The University of Kentucky has enjoyed some remarkable recruiting success since new head coach Mark Stoops has taken over in Lexington. At one time, the Wildcats had the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for 2014. While other big time programs have gained more high profile recruits, the Wildcats have fallen to No. 3 in the latest class rankings. This is the same Kentucky squad that went 2-10 last season and lost to Western Kentucky in their opener.
Yeah, it’s been quite a different feel for everyone. If you’re not a believer, take a look at who is two spots below the Wildcats in the rankings right now. It’s only two-time defending national champion Alabama.
At least on the recruiting trail, Stoops is bringing in the best talent the Wildcats have seen in recent memory. Today, Stoops looked to add another important piece to his prized 2014 class by trying to persuade wide-receiver Braxton Berrios to play football in Lexington.
How did Stoops do it you ask? He and his staff sent 104 hand-written letters. While the United States Postal System is enjoying the extra revenue, Stoops’ recruiting tactics have been slammed on a national stage. Just a few weeks ago, ESPN’s Colin Cowherd addressed Stoops’ mass letter-sending spree and shined a rather negative light on the new Kentucky coach. While plenty of other college programs use the same tactics, Cowherd singled out Stoops and the Kentucky program. Stoops responded by sending Cowherd 50 letters to his Bristol, Conn. office. For some reason, I highly doubt the letters Cowherd received were as nice as the ones Stoops sends to his recruits.
Since this mass letter sending trend has taken off, Stoops may be the one that writes the most letters of anyone. Not only did Berrios receive 104 letters, but Kentucky QB commit Drew Barker received 115 hand-written letters less than two months before picking them over South Carolina. Stoops is also heavily involved in a five-star defensive tackle from Kentucky named Matt Elam, who received the most letters out of anyone with the count at a staggering 182.
Kentucky’s main competition for the services of Berrios will come in the form of Miami (FL) and Ohio State. I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see Berrios lining up beside QB commit Barker in Lexington. Barker and Berrios appear to be good friends on Twitter and every wide receiver needs a high-profile quarterback. The Barker-to-Berrios combination would be deadly in Kentucky’s new “Air-Raid” offense. Berrios is only 5-foot-8, but has exceptional hands and breakaway speed. Think of Tom Brady to Wes Welker in the flat, and you can imagine the picture for Kentucky with Barker to Berrios.
If Stoops can land Berrios, get those Air Raid sirens ready.