I toured Kentucky football’s new recruiting room in the East end zone of Commonwealth Stadium today and it is the real deal, very impressive.
For the past 20 or so years, the program used folding tables and chairs in the corner of Nutter Field House to entertain recruits and their families on game days. The long distance between Nutter and Commonwealth made it nearly impossible for coaches to check in with the guests prior to kick off.
Now, the Cats have one of the best game day recruiting facilities in all of college football, complete with direct field access and an unbelievable patio. It’s easily accessible from the locker room so coaches are in and out, before and after games.
Dan Berezowitz, Director of Recruiting, told us, “We’ve had nothing but rave reviews from the families who have been here. They now feel a part of everything.”
When the special guests arrive at Commonwealth Stadium, they take a private elevator to the recruiting room. It is the only stop the elevator makes, and recruits and their family members are the only people allowed on it.
Here is the first thing they see when the elevator doors open:
A 90-degree right turn puts them in front of a hologram wall, featuring Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers; Larry Warford, Detroit Lions; Avery Williamson, Tennessee Titans; Za’Darius Smith, Baltimore Ravens; and Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers.
The hologram images change from UK uniforms to NFL uniforms as you pass.
I did my best to get a video of the hologram. It’s not great, but you get the point:
Pretty cool hologram wall at the entrance of UK's new recruiting room. pic.twitter.com/MDNjkzKC28
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) September 24, 2015
Here’s a look at one-half of the massive room:
Stoops (or whoever) can address the room from this podium:
Check out one of the many enormous televisions scattered around the room. Playstations are available for any vistor who wants a quick game of Madden.
And here’s a view of the patio and stadium from inside:
If recruits want to step out and feel the electricity of the game day atmosphere, the patio has plenty of seating to take it all in:
It makes for quite a view:
One caveat: NCAA rules require everyone to be in their seats during play. Therefore the patio and recruiting room are completely empty (aside from a handful of staff members) while the game is going on. Recruits can return during halftime for food, more Madden or potty breaks, but must be gone at the start of the second half. Booooooooo, NCAA.
Now let’s say Mark Stoops wants alone time with one of the guys, to really sell him on what he can become at the University of Kentucky. They can go downstairs to Stoops’ private office beneath the main room:
It is still under construction, but here’s how it looks as of today:
Pretty cool, right? The entire thing is a million times better than the previous setup. I really can’t put into words how bad it was before this new renovation. Now it’s among the best anywhere, maybe even THE best in the country. No other stadium in football has a patio to entertain visitors. #ChangeTheGame
And now for a BONUS!!
After wandering around the recruiting area, I also got to take a look at the pregame room. This is where the team sits in the 20 minutes between warming up on the field and running out of the tunnel. In years past they returned to the locker room, but now they meet in here before taking the field:
This message is on one of the walls inside:
Then, when it’s finally time, the walk to the field. When these doors open, it’s on.