couldn’t go unbeaten in the Big Least, he damn sure won’t go unbeaten in the ACC. But keep beating your all’s chest about beating a Florida team who gave two shits about playing you all. All that win did was set Super Chuck up for going to Florida when that job opens. If Texas struggles again Mack Brown will retire, Muschamp will go back to Texas, and Charlie will bolt for Florida and he won’t think twice. Florida isn’t a dumpster fire like UT was and he almost went there. Heard it here first. If I were a Louisville fan I’d enjoy my success and STFU. The last time you all flapped your gums this much Stevie got loose on you in Commonwealth. How quickly you forget. But you’ll remember come next September.

  41. Holden
    7:34 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t see the difference between Joker’s last in league signing classes and Stoops’s first. Still at the bottom of the league.

  42. Stickman
    7:39 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    MANIA Says:
    February 6th, 2013 at 6:55 pm
    “Look at the rankings… You guys love rankings. Quantity, not Quality, leads the the ranking system your propagandist leaders enjoy quoting.”

    Soooo……..what does that say about Louisville sitting approximately 25 spots BELOW the Cats? I see where they’ve signed less 4 star and 3 star players than the Cats, therefore the only logical conclusion is that Loserville can’t achieve quantity OR quality.

    Your tears taste good, MANIA. MMMMMMMM Drink it up.

  43. jpgott2
    7:40 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    It feels good to have UL trolls on our boards. It means things are going right! I am going to go read some Cardchronicle to laugh at UL fans justifying them missing on some of their big targets.

  44. Stickman
    7:40 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Holden Says:
    February 6th, 2013 at 7:34 pm
    “I don’t see the difference between Joker’s last in league signing classes and Stoops’s first. Still at the bottom of the league.”

    Maybe you should take a minute to read the article before you demonstrate your lack of understanding. It’s spelled out in crystal clear terms.

  45. Shelbyjoe
    7:42 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    This is a GREAT class, goal for this year is close the talent gap, which we did, outrecruit louisville, which we did, and build momentum. Mission accomplished.

  46. Smdreads
    7:52 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I am convinced that 70% of these comments are trolls. Are you all this pathetic? Also, If you don’t see a difference between this class that was gotten in two months, and all those other classes, you are kidding yourself. The 2006 class was the best of the bunch not including this year, but 4* Demetrius Goode never made it to campus, so that ranking would be lower.

  47. Frew Dranklin
    8:00 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Stoops is on job for 2 months, lands best recruiting class ever at UK, pulls multiple 4 stars from Kentucky with offers from Florida, OH St, and USC? Who is complaining? Quadinal Fans! That is who is complaining! Great first class with which to start. Get the air raid sirens going, create exciting football and get kids excited to play at UK and those future classes of recruits will only get better! In case you missed it, Neil Brown said, BOOM!!

  48. Kevin C.
    8:01 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    It’s really sad…and embarrassing, for the rest of BBN…that Drew felt the need to write this in-depth explanation, for the sake of a few morons and trolls.

    8:02 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    for all you haters…the only 2* recruits we have were recruited by and signed during the Joker era…

  50. jonathan
    8:03 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    haha, MANIA is such a jagoff…what a clown. but by all means, please keep posting, great laughs. trying to convince himself that our class isn’t noteworthy after being in the 50s and 60s the last decade. that just goes to show how delusional people are.

    8:05 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    also why don’t you haters go check out Jason Hatcher’s page and see the colleges who offered him a spot on their rosters…he turned down LOU (who sent 2 of their coaches to recruit him, i guess that wasn’t enough lil bro), Alabama, USC, Florida, ND, Ohio State….if Stoops can change this yuoung man’s mind in the 2 months hes been on the job no telling what the future holds…baby steps fellas!

    8:06 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    they didn’t sign during joker’s time but they were recruited by him..sorry

  53. Rae
    8:20 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    You know we are actually pissing people off now. Nebraska fans were pretty salty over McWilson (of course they were using last year’s record and attendance against us like it is the norm.) We usually would be pissing off Nebraska Community College.

  54. judd
    8:21 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    If you’re complaining about this class you’re stupid.

  55. BradinMississippi
    8:22 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    #54 Amen brother

  56. Hugh
    8:27 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I was a huge hater on uk last yr

    U like stoops

    I like the class

    I thinks he is turning the ship unfortunately for the bball fans playing football fans it take 2-3 yes in football to really start seeing a program change

    I like stoop I’ve been turned

  57. DerbyDemon
    8:45 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    #33–Ah, Mania. What REALLY pisses you off is the fact that U of L is–and ALWAYS WILL BE–second in the Commonwealth. And there’s not ONE thing you all can ever do to change that. My how that must eat at you all…every day, day in and day out, week end and week out, month in, and, well, you get the picture. Run along now, and convince yourselves of your relevance.

