Kentucky’s football resurgence, at least on the recruiting trail has been nothing short of spectacular. In less than 8 months, and without playing a single down, Mark Stoops and his staff have reversed the momentum of the Kentucky program and have helped fans move past the 2-10 debacle that was Kentucky’s 2012 football season. Every coach and analyst in America will tell you that recruiting is the probably the most important factor in rebuilding a program, and not just in terms of rankings either. Bringing in the right mix of high-caliber recruits and those who may be underrated yet willing to work is crucial, especially at a school like Kentucky where you can’t count on 4 and 5 star recruits to bang down your door for a spot every year.
Needless to say, sitting at 4th in the nation in recruiting rankings is unprecedented territory for Kentucky, so I decided to take a look at the offer sheets of UK’s 21 commitments so far in the 2014 class and see who exactly the ‘Cats are beating out for these recruits. UK’s commitments received an average of 11.7 scholarship offers from a total of 74 different D-1 schools, with the most coming from DB Darius West (23) and OL Jarrett LaRubio (22). Now, to judge which schools recruiting has suffered most from Kentucky’s surge I compared all the offer sheets to find out which teams have offered the highest percentage of Kentucky’s commitments. From that I found out that 48 different schools had a scholarship offer out to at least 2 of Kentucky’s recruits. Here they are, with the number of players in parentheses:
(10) — Cincinnati, Indiana
(8) — Louisville, Toledo
(7) — Georgia Tech, Wisconsin
(6) — Missouri, Bowling Green, Vanderbilt, Ohio
(5) — Illinois, Purdue, Akron, Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia
(4) — South Carolina, Tennessee, Nebraska, Central Florida, Minnesota, Arizona State
(3) — Miami (FL), Ole Miss, North Carolina, Iowa, UCONN, Rutgers, South Florida, Notre Dame, Boston College
(2) — Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Maryland, Kent State, Penn State, Georgia, Clemson, Mississippi State, Florida, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Syracuse, Miami (OH), Florida State, Texas Tech, Houston
Obviously the Ohio schools would have more offers out due to the closeness of the recruits in question, but it’s clear that Kentucky has dealt a minor blow to the Midwestern schools like Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska, etc. who have usually filled the void underneath the Ohio State’s and Michigan’s of the world in the state of Ohio. Long live Stoops.