While the Kentucky Wildcats have not been able to match the on-field exploits of their in-state rivals, the Louisville Cardinals, that hasn’t stopped them from cleaning up on the recruiting trail. Kentucky has been particularly strong on in-state recruiting during this cycle as the state’s top recruits have made a habit of choosing Kentucky over Louisville. With the addition of four-star defensive end Lloyd Tubman on National Signing Day, Kentucky has locked up the top three recruits in the state and secured an in-state sweep over Louisville.
Tubman ranks as the No. 3 recruit in the state of Kentucky and joins No. 1 Drew Barker and No. 2 Matt Elam at Kentucky in 2014 with a determination to get things going in the right direction for the Wildcats. Despite Kentucky’s rough 2013 season where they finished just 2-10, Mark Stoops has been able to spin recruiting gold out on the trail and has signed one of the best classes in the country. Tubman, in particular, understands that Kentucky is in the midst of building something special:
“Last year’s season didn’t go too well, but that’s what happens when you have a transition and you’re trying to build a solid foundation and bringing up a program. Even going 2-10 last year and having this recruiting class tells a lot about that. I think Kentucky is going to be on the rise.”
Kentucky’s ability to secure the elite recruits in their own back yard bodes well for their rebuilding efforts as they attempt to make some headway in the rough waters of the SEC. Getting home-grown talent to buy into the program and what they are trying to do is a huge first step in getting the Wildcats out of the SEC cellar and into contention very quickly. It helps when that local talent is of the elite quality of Barker, Elam, and Tubman and they turn down the more successful in-state program to be a part of something at Kentucky.
The turnaround of Kentucky starts at home and they’ve done a phenomenal job with their 2014 class of setting up a foundation for success in the very near future. Can the talented trio of home-grown talent they secured in this cycle lead a football renaissance for Big Blue Nation?