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Kentucky’s 2014 Class Can Finish in Top 10, With or Without Five-Star Talent

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Kentucky isn’t going to finish with the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, but they can finish very high and possibly in the top 10. I keep hearing from rival fans and naysayers that once all the five-star recruits commit elsewhere, Kentucky will drop way down in the rankings. That’s false. Kentucky’s already done the work to stay in the top 10-15 if they continue at the same pace and do not lose a significant number of their commitments, even if they do not sign a five-star recruit. It’s true that most five-star prospects will wait until next spring and likely sign with the Alabama’s and Notre Dame’s of the world, but there’s a very small number of five-star recruits and there’s only a handful of schools who will sign them. It would be huge for Kentucky to pick up one or two five-stars, but it won’t necessarily knock the class out of the top 10 if they don’t.

ESPN’s recruiting rankings currently recognize 11 players as five-star prospects and Rivals recognizes 18 as five-stars. No matter which recruiting service you prefer, there are less than 20 five-star players that may be split among approximately 7-10 programs. It’s not going to kill Kentucky’s recruiting ranking if they do not sign a single five-star recruit. If they are able to sign just one of them, it could secure at least a top-10 spot, or maybe even better. You can take a look back at last year’s rankings to see that signing five-stars isn’t a necessity to have a top-10 class. UCLA’s 2013 class finished ranked No. 8 with zero five-star recruits. Michigan signed just one five-star and had the No. 5 class. Ohio State and Florida finished 2nd and 4th respectively with two five-stars. Tennessee, Georgia, Clemson and Oklahoma all finished in the top 15, along with UCLA, without a five-star prospect.

As Kentucky basketball fans, we are conditioned to think that anything less than a five-star is so-so, but that’s not the case in football when you are trying to build a deep roster of 70+ instead of 12 or 13. The heart of a football recruiting class is built on four-star and three-star prospects. Even Alabama fans were excited about adding a four-star quarterback this past week, the top-ranked QB commit in the Nick Saban-era. Adding a five-star prospect to this class would be huge, and if the momentum continues it may not be out of the question. But Stoops is on pace for a top-ten class, potentially with or without five star talent. The program down the road isn’t on pace for such a class and isn’t going to get much five-star talent either, despite what they may tell you. Don’t let Louisville fans or anyone else try to put down what Stoops is doing. It’s simply a matter of time before things are restored to the way they are supposed to be in the Commonwealth.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on blogredmachine.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

27 Comments for Kentucky’s 2014 Class Can Finish in Top 10, With or Without Five-Star Talent



  1. Mack
    9:43 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Is it still possible for some of the players that are already UK commits to move up from a 3 to a 4 or even a 4 t0 a 5?



  2. cracka
    9:44 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    the only teams in the top 15 last year with an avg as low as ours is right now was 14 and 15 … so, we may actually have to improve and get better recruits than we’ve been getting just to be sniffing the top 10 when it’s all done



  3. cracka
    9:45 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Mack, sure they can go up or down …



  4. I Shoot 4s
    9:46 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    I’m with #1. Who’s to say that Barker doesn’t shine at elite 11 finals and end up bein a 5*?



  5. NorthernKYcatfan
    9:50 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Guys like Barker and Stanley Williams still have shots at 5 stars.



  6. Stoooooops
    9:52 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Why no mention of Lorenzo Carter the #9 prospect over all from Norcross GA. Who has UK as one of his favorites! From what I’ve seen UK has a decent shot at landing him!



  7. CatsFan12
    9:52 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Western alum and fan writes for the local newspaper here in WKY. He wrote an article in today’s newspaper that UK is hyped to be getting a bunch of 3 star players. He said he doesn’t think we should be excited about this and that it will change nothing in the program. It’s terrible to read this garbage and especially written by a person with WKU’s little brother syndrome. He is just pissy that he is writing for a small town newspaper and wishes WKU was doing better with Petrino.



  8. TDog
    9:57 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    6. He is actually #5 overall in the nation on rivals. If we get him I might cry tears of joy.



  9. Mike
    9:57 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Are any five star recruits listings us in their top 5?



  10. dWade
    9:59 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Rivals lists only 18 5-star recruits which spreads them very thinly among the top programs.



  11. Funky Monkey
    10:03 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Why John do you say of the 5-stars will sign with UK, that they ‘ll go to Bama or Notre Dame,…? You are that old negative mind set that we got rid of when we cut Joker loose. You can write all the negative expectation stuff you want, but I’m catching the Stoops train of yes we can.



  12. Piggy
    10:03 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still pig underneath.



  13. Frankthetank
    10:09 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    The only issue I have is saying its a matter of time before order is restored to the way things are supposed to be in Commonwealth. I am hoping things will be better…much better..than they ever have. Why is it beyond reason for UK to have a top 10 program?



