Mark Stoops has been a recruiting machine since arriving in Lexington. He’s done things the most diehard football fans never thought could be accomplished in the recruiting game, earning a contract extension despite only winning two games in his first year as head coach.
Most of Stoops’ success has been attributed to Vince Marrow and their Ohio roots, pitching early playing time in America’s best conference for college football. They’ve taken a fearless attitude into the talented pool of prospects in Ohio, becoming the #2 team in Ohio, replacing Michigan State and falling just behind the Buckeyes. One thing people aren’t talking about, is the coaching staff’s ability to evaluate talent at an early stage in the recruiting process. All of the pitches from above are enticing, but a recruit is more likely to believe them when Kentucky is one of the first school’s to extend a scholarship offer.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the players Stoops has successfully recruited from the start of their process:
– Alex Stump’s biggest offers were from Harvard and Yale, along with offers from Ohio MAC schools. Following his UK offer, Georgia tech, West Virginia and Miami came calling. Stump wasn’t even rated by recruiting services when he committed to UK; he received 4-stars from 247 a few days after.
– Jordan Jones’ first offer was from UK. Michigan State, Nebraska and Oklahoma followed within a month before Miami and West Virginia tried to get in on the action.
– Matt Elam received his Kentucky offer two weeks before Alabama extended their offer.
– Mikel Horton only had an offer from Indiana when Mark Stoops extended a scholarship offer. Within a month Louisville and Florida State had extended offers.
Stoops has been able to find the talent at an early stage. Time will tell if Stoops can develop that talent, but I’m not going to bet against him.