Aug 232013
Conner High quarterback Drew Barker committed to Kentucky during a May 10 ceremony. Pablo Alcala/Herald-Leader

Conner High quarterback Drew Barker committed to Kentucky during a May 10 ceremony.
Pablo Alcala/Herald-Leader

Kentucky football fans have had a lot to celebrate since the hiring of Mark Stoops and his new coaching staff. The Cats are recruiting like never before and have already assembled one of the best classes in the 2014 cycle.

But the actual football starts next week, and UK isn’t expected to fare well in the win-loss column. A popular topic of discussion has been whether Stoops will lose some of his high-profile commitments if the Cats don’t produce this season.

ESPN recruiting analyst Derek Tyson got that question in a mailbag Friday morning. Here’s what he said…

Will UK lose a lot of recruits if Stoops flops on the field? Like if they go 4-8?

Tyson: “I really don’t believe so. Obviously Kentucky hasn’t had much success on the field over the past few years, and recruits understand that. What Stoops is selling to these recruits is an opportunity to help turn the football program around. The opportunity to play early is another key selling point. As long as Kentucky shows improvement and is at least competitive in most of their games, I don’t see recruits bailing on this impressive recruiting class.”

That’s been the popular answer from those in recruiting circles.

UK’s commitments will not be able to sign with Kentucky until Feb. 5, 2014, and a lot can happen between now and then. But Stoops and company have been selling their recruits on the future, not the present. UK’s commitments for the Class of 2014 know the Cats are in rebuilding mode and face an incredibly tough schedule this fall. They also know there will be ample opportunity for immediate playing time and a chance to turn around a program and compete in the SEC.

That’s the message UK’s coaches have been preaching, and it seems to be getting through to recruits (and apparently recruiting analysts). Barring unforeseen staff departures or a particularly dreadful season, that message is likely to pay off with a top recruiting class in February.


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