  14. Stooooops
    10:16 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    #8 He was 5 but know he’s dropped to 9. They must have updated ir recently.
    #13 I don’t know how you’ve came to that conclusion from what I’ve seen UK and UL are both right in the mix! Guess you know more then the kid does?



  15. NebraskaFan
    10:27 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    I’m your all’s bitch. Pls let me know how I can be of service.



  16. cmon
    10:28 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    15- Tell me where he said that he is heavily considering Kentucky. Is he making a visit anytime soon? Why would a five star who is actually considering Kentucky not be getting more attention from Kentucky writers? The reason for this is he has publicly said Alabama and Georgia are his favorites and other schools like Ohio state and Florida have chances



  17. Frog
    10:30 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Maybe because I’m really really lifted, but I think cal and stoops are the best coaching tandem in the nation, and will prove it in the next 3 to 4 years. Louisville is in the top 5 and better is strong is better



  18. Duke sucks
    10:34 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    #17 What read on ESPN he had UK and UL on the list with UF and OSU that had a chance. IT also said the only 2 he was sure going too for a visit was Bama, and GA. He hadn’t ruled out visiting UK or UL!



  19. bankshot
    10:35 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    Does anyone know who #55 is in this picture?



  20. CATinNKY
    11:17 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    The four stars who get bumped up to 5 stars are usually ranked very highly as 4 stars, just below the currnet 5 stars (so in this class players ranked 1-18) The UK 4 stars are ranked in the hundreds, and have many other four stars ahead of them. They will not all become 5 star players, so it is highly unikely that any of the current4 star commits UK has move up t 5 stars. It is muh more likely that some of the 3 star recruitsget bumped up to earning a 4th star



  21. Stooooooops
    11:33 pm June 16, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t care how many stars they have as long as other SEC schools are wanting them. If Bama and Notre Dame want them UK is lucky to get them! Just as long as its not like the Joker days when the other offers where MAC schools.



  22. Scooby
    12:00 am June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone is all about a lot of our guys getting bumped up but in reality it’s probably not going to happen. Last year a total of 12 guys got bumped up….. 12. If Drew Barker was going to get a 5th he needed to be dominant at the 5-star challenge and he wasn’t. No matter how his senior year is it will be downplayed because he is in the state of KY. BOOM isn’t a high enough 4-star to get a 5th. The only guys I can see getting the bump to 4-star status is Elam. Maybe Jared Tucker. A guy that might be the biggest mover is Tymere Dubose but I don’t think he will gain stars he will just move up in the scale to a 5.6 or 5.7 which is still good because we gain points. Don’t forget flannigan hasn’t been evaluated either. He was a 5.6 coming out of high school so one would think he would at least be that out of a juco. They just don’t bump too many guys up.



  23. David
    2:35 am June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Boom just might be another Randal Cobb, did not matter what star he got, he was just a star among the best 5 and 4 stars. I am excited with what Stoops has done so far and I hate these so called fans who cannot see big improvements even if it walked up and hit them in the face.



  24. Dicky Lyons
    6:19 am June 17, 2013 Permalink

    Good read, thanks John



  25. Big Blue Fish
    7:37 am June 17, 2013 Permalink

    While this is all exciting, it’s June 17th and signing day is over SEVEN months away, the first Wednesday in February.
    It’s like a fishing tournament, the fish is hooked, but lots of strange things can happen before the fish is pulled into the UK boat.



  26. dshwildcats
    10:34 am June 17, 2013 Permalink

    I think #22 is right on the money, fellas! Although a Top 5-10 class would be great, I think we need to concentrate more on who else is wanting the kids we end up getting. If we are getting kids that Alabama, LSU, UGA, Ohio State, ND, etc., want, then we are doing just fine!

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the Western fans, #7! I’m sure Hilltopper fans that think this boost in the level talent won’t help UK in the long run, also believe that Petrino is going to retire from Western. Lol!! You might tell them they need to worry more Petrino’s recruiting than Stoops’. Western’s class is not even listed in Rivals Top 100 classes; and, they’re ranked 77th by Scout (they have ONE recruit for the 2014 class).

    I’m hearing the exact same thing from the Louisville fans I know! They think it is somehow their “destiny” to be one of the “big boys” of college football, while believing Kentucky could never assume such status.

    I wish this wasn’t the last year of our contract with Western. I would love to have them on the schedule for another 4 years!!



  27. Not Sure
    1:36 pm June 17, 2013 Permalink

    @27….I’m not sure, but I think we still have 1 year after this year on the contact with WKU