Kentucky Wildcats Head Coach Mark Stoops spoke to the media today about the signing of JUCO cornerback A.J. Stamps, as well as defensive tackle Cory Johnson. He also spoke about quarterback Drew Barker and if he’ll be able to compete for the starting QB spot next year.
Here’s the full transcript:
Opening Statement …
“I hope everybody has been well. I have really missed you the past couple of weeks. It has been a good, productive couple of weeks since I have seen you.
“Pleased to announce two new additions today starting with Cory Johnson, a defensive tackle. He is a big guy from ASA Junior College, 6-foot-4, 300-pound D-tackle. A very productive player. He is a big, physical guy. He is very mature and very active in the D-line. Very excited for Cory and also for A.J. Stamps. He is a cornerback out of East Mississippi Junior College. A guy that really blew up this year. He started as a wide receiver his first year at East Mississippi and played corner this year. He did a fantastic job. Big, strong corner. Again, a guy that can come in here at mid-year and help us. Physical guy 6-foot, 195-pounds. Again, want to make it clear he is a cornerback and played corner and we recruited him as a corner. Really excited about that. Two new additions to go along with the five high school guys we already talked about. That will be very helpful for us to have seven guys coming in here to participate in our offseason workouts and spring ball and all those good things. Very excited to add those two guys.
“This past week, probably two of our biggest splashes in recruiting really came from (Alvin) Bud (Dupree) and Za’Darius (Smith) with both of those guys announcing they were coming back. That was big for us and very important for our defense and team and leadership to have those guys return. I am excited for them and to help them improve their stock in the draft the following year. Excited to have those guys back.
“Wrapping up 2013, obviously disappointed in the wins and losses, but very pleased and thought we made progress in a lot of areas. We are excited about recruiting and the offseason and moving forward with wrapping up this recruiting class and moving forward with the program. Some good things are happening right now with the renovations getting started and all those good things. Exciting time and looking forward to the future.”
On this past weekend’s recruiting visits …
“The weekend was fantastic. Really, this past weekend and really a good portion of how this 2014 class is coming together is one of the most unique recruiting experiences I have been a part of. Very, very good weekend and just encouraged with the ability and also the leadership and character of this group.”
On fans looking at what schools UK is beating out for recruits and if the coaches notice that …
“We really don’t. Coaches are all competitive, you know that. Believe me, we were working all night last night. This deal, one of these deals didn’t get closed until about an hour ago. We were working all the way through. It is not easy. We are all competitive. These guys are important to our program and these two guys I just talked about – the two junior college additions – that is very important much like Za’Darius a year ago to come on campus and go through the offseason and go through winter conditioning and be a part of the team and can be impact guys right away. That is why I am so fired up about these guys. Very good players, but it is a grind and never easy. But, going back to the question I just fielded about this past weekend, the junior college guys are always a little bit different. With the high schools guys coming out, it is really unique the way this is falling into place. It is a credit to the players we are recruiting and the staff so some good things are going on. And obviously the things we always talk about, this a great place and a great institution. Lexington is a great place to recruit kids, too, and the people really more than anything. It is the fans, it’s the staff and it’s the people that are affecting these kids and around these kids every day are doing a great job of just being themselves.”