DJ Eliot with Bjoern Werner after Werner was drafted in the 1st round

Kentucky Wildcats Football: Stoops & Eliot Put Seven Players in NFL

Last Wednesday I wrote about the potential of Mark Stoops’ and DJ Eliot’s former players to be drafted by the NFL and let fans know that as many as eight former Seminoles could become professionals. I was wrong, it was seven.  As noted before, Stoops had three defenders drafted from his first two years in Tallahassee, including two who started in the NFL last year, but this crop of players is more indicative of Stoops’ ability to coach up his recruits.

Now some of you are already discounting this story because, yeah, any yahoo can coach up the kind of player Florida State gets. How hard is it to get five-stars to the NFL? Interesting fact: none of these players were rated higher than a four-star. You know, like the ones Kentucky signed in February, like Za’Darius Smith, Jason Hatcher, and Marcus McWilson. Like some of the prospects that UK will sign this year. So don’t discount these coaches’ ability to coach a player up just yet. They have had a lot of talent to work with but they have also maximized said talent, to the benefit of the team and those players who are now getting paid to play. Interestingly enough, the two players who were drafted in the first round were DE Bjoern Werner and CB Xavier Rhodes, were also the lowest-rated prospects. Werner came to FSU as a three-star who had limited football experience. Rhodes signed on as a three-star wide receiver and became one of the best defensive backs in the nation. DE Cornelius Carradine was almost a first-rounder. Carradine was actually a three-star in high school who was recruited heavily by Kentucky. But he needed to do some work in the classroom and went to JUCO before landing at FSU. Brandon Jenkins, Nick Moody, Everett Dawkins, and Vince Williams are all four-stars who signed with the ‘Noles before Stoops was hired.


So what does this mean for Kentucky? Only good things. Obviously this shows that Coach Stoops knows about developing players like he is always talking about (“Recruit and Develop!”). There are only eleven spots on a defense and seven of his starters were drafted. If Kentucky gets to a point where half that many players get drafted regularly, they will be some wins in between. It’s also great publicity for the program in the recruiting game. Stoops and Eliot were at Radio City Music Hall for the first round with their guys. Imagine being a recruit and seeing the guy who was on your mom’s couch last week sending his guys off to the pros on live television. Stoops has said that he was there because the players asked him to attend and I believe him, but it’s another feather in the cap of these guys out on the recruiting trail.

It’s just another example of positive momentum for the Kentucky program right now. The coaches have more ammunition in recruiting than ever before with the Commonwealth renovations, Spring Game attendance, and now this. None of that stuff will win a game this fall, but the way breaks have been going Kentucky’s way since Stoops was hired I don’t think any win (besides Alabama) would surprise me at this point.


Tags: Bjoern Werner DJ Eliot Football Kentuky Wildcats Mark Stoops Xavier Rhodes

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