Kentucky Wildcats Football: In or Out


It has been a stressful weekend for Kentucky football fans.

Especially those who follow the ups and downs of recruiting. After seeming like a sure bet to become a Cat, top tackle George Brown chose the Florida Gators after a week of teasing the Big Blue Nation. Perhaps Kentucky’s top two commitments took visits to other schools. CJ Conrad worked out for Ohio State and Alex Stump traveled across the country to check out Stanford, who has already offered him. At this point the two commitments seem pretty solid. Conrad especially has reiterated that he is solid to Kentucky. Stump’s trip seems to have been more of a vacation than a recruiting visit. If given the choice before this weekend played out on losing one of those three recruits, I would have chosen Brown quickly. Conrad and Stump are potential program changers, holding onto them is of the utmost importance. However if either had chosen to defect, perhaps the loss wouldn’t be as great in reality as on paper.

What I mean by that is that Kentucky football wants and needs players who are all in. Mark Stoops wants players who want to be Kentucky Wildcats more than anything else. George Brown, for example, supposedly would have chosen Kentucky a week ago because his Florida offer was not of the commitable variety. After visiting Gaineville, he acquired a baby alligator in preparation for his announcement and basked in the attention while pretending to be undecided. And all of that is fine. If Florida is where he wants to be then that’s where he should be. Kentucky will find guys that want to be Wildcats. The same could have been said for Stump or Conrad had they flipped. These are all supremely talented football players who would undoubtedly contribute based on talent. But what Kentucky needs is a culture change. What Kentucky needs are people who want to build something from the ground up. And if they aren’t those kind of players, then they won’t fit in here.

As Kentucky football fans we demand commitment, as it is the only way to build what we want. Kentucky doesn’t want any more highly rated players who for some reason can’t go to their dream school and settle for the Wildcats. No more Alex Smiths or Brandon Gainers flaming out after a short stint on campus because they never really wanted to be there. No more Daylen Halls openly campaigning for better offers before signing with UK. Kentucky needs more Randall Cobbs , more Danny Trevathans and Wesley Woodyards.

The staff has done an excellent job finding those kind of guys thus far and I expect them to keep it up. They are signing players who care about Kentucky and want to play for the Big Blue Nation. It matters to them, when it wasn’t always in the past. The process starts with locking down the borders of Kentucky. It will always mean more to the home grown boys than to anyone else. I’ve long said that every good Kentucky team that I have seen has been led by Kentuckian players. Now the coaches have found out of state prospects that have really bought in to the concept of building something.

The same applies to fans and administrators and concession workers. Kentucky needs people who are all in and as fans it’s time we commit and demand it from each other. It’s time for a call to arms for Big Blue football fans, we can no longer tolerate the skeptical. We should have no patience for the fair-weather fans. If Kentucky football is to be built up, it will have to be as a movement, a true culture change within the culture of Kentucky. Changing the game is a revolution and you are either in or out.