This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Series in which we analyze where UK’s current recruiting class ranks in the SEC, and which recruits will help decide whether Mark Stoops will succeed or fail while coaching in the the greatest conference in all of college football.
If you read Part 1, you can see even the greatest class in UK’s history, and one of the vest classes in the nation at the moment, is still only enough to keep pace with other SEC programs. Having already assembled a class as deep and talented as UK has already done should be reason to celebrate.
Not in the world of Mark Stoops and his coaching staff. In order to help UK ascend to new heights and become a team that is annually competitive with every SEC team, he must continue to recruit like he has thus far, and getting one epic class like he’ll have this year won’t be enough. He’ll need to routinely start bringing in top-25 classes to even stay respectable in the SEC.
Here’s a brief look at some of the top SEC classes UK is competing with:
The reigning national champions are continuing their dominance on the recruiting trail, and this year’s class is currently highlighted by David Cornwell, the #34 overall player in the ESPN 300 and the nation’s #2 quarterback prospect. With A.J. McCarron set to graduate after this year, Cornwell will likely compete for the starting QB job in 2014.
Their class is also bolstered by Bo Scarbrough, the #2 athlete prospect and 19th-best overall player (ESPN). They’ve also got an elite pair of cornerback prospects in Kalvaraz Bessent (6th-best CB) and Stephen Roberts (11th-best CB), which is no surprise given how Nick Saban routinely gets his defensive backs drafted high in the NFL Draft.
The Tide are also in good position with running back Leonard Fournette, the top overall player in the ESPN 300 and the top RB prospect in most major recruiting services.
The Cats already lost out on receiver Derek Kief (#19 WR by 247Sports) to the Tide after Nick Saban was able to come in late and steal him away from Stoops. It looked as though the Ohio product was bound for UK, and had he committed, UK would likely have the #1 or 2-overall class in most recruiting services.
Of all of the teams in the SEC Stoops has to recruit with, none will be harder than the two-time defending national champions.