Since Mark Stoops took over as Kentucky’s head football coach there has been a fairly large amount of roster attrition, even for such a big change in a program. There has been staggering roster turnover in just one year of Stoops and Co. in Lexington and it has ruffled some feathers. Someone mentioned to me that next year the roster will be more than half full of Stoops players and it got me thinking about how former coach Joker Phillips’ final recruiting class at UK.
The 2012 class would be the last one he actually recruited and signed at Kentucky. According to Rivals.com, that class was ranked #63 in the nation, with one 4* recruit (QB Patrick Towles) and an average rating of 2.88. Not exactly the record-breaking recruiting that we are seeing under the new staff but respectable in the sense that it was better than his predecessor, on paper at least. Twenty-six players signed.
Fourteen remain on the roster at this time. Two others are rumored to be considering a transfer before next season due to lack of playing time. Just guessing that at least one of them moves on, that would mean that after two seasons, half of the 2012 class has left UK. Only three players are likely to be starters in 2014 and eight should be expected to contribute. One of those is punter Landon Foster.
This is just an example of what Mark Stoops and his staff have to deal with in their quest to build a winner in Lexington. It’s not an attempt to berate Phillips or his coaches, that horse has been beaten to a pulp, but it is important to recognize where the Cats started on this road. The cupboard was relatively bare for Stoops and he has done a good job stocking it. But he does need time for that talent to mature. The guys who should be hitting their stride and becoming leaders on this football team are mostly back-ups and they’ve lost half of their class.
So be patient, Top 25 classes are a new thing at Kentucky and while the results will be evident quickly, the full impact won’t be felt for a couple of years. In the mean time young players will make mistakes, as is their nature, and Kentucky fans will have to live with the growing pains. But the payoff will be worth it. For the first time in my lifetime, UK will have comparable talent to their opponents.