Kentucky Wildcats: Mark Stoops Closes Deal with Historic Recruiting Class

By Tim Letcher

The Kentucky Wildcats signed one of the school’s best recruiting classes ever on Wednesday. Since the inception of recruiting class rankings, there has never been a year when Kentucky ranked as high as it does with the 2014 class. The Wildcats and head coach Mark Stoops find themselves in the Top 20 nationally by nearly every recruiting service, a place that Kentucky has never been before.

So how did Stoops and his staff sign such an accomplished class? After all, the Kentucky program has very limited success through history, and last season’s 2-10 record was nothing to write home about.

The simple selling point to these new recruits was two-fold. First, there is (obviously) playing time available. The second thing Stoops sold to the recruits was the chance to be a part of the first class that helped turn this program in a positive direction.

Most of the players that signed with UK on Wednesday will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time this fall. In fact, many think it would be a big surprise if signee Drew Barker was not the starting quarterback this fall. Running backs Mikel Horton and Stanley “Boom” Williams will see plenty of playing time, as will defensive tackle Matt Elam. Wide receivers Dorian Baker and Blake Bone could contribute in 2014, as could defensive backs Mike Edwards and Darius West.

In his first season as a head coach last year, Stoops saw that his team lacked the talent of his Southeastern Conference opponents. Signing this 28-player class, which is full of SEC-type players, is the first step to leveling that playing field. If Kentucky can get talent of that level to come on board, they should become more competitive in the always-tough SEC.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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