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Mark Stoops’ most important contribution so far: The 2013 Class

When it’s all said and done, I think most of us hope to be sitting down many years from now analyzing the success and longevity of Mark Stoops’ coaching career at the University of Kentucky. Stoops has lofty goals set out for the program under his leadership, and the coaching staff has already started putting the pieces together to build a new culture. The new culture will hopefully result in a sustained improvement over time for the Kentucky football program. Let’s just say for a moment that Mark Stoops is able to bring Kentucky out of the basement of the SEC, with the Cats no longer being a perennial doormat for the rest of the conference to pencil in as an “easy win” each season. Let’s say Stoops does put Kentucky into the middle, or even knocking on the top tier of the SEC by the time it’s all said and done. Let’s say that Kentucky consistently finds itself in bowl games at the end of each season, sporting 6-8 wins on a regular basis. Let’s say Mark Stoops and his staff bring in a top 10, top 8, or even a top 5 ranked recruiting class. Let’s say Commonwealth Stadium becomes a destination that other teams fear playing each season because the environment is electric, and the stands are filled to the brim each  Saturday. Let’s say a lot of these things go right, and fewer end up going wrong. When it’s all said and done… even if Mark Stoops leads Kentucky football to places it has never, or very rarely been… none of those things might be Stoops’ biggest contribution to Kentucky football. Mark Stoops’ most important contribution might just be the 2013 recruiting class.

That sounds crazy, if you consider all of the potential exciting things that could happen at Kentucky over the course of the next few years and beyond. But take a moment to think about what this season could have been like without the 60-ish day recruiting binge that Stoops and his newly constructed coaching staff went on upon their arrival in Lexington. The staff hit the ground running and made lemonade out of the lemons left by Joker Phillips. Although the class wasn’t pieced together exactly as the staff would have hoped for, considering how late in the game the whole process started– the end result was nothing short of impressive. If Kentucky doesn’t bring in the class it did for 2013, what kind of roster and season would we be looking at right now? The season is difficult enough as is, with a brutal schedule and a host of newcomers who are feeling their way through these first few games, learning on the fly in many cases. Kentucky is finding ways to keep fans positive and excited about the future, even if the results may not come this year. The momentum that Stoops has continued to keep rolling since his arrival has been aided greatly, even with the losses, by bright glimpses into the future.  How is the program able to keep some momentum? With guys like Za’Darius Smith, Jojo Kemp, Ryan Timmons, Javess Blue, Jason Hatcher, etc. The future is bright, and the production from the corps of newcomers has been simply invaluable during a period of transition between the Joker Phillips era of Kentucky football and the Mark Stoops era of Kentucky football.


The key contributors/starters from the 2013 Recruiting Class:

WR- Jeff Badet

WR- Ryan Timmons

WR- Javess Blue

WR- Alex Montgomery

RB- Jojo Kemp

DE- Jason Hatcher

DE- Za’Darius Smith

Nickel- Blake McClain

Nickel- Marcus McWilson

CB- Nate Willis


By my count, that’s approximately 10 players who are either currently starting OR at least contributing in a significant way for Kentucky over the course of the first 3 games. Some of these young players will see an expanded role as Kentucky moves forward as well due to productive and positive early performances. Let’s break things down even further…


RUSHING LEADERS (2013 Recruiting Class in Bold)

640 Rushing Yards Total on the Season

1. Jojo Kemp – 167 yards

2. Jalen Whitlow- 160 yards

3. Raymond Sanders- 153 yards

4. Ryan Timmons- 79 yards

5. Jonathan George- 49 yards

6. Javess Blue- 23 yards

7. Dyshawn Mobley- 12 yards

*2013 Recruiting Class is responsible for 269 out of 640 rushing yards on the season


RECEIVING LEADERS (2013 Recruiting Class in Bold)

830 Total Receiving Yards on the Season

1. Javess Blue, 197 yards

2. Ryan Timmons, 133 yards

3. Jeff Badet, 124 yards

4. Anthony Kendrick, 102 yards

5. Demarco Robinson, 69 yards

6. Jonathan George, 54 yards

7. Alex Montgomery, 39 yards

9. Steven Borden, 25 yards

11. Jojo Kemp, 11 yards

*2013 Recruiting Class is responsible for 529 out of 830 total receiving yards on the season


DEFENSIVE LEADERS- Total Tackles (2013 Recruiting Class in Bold):

1. Avery Williamson, 35 tackles

2. TraVaughn Paschal, 19 tackles

3. Alvin Dupree, 18 tackles

4. Blake McClain, 15 tackles

5. Za’Darius Smith, 14 tackles

11. Jason Hatcher, 9 tackles


The wins might come more frequently in the coming years, and the woes might still be plentiful for the remainder of this season; but the 2013 recruiting class may end up being one of the most underappreciated things Mark Stoops ever accomplishes while at Kentucky. The 2013 class was a huge bridge to connect some of the gaps left by Joker Phillips’ staff. The positives that have been coming out of this 1-2 season thus far can in large part be attributed to the newcomers on the roster.  Without these bright spots, much of the momentum and buzz surrounding the program could have been lost. While classes in the future might be more star-studded, Stoops’ first class has certainly been crucial. 

