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Kentucky football and the NFL: Stoops says players AND coaches are getting calls

A year ago, hardly anyone on Kentucky’s roster was being discussed on the national level. Now, a handful of UK players will find themselves in this year’s NFL Draft, several of them in early rounds. Kentucky has the chance to be one of the top schools in the nation in terms of total draft picks, a fact that likely shouldn’t be lost on future recruits.

“I definitely don’t think it hurts, that’s for sure,” Mark Stoops said during today’s press conference. “I would imagine since the NFL cut from the number of rounds, I would assume this would be a record for us as far as number of guys taken in one draft. So that certainly doesn’t hurt.”

In addition to his work with recruiting, Vince Marrow also plays a substantial role in communicating with the NFL. According to Coach Stoops, Marrow is the team’s “NFL liaison” and makes sure professional teams have plenty of information about the Wildcats.

“Vince will set them up and does some of that, but we all will field calls on those guys – myself and position coaches, different guys,” Stoops said. “A lot of times it’s very general information. They know I’m going to be very positive about our players because that’s how I feel, but they have to make sure they fit their system and everything.”

In addition to the upcoming NFL Combine, some former Cats got the chance to show off their skills during the Senior Bowl. Apparently, it was all good news.

“I heard great things when I was down there. The NFL executives and coaches and people that were there really like our players – not just the three that were there at the Senior Bowl, but all of our guys,” Stoops said. “They’re all helping themselves. They’re working extremely hard; they’ve done good off the field. They’re putting themselves in a position to be looked at.”

One player who has made major jumps in the mock drafts lately is Lonnie Johnson. While the cornerback’s recent jump is largely due to his impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, Stoops says he’s been singing Johnson’s praises for quite some time.

“Lonnie is a guy I talked about all year to people and scouts and NFL talent that’s come through about him and his upside,” Stoops said. “Only being here for two years, the talent that he has, he’s got a high ceiling and he’s going to continue to improve.  He’s a very, very good player right now and he has a lot more upside.”

While Stoops has become accustomed to fielding the NFL’s calls about his players this season, it didn’t end there: members of his staff are apparently also getting calls from the pro league. After being asked about the upside of keeping his entire coaching staff intact for the upcoming season, Stoops admitted it’s “really big” for the program. But “it’s not quite over.”

“I just fielded a call from a head coach in the NFL 15 minutes ago,” Stoops said Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not quite over. I hope we keep everybody intact, but I’ve had much more NFL interest than I’ve had in the past.”

Creating a consistent coaching staff proved to be beneficial for the Wildcats this season. Hopefully they’ll be able to say the same this next year.


Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

15 Comments for Kentucky football and the NFL: Stoops says players AND coaches are getting calls

  1. notFromhere
    10:07 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

    Pivotal. Need this staff to stay intact as much as possible.

  2. UKfanman01
    10:24 pm February 6, 2019 Permalink

    Recruits need to be reminded of this stuff. Look kid, we took a 2 star and helped turn him into a # 1, 2 pick.

  3. friendsofcoal
    12:23 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

    NFL calling to inquire about Eddie Gran?

  4. JDizzle14
    12:50 am February 7, 2019 Permalink


  5. JDizzle14
    12:51 am February 7, 2019 Permalink


  6. JASUN74
    3:23 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

    You guys laughing don’t have a clue what you’re watching. Eddie Gran is one of the most respected coaches on the planet!! He’s a great offensive coach, and one of the finest men they are. sometimes it’s hard to have a game plan where you go out and score 40 points when you have a first year guy that’s got the ball in his hands. We will look like the damn Rams next year compared to how we did this past year. Terry Wilson will be twice the player he was and although he show some signs last year, the game was just a little too fast in the big time SEC!!

    Do you all truly think it’s easy?? Real question!! Well it’s not!! These are some of the greatest athletes in the world that play in our conference and we have been getting closer and closer to being right with the very best of them. Parents and kids love Eddie Gran because he’s real, he has the biggest heart and is someone you could trust with your life. But for the Football side of it, he’s an offensive Genius!! He didn’t have the pieces this past year to be a passing team but they still did ok in that area. What he had was a Stud running back and he used him exactly like he should’ve.

    Look, We won 10 damn games and you idiots are laughing at the OC that did it. Think about that!! Just how stupid do you feel about yourself right now? Im not trying to personally attack you guys. I’m really not, I think a lot of you all, but to give one ounce of disrespect towards Eddie Gran is just wrong. I hope you all can see him for what he is, you’ll find out more when he gets some guys who can do what he needs them to do and you’ll be happy about it. Thanks guys.

    • RackEmWillie
      8:45 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

      Giving Gran credit for the 10 wins is giving some major disrespect to the defense.

    • JDizzle14
      9:00 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

      Man u got that right! We get so caught up with the offense…..there probably will never be a defense that caliber at UK again…..and the level that offense was at from the midpoint of the season on, they might not have even won SIX games this year were it not for that D being what it was. Even during the early season run (FLA, Miss St, SC) the D was scoring or responsible for at least one touchdown in every one of those games.

    • notFromhere
      11:30 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

      It’s a team game. Offense and defense. JASUN74 is right. Grab adapted the offense to what the defense needed. Kentucky is not yet 3 deep on the roster with people that can step right in on D. One true NG.

      When they can sub out at all positions without losing a step, Gran can turn the Offense into a sandblaster again, like the first quarter of the USM loss.

      Without Gran’s adaptations they dont win 10, even with the great defense.

