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.