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Despite Losses, a Historic UK Football Recruiting Class is Possible

A week after Kentucky lost its third game in a row, Mark Stoops’ coaching staff hit the road recruiting.

“It’s goods for us to get on the road, to continue to get in front of the prospects that we have committed, to continue to recruit and put the finishing touches on this class,” Stoops said at Monday’s press conference.

Kentucky may be struggling to win on the field, but that has not been the case on the recruiting trail. Vince Marrow is quick to praise the potential in the 2020 recruiting class.

“I think when we close this class out it has the potential to be better than our ’14 class,” said Marrow.

The 2014 class finished ranked 17th in the country, featuring future stars like Mike Edwards, Darius West, Boom Williams and Juice Johnson. Stoops believes the next group of UK signees could feature just as much star-power.

We have an opportunity to have one of the most significant classes in, certainly in my tenure,” Stoops said. “I can’t go back into the history of this place, but in my time here this can be a very impressive group.”

As of October 2019, Kentucky’s 2020 class ranks 22nd in America, boasting five-star talent Justin Rogers and seven other players ranked as four-star prospects by at least one recruiting service. The reason why the coaches are so excited is that they consider UK’s 17-man class to be larger than you think.

“We’ve got some guys that have silently — gonna announce their dates on a birthday of a mom or a dad,” Marrow said. “We got some guys that are highly, highly — I don’t get into the rankings — but highly, highly recruited that’s about to jump on board. It ain’t going to shock us but it’s probably going to shock a lot of people.”

Meanwhile, UK is looking to add more into the fold. With about 25 available scholarships, this weekend the Cats will host four-star Louisiana defensive back Joel Williams. During the bye week Marrow went to Kansas to offer a scholarship another cornerback, JUCO product Ronald Williams, and visit cornerback Brian George, considered one of the of the five best JUCO players in America.

“I’ve been a lot of places, covered some miles,” Marrow said. “To step your game up in recruiting you gotta have access to planes and stuff like that. You ever try to fly into Highland, Kansas, then try to be at a football game back in Ohio? I appreciate that. I did some traveling the last three days.”

“Looking for only the best ballers in Kansas on the bye weekend,” Marrow Tweeted.

The recruiting trail isn’t as friendly in the middle of a three-game losing streak. Schools will be quick to throw Stoops’ program under the bus.

While Marrow flew to Highland, Kansas, Butler wide receiver Jordan Watkins attended Louisville’s 41-39 win over Boston College. After visiting the Cardinals’ campus, UK fans became concerned when Watkins Tweeted, “I am not answering any reporters right now, sorry!!”

Marrow is well aware of the negative recruiting efforts by other schools. He responds to those questions by asking a question.

“If Justin Fields got hurt tomorrow, you think Ohio State is favored to go to the National Championship? No. If (Jake) Fromm at Georgia got hurt — it’s so different when it comes to Kentucky. We lost Terry Wilson. Terry Wilson won ten games for us last year and he was even better this year, but people seem to overlook that and we still had a chance to beat Florida without him. We have the pieces, but we really lost three quarterbacks. You lose Terry, you lose Gunnar (Hoak), you lose Danny Clark and then the guy we have come in, he gets hurt.

“When we talk to our recruits, they know the message. They know who we are. They know ain’t nothing changed. We’re not using it as an excuse, but I can guarantee you now if Justin Fields went down tomorrow, I bet oddsmakers would say they’re not going to win the Big Ten. We just take it as it comes.”

As other schools put down UK’s program, the Cats have a handful of talented four-star prospects in their crosshairs. Four-star defensive end Tyler Baron recently took an official visit to Lexington. Michael Drennen II officially visited the same weekend. Since the visit, UK has become the favorite to land the nation’s sixth-ranked all-purpose back. The Cats are also in good position for the state’s last two uncommitted four-star recruits, defensive back Vito Tisdale and defensive tackle Octavious Oxendine. Until they reach a decision, Stoops, Marrow and the rest of the staff will be out on the trail.

“You can take this message to other schools, of course people are going to take shots at you, even when you win or when you lose. There’s some schools, and they know who I’m talking about, all of a sudden they got the right ingredients down there. Time will tell. We’re anxious to get back on the field. We ain’t going nowhere. We’re going to keep recruiting and recruiting. While other guys were chilling on our bye week, we were recruiting.”

Kentucky Football Class of 2020

Justin RogersDTOak Park, MI6-43155-star, #16 Overall
Samuel AnaeleDE/OLBMiami, FL6-42504-star, #208 Overall
Michael Drennen IIAPBDublin, OH5-111904-star, #210 Overall
Beau AllenQBLexington, KY6-22004-star, #13 QB
R.J. AdamsOGWoodbridge, VA6-33204-star, #16 OG
John YoungOTLouisville, KY6-62954-star, #36 OT
Tre'vonn RybkaDLDickson, TN6-4`2814-star, #26 DT
Octavious Oxendine DTRadcliff, KY6-33004-star, #30 DT
Josaih HayesDTHorn Lake, MS6-32854-star, #151 Overall
Joey GatewoodQB (Auburn)Jacksonville, FL6-52304-star, #49 Overall
Jeremy FlaxOT (JUCO)Dearborn, MI6-63154-star, No. 12 JUCO
Joel WilliamsDBBaton Rouge, LA6-11903-star, #34 S
Andru PhillipsCBMauldin, SC6-01803-star, #7 CB
JuTahn McClainAPBFairfield, OH5-91763-star, #14 APB
Vito TisdaleDBBowling Green, KY6-21903-star, #10 KY
Kalil BranhamWRColumbus, OH6-12053-star, #93 WR
Deondre BufordOTDetroit, MI6-52703-star, #48 OT
Izayah CummingsWRLouisville, KY6-32103-star, #9 KY
Earnest SandersWRFlint, MI 6-21903-star, #26 MI
D'Eryk Jackson LBDexter, GA6-22353-star, #106 GA
Joshua JonesOTPhenix City, AL6-63003-star, #32 AL
Carrington ValentineCBCincinnati, OH6-02183-star, #23 OH
Rickey Hyatt Jr.SWesterville, OH6-11953-star, #22 OH


