You may have noticed that things have been pretty good for UK football in the realm of recruiting lately. As of now, Kentucky is ranked #20 in the Rivals.com rankings and that number is almost sure to increase as the total number of players committed rises. The average star ranking for the commitments is currently at 3.4, which would probably place UK somewhere between 12-15 in the final rankings if all were to hold going forward. To put it succinctly, Kentucky is recruiting in football at a level it never has in its history. The 2014 class is on pace to potentially produce the most powerful recruiting haul that the University has ever seen…and this is all before the coaching staff has even completed one game. With the finish to last year’s 2013 group and this one, Mark Stoops and company are on a mission not only to try and upgrade the talent, but change what people believe is possible at Kentucky for football. And it is working.
And why is it working? Well one big reason is a change in philosophy. UK is going after the best players with the attitude that these players should come to Kentucky, and they won’t cede ground to any team. It is a confidence that really hasn’t been part of the program before and it is unbelievably refreshing. But there is another big reason as well and that big reason is Vince Marrow, the new Tight Ends Coach. Vince Marrow has completely altered the type of player that Kentucky can get to commit to the Wildcat program. As of now, UK has five commitments for the 2014 class, all from Ohio and all with the primary recruiting contact being Vince Marrow. He has walked into homes throughout Ohio and completely changed the mindset about what Kentucky football can be and has produced a sales job that really is amazing to watch. All of the players who have committed to Kentucky have mentioned Marrow as a key reason and he remains the primary contact that is keeping together a group that will set records for the program. His impact is so strong that he has been moved up to one of the Top 25 recruiting Assistants in America by Rivals.com. And his strength is so pervasive that reports of negative recruiting by other teams (specifically suggesting that Marrow may not stay at UK long) have been widely rumored across the internet.
Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin recently said that the key to recruiting is people and having highly confident Assistants who can connect with the players they are seeking. That is what UK clearly has in Vince Marrow. On a staff full of young, hungry coaches, Marrow has sold the program’s new direction and has made Kentucky football relevant to the new generation of high school players. Throughout Southern Ohio, the notion of coming to Kentucky and being a part of Stoops’ revitalization of the program has buzzed throughout the top players and a simple search of their Twitter accounts shows that Marrow has made the BBN football family relevant, even before the first game. What Mark Stoops and his coaches have done in terms of revitalizing a dormant program and fan base in the last few months is remarkable…but a huge part of that turnaround is due to a former Nebraska assistant that Stoops had the foresight to bring in to make a change. Marrow has taken UK recruiting to a new level and has led a transformed mindset in which Kentucky seeks to win every battle while making Ohio the recruiting base #1 for UK football going forward. It has been quite an accomplishment, and it is only getting better.