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How the Kentucky Coaches Convinced Chris Oats to Become a Wildcat


Kentucky beat a long-time Ohio State recruit for a four-star linebacker from Cincinnati on National Signing Day.

Let that sink in for a moment.  That actually happened.  Less than five years ago, Ohio State won a National Championship while Kentucky was just happy to win more than two games in a season.  Now the Cats are stealing recruits from the Buckeyes?

“Everybody thought Chris was going to Ohio State,” said his primary recruiter, Vince Marrow.” “It was huge getting him.”

But how does that happen? Marrow saw his talent early, and has been relentless ever since.

“You see me smiling? I recruited Chris since he was a freshman, and that juggernaut up there at Ohio State, they do great there, Urban recruits very well,” he said.  “This was truly a kid that they targeted since he was a sophomore. Beating them on this kid, it just says volumes.”

Kentucky’s influence on the Ohio recruiting scene has steadily been on the rise.  The addition of Oats proves Kentucky is a serious player in one of the most-talent rich states in the nation.

“Our logo right now is probably the second-most dominant logo in recruiting in Ohio,” Marrow said at today’s post-NSD news conference.  Unlike previous years, that logo was enough for UK to win out against the kid’s favorite childhood team.

“It’s just when Ohio State came in [in the past], you’re always nervous like, ‘Are they going to come offer this kid?’ They had a lot of Big Ten offers, but when you get that Ohio State offer, every kid in that state wants to play for their state school. This goes up a notch because I know they recruited this kid from Day One.”

As usual, Marrow used the SEC to initially appeal to Oats.  The Cats stayed in the game until the game changed.  This year was the first year for the college football early signing period.  After the Cats locked up 20 signees, it allowed Marrow to dedicate time and resources to Oats that would not have otherwise been available.

“I think us signing them guys and having 20 guys secure really played in factor in me going full bore on Chris Oats, because when you’re trying to get that type of kid, it’s a constant.  You gotta recruit that kid everyday.  If we didn’t have the early signing period, we probably would’ve been battling Ohio State for two more guys that we have that’s already locked in.  I really like it.  You got most of your class signed and then you can focus on four or five guys, I’ll take that anytime.”

Marrow used that opportunity to put on a full court press at Oats’ basketball game.

“I took the whole defensive staff and we went and seen Chris and we watched his basketball game and we did an in-home visit.  I think that was the turning point.  Even though he was still back-and-forth, I think he seen, ‘Wow.  I’m really a priority for these guys.'”

Oats was at the top of UK’s recruiting big board for a reason.  A four-star talent from Winton Woods High School, he is considered one of the 20 best outside linebackers in the country.

“Chris is a legit 6’5, he’s very twitchy, can bend, so he’s gonna play inside,” Marrow said.  He can play Mike or Will, but he’s so long that you can even put him on the outside as a pass rusher because he can run.  I know right now (Matt) House is very excited about him.”

It’s safe to say the entire Big Blue Nation is very excited to see the Oats at Kentucky, not Ohio State.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

21 Comments for How the Kentucky Coaches Convinced Chris Oats to Become a Wildcat

  1. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    1:51 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    That first sentence totally made me feel stupid trying to reread and make sense of it. I get the point, but felt confused. It should say… Kentucky beat Ohio State for a recruit that was already committed long term to Ohio State.

    • RackEmWillie
      2:22 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      We don’t know the full story…..

    • BlueDew
      2:32 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      I think recruiting services and national media play around with the stars to slant the rankings any way they want. Funny how the stars go up or down after they commit or sign.

    • runningunnin.454
      3:29 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      You’re right Puppet. Hope they didn’t beat him too badly. LOL
      And the next sentence…”Let that sink in for a moment” ha ha ha ha.

    • Rembrandt
      9:02 am February 8, 2018 Permalink

      It’s a business. The folks on the internet who award the stars are also selling premium subscriptions. If a player is being recruited by a school whose fans subscribe in volumes, those players tend to get the benefit of the doubt with star ratings. That keeps reading interest high among the audience targeted for subscriptions. Good business.

      Oats is a serious prospect. We know this because Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Miami offered him. Whether Oats is better than other UK LBs remains to be seen. That’s what practice is for.

  2. Bluebloodtoo
    2:15 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    Full bore makes way more sense

  3. BluKudzu
    2:22 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    Are the class rankings out yet?

    I read at 247 we are 36th, tenth in the SEC and behind Louisville. Louisville is rated higher with the same amount of 4 stars and one less 3 star. I suppose our extra 3 star brings the average down?

    We are rated 36th by the current 247 post.

    • BluKudzu
      2:25 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      Just reviewed ESPN, their ratings for our class is worse. I am thinking today’s signings are not included.

    • Rembrandt
      9:05 am February 8, 2018 Permalink

      I wouldn’t worry about that. Class rankings don’t tell us how well players will play 3-4 years from now, or which players will still be in school then. I am willing to bet UK’s class rankings will magically rise once we win more football games.

  4. Halfway 2 BioHazard
    2:28 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    Kentucky Football is feeling like a family, not an Extended Stay Hotel like that other sport on campus.

    • krautdog
      6:44 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      A few years ago we ranked 25th and…..
      13th in the SEC!!!

    • krautdog
      6:46 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      UK football sucks-always has, always will!!!

    • cats646
      8:25 am February 8, 2018 Permalink

      Go cheer for someone else then krautdog.

  5. Alleykat16
    2:31 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    I will say this for everybody to hear Coach Marrow is by far the best that I’ve seen at UK as a recruiter he is as good as they come I hope that one of these big name schools don’t come here offering him $$ to take him just so he can’t steal their recruits we need,to keep that man happy

    • Rembrandt
      9:07 am February 8, 2018 Permalink

      A big name school, Michigan, already offered Coach Marrow $$ to leave UK. He told them no and stayed. Coach Marrow is here to see it through with Coach Stoops.

  6. Alleykat16
    2:33 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    I really dont care what they have us ranked as,far as recruiting goes this Coaching staff is getting better guys every year

    • jaws2
      3:21 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

      Agree completely. We’ve never, on paper, had a 3 year period where we’ve recruited better. I’d like to turn this into at least an 8 win season consistently.

  7. BlueDew
    2:36 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    The margin for error in winning SEC games is always so narrow. A couple mistakes and you loose. That goes for any team in the conference. Look what happened even in the NC game. This conference is just too athletically rich to lay down and expect to win. I believe the margin foe error has narrowed exponentially this upcoming year with all the coaching changes and recruiting this winter.

  8. UKFootballYall
    7:35 pm February 7, 2018 Permalink

    Response to the “Krautdog” post, recruiting and competing in the SEC is difficult enough. What the Alabama’s and Georgia’s have is unwavering support from their fan bases, and recruits see that. I’m tired of negative people like you crapping on every positive thing that happens because it holds the program back. Just shut the heck up and stay at home! However, my guess is we’ll see your bandwagon butt by midseason when we are in the midst of a winning streak.

    • cats646
      8:26 am February 8, 2018 Permalink

      ^^ agree completely

    • Rembrandt
      9:21 am February 8, 2018 Permalink

      Agree 100% with UKFootballYall. The emotional baggage created by the low-information fans and Stoops haters with their crybaby behavior wears on everyone, coaches, players, and mainstream UK fans alike. Reminds me of my neighbor’s teenage daughter.