Article written by Nick Roush

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

22 Comments for Despite Losses, a Historic UK Football Recruiting Class is Possible

  1. Kentuckiana
    6:18 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

    I really, really am trying to remain positive about the program/recruits.
    A win Saturday will be a small step in the right direction.

    GO CATS!!!!

    • mashburnfan1
      8:51 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

      The football program is in the best shape of my, and probably your, lifetime. If you can’t be positive about that go to IU.

    • KYCat4EVER
      9:53 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

      I would agree with 99% of your comment Mashburn! Our CATS are building it….

      But get your 1% act together…

      Kentuckiana gave his opinion…

      So agree with it, or disagree with it … but do it with some maturity and class!

      Your a better DUDE than your “go to IU” response Mashburnfan1. I know because I’ve read your posts before, and your usually SPOT ON without the “go to IU” crap.

      Stay strong, positive, and respectful as usual dude.


    • WKY Cat
      10:01 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

      Trust me mashburn isn’t a better dude than that. It’s the same crap he posts all the time if he doesn’t agree with you.

    • nocode96
      12:43 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

      You telling someone else to leave their team behind because he/she ever so slightly took a knock at the team is pure gold. You shlt on our b-ball program and our coach daily, now you wanna tell another fan who wasn’t even dogging the football team to go to IU? That’s rich old man, I see irony loses its place in your world.

    • catsarerunnin
      3:59 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

      Lol this from the douchebag who trashes Cal and Cats on a daily basis during the basketball season. Follow your own advice nimrod.

    • Bobbum Man
      10:50 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

      What a hypocrite mash is lol… the basketball team is in the best shape it’s been in since pitino but you still cry everyday about it

  2. Guitarteacher74
    7:09 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

    If we keep losing, those recruits are going somewhere else.

  3. bbn606
    7:14 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

    The main goal now is to hold on to this recruiting class.

  4. J. Did
    7:35 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

    GO CATS!

  5. shelby3605
    8:43 pm October 9, 2019 Permalink

    Lose 5 and many will bolt; lose 6 and they all pretty much gone. Need to win 8!

    • DelrayCat
      7:44 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

      This logic of recruits leaving when the team loses the year before is stupid. I think many would be more excited to come here knowing they might have a better chance to start since the guy in front of him is losing games. Most bought into the program, coaches, and the community..not the record of the previous team.

  6. Soylentbeans
    12:44 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

    I forgot the future can be seen in ksr comment sections.

    • KATastrophe
      3:37 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

      “I forgot the future can be seen in ksr comment sections.”

      Have you ever seen a comments section on ANY sports blog where it isn’t? Why would we want to keep such brilliant prognostications as we make on here to ourselves and cheat folks like you from hearing them?

  7. railcat
    2:04 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

    For being a run heavy offense, why do we recruit so many receivers? Roster looks like an air raid but plays like a ground attack. All we have is 4 scholly RBs?.

  8. Irwin R. Fletcher
    9:07 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

    *AN Historic

  9. Big Sexy
    11:34 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

    Stoops has done some outstanding recruiting in about every position but one….QB. Either they don’t recruit QBs very well or they do a poor job at developing them. You have to have a passing game to compete with the elite programs. Brown and Gran have both seen their high flying offenses grounded under Stoops.

    • abobicesaevior
      11:53 am October 10, 2019 Permalink

      He recruits the position just fine. Two guys transferred, starter out for the season, Scalzo out for the season and Sawyer Smith is banged up. We’re basically on our 5th or 6th string QB.

    • KATastrophe
      3:45 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

      I’m trying to find a reason to disagree with you, Big Sexy, but danged if I can come up with the evidence to do it at present. I will say, however, that it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the word “Gran” and the phrase “high flying offenses” in the same sentence….

    • Big Sexy
      10:25 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

      If he recruits the position just fine then his coaching the position is sorely lacking. The best he can trot out in six years is Towles and Johnson. Get a QB that can throw or you’ll just be spinning your wheels.

  10. makeitstop
    12:01 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink

    To win in the SEC u hv to run the ball well, but to win nationally u need a better passing attack than we have. I’m happy to take the incremental steps to win 5-6 SEC games annually, which is 8-10 wins per year. Then once ur established and u hit on a QB who can throw and move like a Trevor Lawrence or Justin Field or Jake Fromm or Tua and u hv the WR to go and get it, then u can break through to the SEC Championship game of CFP but it won’t be this year or next. Let’s save an 8 win year and build on it next year and keep looking for that game changer – maybe it’s Beau Allen maybe it’s Scalzo, but it’ll come if they stay the course. It starts w that line and if the line played better, we win UF – and they were an atrocity at times in the last two games. They get back to where they should be and we can win 5 more even without much at QB and that’s a decent rebuilding year under the circumstances which are everything that could go wrong has.

  11. season-3-disc-2
    12:25 pm October 10, 2019 Permalink