You gotta give Mark Stoops credit, he’s doing one heck of a job for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Granted, he has yet to win a single game on the field for Big Blue Nation, but he’s taking care of business on the recruiting trail.
Kentucky has never been, and probably never will be, a recruiting powerhouse. There’s not a whole lot of talent in the surrounding area, it’s a basketball school, and there’s not a whole lot of history or tradition. Stoops is doing his best to change all of that. A daunting (and probably impossible) task, but the youngest of the Stoops brothers is quietly assembling a very talented class for 2013.
When Stoops was hired in late November, UK had eight players committed. Most assumed that, as with most coaching turnovers, there would be a large turnover, with many de-commitments. Not only was Stoops able to keep most of the current guys, but he’s been on a rampage lately adding more guys. As of now, with less than 48 hours to go until National Signing Day, the Wildcats have 20 commitments. Rivals.com even ranks their class 34th in the country, ahead of teams like Arkansas, Stanford and Miami.
The two guys who should make the biggest impact in this year’s class for the Wildcats are both on the defensive side of the ball- where Stoops works his magic. 4-star defensive end Za’Darius Smith is a junior college transfer and is already enrolled. The Wildcats desperately need an experienced pass rusher to pressure the quarterback, and Smith should ably fill that role. The other is 4-star safety Marcus McWilson, who is one of the top defensive backs in the country. McWilson is considered one of the top 200 players nationally by rivals, and should easily see early playing time as a freshman next year.
Stoops is also looking to the future of recruiting. He’s already offered twenty different players for the 2014 class, and two for the class of 2015. Interesting side note: Not a single player being offered a scholarship by the Wildcats for the 2014 class is actually from Kentucky.
All in all, Stoops has done a wonderful job, and in only two full months on the job. Considering the progress he’s made, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land a few more before it’s all said and done.
If he can make as much progress on the field as he’s made off it, Big Blue Nation should have a lot to cheer for the next few years.