Kentucky Wildcats: Mark Stoops Continues Recruiting Success

Mark Zerof, USA TODAY SPORTS

If someone said that the Kentucky Wildcats currently had the second-ranked recruiting class in the country, most people would figure that John Calipari was in the midst of assembling yet another top group of talent for the hardwood version of the Wildcats.

But if someone said that Kentucky’s football recruiting class was currently ranked second nationally, many would think it was a misprint.

It’s not.

Since arriving in the Bluegrass in December, new Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops has made strides in recruiting never seen before in Lexington. And after receiving a verbal commitment from South Warren (Bowling Green, Ky.) defensive end Adrian Middleton on Saturday, Kentucky now stands behind only the Texas Longhorns in the 2014 football recruiting class rankings, according to Rivals.com.

Kentucky already has commitments from five players ranked as four-star recruits by Rivals, and 11 players ranked with three stars.

In the past, if Kentucky was able to get commits from one or two players who were four-star recruits, it was considered a good class. But Stoops and his staff have changed the mindset in the Bluegrass in a very short period of time.

In just a matter of weeks, after his December hire, Stoops and his staff were able to assemble Kentucky’s best recruiting class in 2013. That class ranked 36th nationally, and many of those recruits will be counted on to contribute this fall.

One big recruit for Kentucky in the 2014 class is quarterback Drew Barker, from Conner High School in Burlington, Ky. Not only did the four-star signal caller pick UK over the South Carolina Gamecocks, he has also become the ring leader to recruit other players to come to Lexington. Barker has even started a Twitter page for the 2014 Kentucky recruiting class, which has aided in the effort.

Detractors will say that these players have just verbally committed to Kentucky, and that none of them have signed with the Wildcats so far. There is still plenty of time for those players to change their minds between now and National Signing Day in February.

But Stoops and his staff have a plan, and it appears to be working for now. The Big Blue Nation is hoping that Stoops can close the deal with the committed recruits, and that better players will translate to more wins in the upcoming seasons.

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