If you follow football recruiting at all then you are probably excited about Kentucky’s chances with several big name prospects. Jason Hatcher, Ryan Timmons, Marcus McWilson, James Hearns and Ra’Shaad Samples are all big-time players who could be faxing LOIs to Lexington on February 6th. Mark Stoops and his staff have energized the Kentucky football program in a way that I have never seen and the results are showing on the recruiting trail. Wildcat fans have always been rabid recruiting nuts, but usually for basketball, they are learning the ropes of football recruiting. The transition is going to come with some bumps and bruises but should be well worth the effort.
But UK fans need to exercise some caution when it comes to this recruiting class. For all of the guys listed above, there are players like Asiantii Woulard, MacKensie Alexander and James Quick who are very exciting but are looking for a bigger stage than Lexington provides at this point. It may disappoint some folks, but I think Kentucky only lands 2/5 of those top players left on the board.
And that’s ok. If UK doesn’t sign one more player this year beyond the current 16 commitments, this class is still 15-20 spots better than it was when Stoops was hired. So to add a couple of 4*s and fill up the rest with 3*s is a coup considering the time it has been done in. This staff has shown that they are going to recruit hard, they will recruit top prospects and that they aren’t afraid to go up against anyone. That’s a refreshing take after past coaches basically waived their white flags when Florida or Notre Dame came calling.
But they won’t get everyone they want, no one does. Football recruiting doesn’t work like that. Nick Saban should theoretically sign the top class in the country every year given Alabama’s success, but it doesn’t unfold that way. (Yes,I know that Alabama signs a great class every year.) People accustomed to John Calipari’s recruiting success will be a bit let down, because that won’t happen with football, but that doesn’t mean Stoops isn’t having success. As exciting as all these changes are, this is still a rebuilding project and it will take time. Will UK ever sign the top recruiting class in the country? Probably not, but considering where this class projects, it’s not hard to extrapolate what a couple of winning seasons and good classes could become. If Stoops has success on the field and fans stay energized about the program, Kentucky could have a Top 25 class every year.