  58. Lawrence of Kentucky
    8:51 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Nothing is written.

  59. whysoserious
    8:53 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I am a U of L fan and congrats on a great class IMO. It is great since it was done very quickly by Stoops.

    The article is correct- SEC rankings are misleading and Stoops was obviously way behind.

    I have never believed the “you can’t win in the SEC at Kentucky” argument.

  60. uradumaz
    9:00 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    #39 “if your not first your last”. I guess that banner you losers hung in the chicken coup is for last place. What a joke. I would rather eat a shi* salad than ever admit to being a cards fan!

  61. Bobbum man
    9:04 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    31- good try troll…. Any post that starts with “Big time UK fan here” followed by a bunch of negativity is
    A little obvious

  62. BK in Scottsville
    9:28 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    This is a really good class. I think a lot of folks forget about the under coached potential that we already have. Dupree, Williamson, Tiller, Johnson, Faulkner, Towles, West, Clemmons, Cobbins, Sweat, and there are many others. Excited to see how we mesh and coach these guys with the new talent.

  63. Holden
    9:53 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I get it. Fantastic recruiting class! National ranking has jumped from the 62 to 28. The talent gap with the top SEC teams has narrowed. And that’s a start. There been an influx of talent into the bottom of the SEC and UK has kept pace! The SEC ranking is misleading. The ranking that says there are 12 teams with better classes than UK. Look at the national ranking and there still be 12 teams ranked higher. What with negativity? It is fact. We are still at the bottom of the league.

  64. Bk in Scottsville
    10:07 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    #62 – Whatever man… Take a shot of whatever it is you drink, start a campfire, and tell the trees how they would be better if they were closer to the creek. Geez

  65. Bk in Scottsville
    10:08 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink


  66. TimC
    11:12 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    Actually we have moved up another spot to #27 nationally and 12th in the SEC on Rivals. (UL 57th)

  67. really?
    11:19 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I’m not a troll in the slightest.
    I can’t wait for football season… I have season tickets.
    I was there every game last year and even through the losses had a great time supporting my team.
    I’m just a realist, and last is last.
    Btw talent is on a 3-4 year cycle. This one class ( best ever, yet still @ the bottom ) won’t change much. It means that one year of our recruiting is still last…but in a less bad way…

    Any way you slice it, we are still at the bottom.. doesn’t mean I won’t be sitting there proudly. It just means I don’t think you should put this crazy hype behind the team only to have everyone pissed that we don’t take over the SEC in 1-3 (or 50 for that matter) years…

  68. fake random guy
    11:25 pm February 6, 2013 Permalink

    I was genuinely excited about UK’s football commitments today, especially Ryan Timmons and Jason Hatcher…I got to the church tonite, was in a corner by myself going over my music, when a “friend” that is a UL fan came straight to me and literally started making fun of the the new UK football coach, the players that signed, saying they were tricked into signing with UK, and then went into this rant that Joker Phillips never got a chance as a head coach….after he left me alone, he went to his seat and talked about UK football for 15 minutes straight…now folks, I know plenty of UL fans that would not do that….I had a shitty day anyway, and it’s a wonder I didn’t get mad and say a bunch of crap, but I actually smiled and said “yeah, ok”…what an ass

  69. buddyblue62
    1:04 am February 7, 2013 Permalink

    hell yeah im ready for some football.GO BIG BLUE

  70. Earache
    7:17 am February 7, 2013 Permalink

    Well said uncle drew

  71. Matt
    9:24 am February 7, 2013 Permalink

    We are ahead of Arkansas and Missouri

  72. Jacob Adam Brooks
    12:58 pm February 7, 2013 Permalink

    The 13th out of 14th argument is so dumb. The idea that that means they can’t compete is only true if the 13th class is in the forties fifties or sixties. If you look at the ninth through 13th classes there’s not a big gap and the gap is extremely dependent upon how the 5.5 and 5.6 guys develop.

    You also have to factor in the offensive system were using now and just the coaching in general. We’re using a system that will put up a ton of points and keep people on their heels and we’ve got a great defensive mind as a head coach that’s already landing major defensive talent. I don’t care if were 14 out of 14 every year as long as were top 25 or so. With this staff and this offensive we can take major advantage of consistent top 25 classes.

    As long as we always have a good qb and strong defense we can compete