Even though Kentucky didn’t win half of their football games last fall, Mark Stoops has continued to build on his recruiting success with what he believes is his best class.
“From my point of view, absolutely. Top to bottom, I feel like it’s the most solid group. I feel like there’s elite talent in this group, and I feel like there’s great glue. There’s great players There’s great program guys. There’s guys you can develop. There’s guys you can play right away. There’s impact guys. There’s guys that change the scoreboard. There’s guys that can get extremely difficult yards when ya gotta get ’em in the run game. We got the big uglies that we always want. I think there’s a nice combination of guys in this group,” Stoops said.
Most importantly, the Class of 2016 has the character that reflects the values of the coaching staff, “They’re exactly who I want and who we want in this program,” he said. “They’re great kids.”
They remained loyal throughout the process, even when traditional programs came calling after they saw more success. The instate guys make up the core of the class. All eyes have been on the All-Americans, but Stoops doesn’t want you to sleep on Davonte Robinson of Henry Clay.
“A guy who goes unnoticed in that group is Davonte,” Stoops said. “He can play just about anywhere in the country.” Stoops added, “He was arguably as important of a guy in this class as anybody we went for, him and Jordan Griffin.”
Speaking of Jordan Griffin, the Georgia cornerback was the toughest fight for Stoops’ staff. Griffin visited Auburn a few weeks back, opening the door for other SEC schools to creep in. They continued “hounding” Griffin and his mother, until his lead recruiter, Derrick Ansley, handed Stoops the phone this morning. With another school flustering the family on another line, Stoops said, “Tell them the fax is in my hand.”
Stoops said landing Griffing was “very gratifying,” but also extremely important in extending their recruiting reach.
“To win that so far away from home in the heart of the SEC, I think is critical. Because we know we had the nucleus of the five guys instate that were solid as can be. We know we’d been extremely strong with Vince’s leadership there in taking a lead role with the Ohio kids. We were very strong with them. But it’s also very important as you to supplement them with guys through the South.”
Even though Griffin’s commitment caused some anxiety, he was the day’s first signee.
The staff is pleased with their success in ’16 — “Top to bottom an extremely strong group. Great people, great leaders, great families” — but there are zero days off. “We got a Junior Day on Saturday, so no rest.”