When news broke Sunday afternoon that Florida State fired Willie Taggart, Mark Stoops sprung into action. The first thing he did was pick up the phone to make an important phone call… to Vince Marrow.
This week Stoops had no time for speculation in his interest in the Florida State vacancy. He was too busy contacting recruits to calm any concerns he may leave Lexington.
“What goes on in this world and this media with social media and all of that, I don’t mean to be so old that I can’t understand that but it’s just a little bit absurd how fast things go and people like to get out in front of their skis really far in that world,” Stoops said Monday. “That just needs to be addressed but nothing we can’t handle.”
He addressed it with the Big Dog. The two were up until almost midnight making calls to reassure UK’s recruits that they aren’t going anywhere.
“I’ve been putting out a lot of fires the last two days because their reporters for their schools, like the Rivals and 247, telling these guys that we’re gone after the season. Half of that stuff, we don’t have a clue what they’re talking about,” Marrow said Tuesday evening.
“This team’s going to be pretty good the next couple of years. I’m not speaking for Mark Stoops, but we’re going to be pretty good. We got a great class coming in. I was up to almost midnight trying to talk to all of our recruits as a whole because people are — you get a little break like that and people are going to start running with it. The guys have been on group chats talking among each other, worrying about what’s going on if that situation was true. Me and Mark sat up in his office and called a couple of guys and talked to them. We nipped that in the bud quick.”
Those conversations followed a week of intensive recruiting during UK’s second bye where coaches evaluated their final targets, made contact and watched them perform in-person.
“We planned for Tennessee and got a lot done early, so we were allowed to focus on a lot of kids that we’re about to close in on,” said Marrow. “We got a couple silent commitments, guys that we’re looking — you always gotta keep an eye on the transfer portal for guys that can come in and help this team. It was really a good break to have that and getting out to go see our top guys. I got to see guys play Friday and Saturday, which is good.”
The player not-named in the transfer portal is Joey Gatewood, the incredibly talented dual-threat quarterback who will visit Kentucky’s campus for the Tennessee game. Competing against other college football powers, Stoops believes their approach to the process sets them apart from the competition.
“I think you know by the way we do things, we try to be very intentional,” said Stoops. “I think a lot of people talk about a lot of things. We try to really show what we do and how we do things and the way we go about our business. When guys are going on and having success (in the NFL), I think it does nothing but help you.”