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

21 Comments for Mark Stoops’ most important contribution so far: The 2013 Class

  1. HMO
    3:03 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Gotta give Joker credit for Blake McClain bubby.

  2. hello??
    3:14 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Are we surprised that Stoop’s freshmen are better than anything “Joker, Play for me” ever recruited? Jokers’ era put us back into the stone ages of BCS football. One day when Stoops retires he will relive his shock and horror following Joker Phillips @ UK as he started his head coaching career..

  3. #stoopspoopsicecream
    3:15 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Stoops has done a wonderful job recruiting and many of the guys he picked up late in the game last recruiting season are guys that are contributing right now. However, as the first poster mentioned, Blake McClain was a Joker commit. I am certainly not a Joker lover, but I feel it is only fair to give credit where credit is due. Stoops is coaching him now and that is what counts.

  4. Lip set
    3:15 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Great. And if they would have hired Petrino we would already been 3 yrs ahead of where we are now, as the butt thumping proved! If/when stoops were to make UK relevant….he will bolt for another school in a heartbeat. Say petrino had a girlfriend and doesn’t deserve a chance? I bet Louisville isn’t thinking about their national championship coach getting a woman pregnant now?

  5. Honky Kong
    3:20 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t forget Za’Darius leads the nation in sacks.

  6. gossie21
    3:23 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    4. You realize that WKU/Petrino just lost to South Alabama, right? Sure he was able to get his team pumped up and ready for UK, but he has really fallen flat since then.

    On another not, it had been a while since I checked in on how our class is doing in the rankings and we are down to #7. It will be interesting to see where they end up after the classes are finalized. We have a good shot at staying in the top-10 if we can get Elam.

  7. rick
    3:30 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I for one wanted Petrino when we had a chance to get him but now am glad we didn’t get him. Stoops and company are doing a fine job and things look bright for us in the future.

  8. Al Becker
    3:35 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    McClain makes one out of 85 for Joker. With a ratio like that is there any wonder why 2-10 happened and this year looking as bad?

  9. ebell55
    3:38 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Stoops is doing a wonderful job of recruiting. However, I wish Demarco Robinson was healthy last week and that Demarcus Sweatt could have hung around he would have been a stud in this offense. On a sidenote Javess Blue dropped a pass on Saturday and the guy sitting next to me said we shouldn’t play any guys Joker recruited the rest of the year. This guy was obviously a dumb @as because Blue is a Stoops recruit, my point is all of these guys are Kentucky Wildcats lets kill the Joker guy vs the Stoops guy. This type of thing can cause division in the locker room on an already difficult season!!

  10. BOSOX
    3:44 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t wait till Drew Barker, Bone, Snodgrass, and transfer from Nebraska gets here Heard… And if UK Matt Elam and other guys coming in! The Cats will take it to next level

  11. barn
    3:55 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    why was do whut’s comment deleted? ksr staff getting thin skinned?

  12. UK Homer
    4:13 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I agree that these Stoops recruits are making us better. I feel they are at least a tier higher than the last couple years. That said, I’m having UL and Cincy fans tell me how results are the same as last year (1-2 with blowout W over MAC team and L’s to UL/WKU). Not to mention the UL fans are claiming they were coasting after a 27-3 lead. Really need a marquee W to prove we’re not just losing with different players and are actually improving.

  13. Really?
    4:15 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t comprehend the logic behind this post. While Stoops’ 2013 recruit class was and is a very remarkable accomplishment, “knocking on the top tier of the SEC” seems a much much more monumental task..

  14. NotSatire
    4:24 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Love the way ZaDarius, Badet, and Kemp especially are playing.

  15. Let It Go!
    4:47 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Do we have to pound Joker into the dirt in every post? The guy played for UK and put in some good years as a position coach, recruiter and OC under Brooks. They gave him a chance, he was in over his head, and then they fired him, as they should have. Just let it go and move forward!

  16. BIGBLUE1
    4:51 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Does anyone else think that Badet looks like Alex poythress in this photo?

  17. chris johnson
    4:52 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t forget, Joker brought a lot of good guys to KY ie:Cobb, Stevie and alot of others. Stoops and crew was the right choice. You can spend a lot of time trying to find the underrated star or you can start at the top of the class and work your way down. I appreciate all those that chose to become part of the BBN no matter who recruited them.

  18. JerryC
    5:31 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with everything you say… but, your timing is off. We’re 3 games into the season and 2 of those three games are against inferior opponents. If we can say the same thing 3 or 4 games from now then I’m with you.

  19. Are you kidding me
    6:10 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Crucial fumble leaders?
    Dropped pass leaders?
    Poor blocking leaders?
    Poor pass route running leaders?

    Not anything great going on here!

  20. Georgia Blue
    6:19 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    I guess Joker Recruit need to just go to class and transfer , because of all the negative articles that uK writers continue to write. I guess they need to wear a T- shirt to the game that say I AM A JOKER RECRUIT AND I CAN’T PLAY FOOTBALL LIKE STOOPS RECRUITS. Has anybody thought that STOOPS and Co. Can just Coach kids up. Did you ever think that these players were good until they receive some bad teaching of the game. Did you see how Stoops change everybody body . Guy body fat were ridiculous and Korem changed everybody body fat. A lot of players wasn’t just recruited by Joker. They were recruited by some other schools that would beat Kentucky . It just by pick UK because it gave them a chance to play in the SEC. So quit trying to split this team because font think the players don’t be on line reading this BULLSHIT and GARBAGES. We Are One

  21. Jeremy
    8:39 am September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Freshman will make an immediate impact at UK