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The Star on the UK Football Recruiting Trail


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 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 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.

Article written by Matt Jones

20 Comments for The Star on the UK Football Recruiting Trail

  1. Spenser
    6:33 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    So what you’re saying Matt…he is like the Orlando Antigua of football? lol, but seriously, it is amazing what Vince has done. He was one of the least heralded hires by Stoops, but is certainly one of the most important.

  2. Lets not get our coaching staff raided
    6:33 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Say there is a reasonable amount of success in the program, how long until our staff gets poached?

  3. bosshogg24
    6:43 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    UK will have to find Marrow more money! Other recruiters around the country are making three to four times what Vince Marrow is making and most of them are not as good as Marrow!

  4. kramer
    6:45 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Another reason rival fans come here and trash talk UK, yes football is coming and I can’t wait!

  5. Raging Against the Machine
    6:48 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Some of us have been saying that UK should get back to recruiting Ohio and Pennsylvania rather than trying to get nothing but Georgia and Florida players. It’s awfully hard to get kids come to the northernmost SEC school when they are from the deep south. But getting kids to come south to warmer weather to play in the SEC is apparently a good recruiting strategy.
    When Marrow leaves for a bigger, better-paying job in the next couple of years, I hope UK stays with this strategy.

  6. Unprecedented
    6:49 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    In Rivals current rankings there are 16 – 4 star prospects in Ohio. 2 are committed to the CATS (Horton & Snodgrass) with 2 more likely soon (Kief & West) .. we are looking at getting 25% of the 4 star Ohio guys this season !!! WOW !!!

  7. Chaz
    6:49 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Three years, please just keep this staff together for three years. You know from HC down there will be offers and people have to do what’s right for their careers and family. What Stoops & company may accomplish in three years may start a sustainable program if they have just that much time.

  8. SoCal Will
    6:55 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks for recognizing the Wizard Marrow, Matt. Stoops has put together a tremendous staff and the Wizard is giving them the tools to make the sirens sound. What is the over/under of Marrow signing 12/25 in this class?

  9. Duuuuuuude
    6:55 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    UK was the first South eastern Conference team to introduce football, which it did in 1881. Since then, there has been little or not commitment to football from the administration until now. Good lord, the revenues we wasted by not making any sort of investment in the football program. We have always had the fan base, and had decent coaches and players, but never the commitment from administrators until now. It will be interesting to see what can happen.

  10. Unprecedented
    7:01 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    By June 1 we could have 5 – 4 star verbals .. we have NEVER had more than 3 in any one signing class.

  11. Lori M
    7:41 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    If this team performs as we all hope it will there will be plenty of funds available for coaches salaries. Plenty of deep pocketed fooball loving alums who have been waiting for this!

  12. Steve
    7:55 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Give him a raise…NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. bankshot
    8:12 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    The job that has been done on the recruiting trail really is incredible. I believe as long as Stoops is the HC then Morrow will stay since at UK since they high school friends.

  14. will
    8:13 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Marrow’s raise is inevitable at this point. It’ll come at the end of the season since he is contractually obligated to UK through the end of the year, and couldn’t another college job before then anyway. In any case, Marrow has repeatedly said he is loyal to Stoops so it’ll take a lot to get him away from UK after he gets his raise.

    This year’s recruiting class will be great – probably Top 20 – but the 2015 class will be even better. UK has a good shot with at least two 5*s: Berea, KY RB Damien Harris and Cincinnati, OH OT/TE Donald Scott Brown.

  15. JP
    9:04 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve met this man in person. He’s like 8 feet tall. The reason he’s so successful at recruiting? They’re all afraid to say “no.”

  16. Cats Fan CWR
    9:13 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    Pay this man!!!

  17. KC
    9:25 pm April 28, 2013 Permalink

    When I see Coach Marrow I think of Isiah Whitlock Jr.

  18. Sgt. Jimmy
    4:23 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    No doubt coach Marrow is doing a great job but who did we poach him from? We also had on staff one of the ESPN top 25 recruiters in history last year in former Wildcat player and uofl coach Mike Cassidy.

  19. Evan
    9:35 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    @17 Shhhheeeeeeiitt

  20. Mitch
    9:59 am April 29, 2013 Permalink

    UK is committed to football in a big way. Coach Marrow will get what he needs financially to stick with BBN.