We hear it all the time: Kentucky can not compete in football because it can not recruit at the level of the other SEC schools. And that has to do with a minimal talent base in Kentucky high school football. Kentucky, as the northernmost school in the SEC has a terrible disadvantage to it’s southern conference mates, or so we are told. But, do the numbers actually bear that out? Here is the state by state breakdown of all 5 and 4 star players in the Class of 2011 from scout.com:
5-Star (51 total recruits)
10: Texas, Florida
3: Louisiana, South Carolina
2: Georgia, Washington
1: Maryland, Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, New Jersey, New York, Kansas, North Carolina
4-Star (256 total recruits)
7: Alabama, New Jersey, Arizona, Michigan, Louisiana, North Carolina
5: Kansas, Washington, South Carolina
4: Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee
3: Oregon, Hawaii
2: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Arkansas, Indiana
1: Nebraska, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Delaware, Missouri
A total of 307 kids and 4 come from the state of Kentucky. The other 11 SEC schools have 106 combined recruits in their states. The 2 states that border Kentucky and have a serious talent base are Ohio and Virginia. Ohio State and Virginia Tech have those recruiting grounds locked up. Kentucky has attempted to make the state of Georgia a stronghold, but that state only has a total of 22 recruits 4-star and above. Plus, the resurgence of Alabama and Auburn has limited UK’s ability to go after top level kids in that state.
Point of it all is this: the idea that Kentucky can only become better in football with better recruits is a lovely notion. Unfortunately, unless the level of football in state increases to where the state of Kentucky is getting 10-15 recruits a year in the 4 and 5 star range, the map just doesn’t allow for a huge haul for the Cats. Here is to hoping for more Randall Cobb’s.
(As a sidenote, Kentucky currently has three 4-star players committed. Two of them are from Kentucky, one is from Illinois. Lamar Dawson is a 4-star from Boyle County who is uncommitted currently.)