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UK is one of Athlon Sports’ Most Improved Football Teams in 2014


Your University of Kentucky Wildcats fell into the “Better… But It May Not Show In The Win Column” category in Athlon Sports’ feature on college football’s most improved teams. UK is one of five schools in the second tier of improved teams and it’s “trending in the right direction,” the author writes.


It’s going to take coach Mark Stoops a few years to build Kentucky’s roster into one that can consistently compete for bowl games in the SEC. However, the Wildcats are trending in the right direction. Kentucky signed the No. 22 class in 2014, an improvement after inking the No. 34 recruiting haul in ’13. Those two totals are the best two classes the Wildcats have brought in over the last five years, and all signs point to another standout group coming to Lexington in 2015. With the improvement in talent, it should start to show on the field for Stoops. Kentucky went 2-10 in Stoops’ debut but lost two SEC games by a touchdown or less. Finding a quarterback is the top priority for coordinator Neal Brown, and Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and touted freshman Drew Barker will all contend for time in the fall. The talent at the skill positions has improved, and Nebraska transfer Braylon Heard should team with Jojo Kemp to form an effective one-two punch in the backfield. Stoops’ specialty is on defense, and that’s an area of focus this offseason after allowing 6.8 yards per play in SEC games. Kentucky should be able to win three of its non-conference matchups and could steal a win in conference play this year.

Florida also gets some love from Athlon because the Gators “can’t be any worse.”

Read the entire list here.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

15 Comments for UK is one of Athlon Sports’ Most Improved Football Teams in 2014

  1. bramstin milsapp
    1:49 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    What is #2 clapping at?

  2. bramstin milsapp
    1:50 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    More interesting: what was the class ranked 5 years ago? Was it in the 20s?

    • History
      2:05 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

      In 2010, Rivals ranked UK’s class #50, with 26 recruits total, one 4*, eighteen 3*, and avg star rating of 2.77.

  3. Rei
    1:53 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    Some of Brooks’ later classes were ranked pretty well. Micah Johnson was a 5 star player I think.

    • bramstin milsapp
      1:59 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

      And I’ll assume those were the recent bowl seasons.

  4. History
    2:11 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    In 2009, Rivals ranked UK’s class #41, in 2008 #57, in 2007 # 54, in 2006 #36. In other word, never sniffed even top 30, and always last or close to last in the SEC. Never close to the average * ranking Stoops has pulled in so far. Why? Partly because Brooks and Phillips never recruited southern Ohio. Stupid

  5. Urban Meyer
    3:22 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    A lot of the Ohio success is due to me. Prior to me Jim Tressell made a living in Ohio. I now am focusing on getting recruits from the south and essentially using Ohio talent as back up plans. This is starting to piss HS coaches off in Ohio and Kentucky is really benefitting from it. Lets hope I keep this up.

    • gordonm
      3:47 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

      Whole lot of Truth there.

    3:35 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    Most Improved……REALLY!!!!……..can you get any worse then what they were. : )

  7. gordonm
    3:37 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks for the article link. Those teams in the article might be teams to watch if you into up and coming programs.

  8. UkCatsBalls
    4:53 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    The one good thing about being the tombstone of the sec, nowhere to go but up.

  9. Tom
    5:12 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    Since we don’t want to compete with Louisville’s success, we done even want to be in a charity event with then, who in the teams mentioned, Power Five teams do we want to replace them with? Kentucky football needs to grow up and actually either play some one non conference or, well, there’s always the rifle team to brag about.

    How about dropping all athletic competition against Louisville. That will show them!
    To heck, with their Sugar Bowl wins, going to the College World Series two years in a row. Beating Florida was just showing off. We don’t need them. We’ve got our annual game against a MAC team to brag about.

    • Bob
      5:30 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

      Seems to me you need to go root for Louisville. You obviously enjoy sucking their nuts. We won’t miss you, trust me.

      Wait, Tom…?

      Tom Jurich? Hey, it’s Tom Jurich everyone! Tommy Turtleneck is trolling KSR!!!

  10. Tom
    6:38 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    /Bob, a typical response from some one is perfectly being secord or maybe third in the state.or. Should we really care that we have become the litle brother in the state?
    Pf course not. Why should we be envious of a school who’s actualy going to bowls south of Birmingham?
    Since your so happy with thec ondition of our programs go to the SEC web page and lok up conference champions. Count those for us and list all the different sports we accomplished those hampionships. Get all the championship teams we have in the last ten years. Of couse we’re pleased with the total.Get back with is on the numbers.
    As long as we can brag about our basketball teams do we really need to be competitive in the other sports.
    As long as we have no expectations there wil be no disappointmnts. RIGHT?
    Heck, there isn’t a dividson one football school on the state we can brag about beating. Keep be happier than pig in slop and we’ll improve don’t ya think?
    Jist thirty five non winning SEC seasons. There’ certainly something we can hang our bonnet pn!

  11. UkeHey!
    8:42 pm July 22, 2014 Permalink

    If we’re so much improved, why can’t we even sell our own allotment of tickets to the UofL game? We had to return nearly half of them. This is sad BBN.