    • JASUN74
      12:21 am February 8, 2019 Permalink

      Rackem and dizzie, I know what you’re saying about our defense and you’re completely right. We may not ever see a guy like ALLEN at UK again. Although we have some of the best defensive coaches in the country so we will continue have great to exceptional Defensive teams!! My opinion of course.

      But what I’m saying about Gran it true. If we had only played to give the defense a break, we would’ve did that, if we needed a last drive to seal the game, we did it. You better believe Gran is responsible for his part of the teams success. I didn’t say he was solely responsible!!! If we would’ve went [email protected] every possession, I would’ve had to agree with you all, but that’s not even close to what happened. Our offense did exactly what was needed to help the team.

      Looking at what notfromhere said, he’s 100% and explained it better than I did. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful to you guys if I was, but if you took it that way I apologize.

      As for this past team, the reason the team was so successful was both the offense and defense, a combination of the two working together like a thing of beauty. We had our moments on offense where I got frustrated, but every fan gets a little tore up occasionally. Haha.

      The truth is, we have a fantastic staff on both sides of the ball. They both develop great skills and players are getting better every year they’re with our program. It’s why I’m soo excited about this team this year. Maybe more than I ever have been. I think we’ll be a lot better on offense because of need, but we’ll also be great on defense to. Lol. Man. Im so proud of what going on here.

      I honestly believe, and will predict 10 win regular season. With the only possible losses to Georgia, because it’s at Georgia. Be a closer game than last year though. And either one of Florida, or Mississippi State. Hell that’ll be good enough for a Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma!!!! They’ll lose one or two this year without Murray and the others they lost. There it is. Save it keep it on your fridge, or somewhere so you can stay extra excited till the season starts. Lol.

      Ohh yeah, Thanks notfromhere. I honestly wouldn’t want anyone other than Eddie Gran here now. It’s only going to grow if they’ll all stay and I hope we can keep the whole staff together for the foreseeable future. Thanks again bud!!

  7. JDizzle14
    7:38 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

    I think the point of the frustration with Gran is the fact that he has been here 3+ yrs and we’ve seen the same kinda style run consistently across different QBs and the other skill positions. The system is essentially the same still now with Terry Wilson as it was with Stephen Johnson, and so it seems the coaches implement the style they want regardless of personnel rather than tailoring the system to suit the players’ skill set or talent level. Fans always hear Gran’s #’s from Cincy thrown at them but their response is “well where has that been HERE?” and u cant blame them for that. They probly feel UK’s talent can have more development made by coaches than the talent at a Cincy, and so thats what theyre wanting to see–if he can do it there, how can he not do it at an SEC school? Ultimately tho, it ALL goes back to Stoops–hes decided the kinda system he wants run offensively and his OCs only get so much freedom with their play-calling. Thats why hes had 3 OCs in 4 yrs time. Some coaches choose not to have that much control exerted over them. If Stoops gave Gran that freedom, i think u might see more of an open passing attack under Gran, but thats not what Stoops wants. Stoops wants the very style theyve been running since 2016, and he luckily has had a once-in-a-generation-at-UK back to dump the ball off to and get that done. This coming season is going to answer more questions as far as how much of it is a talent issue and how much of it is coaches limiting the options. There’ll be no more Benny to fall back on when the chips r down. New players and new ideas from coaches will have to emerge, otherwise theyre going to seriously struggle offensively, at least for awhile. Personally, i think Lynn Bowden is one of the best receivers in the country, but Stoops’ system is not gonna allow him to showcase that. Bowden’s the kinda receiver that needs a system like the one they had with Andre Woodson. Personally, idk why any high-profile receiver recruits would want to play in this system–they know theyre not gonna get the ball a whole lot and have a chance to showcase their skill set. Think thats why Badet and others receivers have left the program. And theres a reason Stoops has had a loaded stable of backs now for 4 to 5 yrs, his system IS attractive to a highly-skilled running back.

    • jaws2
      12:11 pm February 7, 2019 Permalink

      This offense is all on Stoops, not Gran. Stoops is a firm believer in smashmouth football and that’s what he’s going to do. That has been proven regardless of who the QB has been. Unless he changes his colors, he’s going to ride that same horse.
      I agree. We’ll find out that without a generationally gifted running back on the field and one of the best defenses ever, will the results be even near the same.?

  8. unbiasedfan
    7:44 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

    Johnson wasn’t as talented so you were limited to what you could do with him. Wilson very talented but needed a year to learn system and adjust to speed. 2019 will be a different year. Mark it down.

  9. JDizzle14
    8:34 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

    I hope you are right, brother, believe me! It would be fantastic to see. U bring up some really good points–next season should truly reveal how good Wilson is gonna be here. Ur 100% rite abt Johnson, def was not as talented, Wilson has athleticism and speed Johnson didnt have, and so we hope to see that play out into an even better year for him next year than he had this year. Definitely a ton of potential and plenty of time left to improve. Again, i think the fans worry so much abt the coaches restricting the talent potential and production of these skill players. If Gran’s playbook and the execution are the same next year as this one, then theres gonna have to be a conversation had at the end of the season to figure out what direction they truly want to go…..but hopefully like u say, we’ll be having a different conversation!

  10. JoshtheCATSfan
    10:20 am February 7, 2019 Permalink

    Anybody else disappointed that only one former Cat, Ross, is in the new AAF league? I was really hoping to see guys like Boom, Juice, and mcGinnis in there. There are a ton of former U of L players though.