There’s one person who certainly doesn’t doubt Coach Stoops.
So far, Mark Stoops has pulled some real magic tricks when it comes to recruiting.
He’s flipped players from nationally prominent schools, and has received warranted attention for doing so.
Yet, when you take a look around, it seems that national recruiting experts still doubt him, more importantly Kentucky, in recruiting high profile guys right in their own backyard.
Drew Barker is a perfect example. If you look at the Crystal Ball feature on 247, you’ll see that all of the national recruiting “experts”, as well as the South Carolina beat writers, are hedging their bets and picking South Carolina as the likely destination. Why, you ask? Because South Carolina has made him a top priority, and Steve Spurrier has been recruiting him the longest.
Never mind that his good friend, Cameron Fogle, is going to UK. Never mind that he grew up a UK fan. Never mind that Neal Brown’s offensive system is more suited to Barker’s ability. Never mind that UK has also made Barker a top priority, and has decided to follow South Carolina in offering another quarterback, even though UK could have already wrapped up an elite prospect had they moved on from Barker. He’s their priority too. Never mind also that Barker turned down an offer to go to USC’s Spring Game, deciding instead to go to UK’s, following a few other unofficial visits to UK.
No, still, it’s Kentucky. Kentucky doesn’t win recruiting battles against South Carolina or schools of that ilk if they send out their big dogs to seal the deal.
Still, Mark Stoops gets no respect.
Yeah, sure, he flipped Jason Hatcher from USC. Of course, USC is a burning ship and Hatcher wanted to stay close to home right? Oh yeah, what about Marcus McWilson? Just chose UK over Nebraska because it’s in the SEC, and because of Vince Marrow, right?
Never mind still what Stoops has done so far this year. All those guys had Vince Marrow as their lead recruiter. Barker’s lead recruiter is Neal Brown and Coach Stoops. G.A. Mangus is South Carolina’s go-to guy. He always gets his man, or at least that’s what the pundits would have you believe.
Drew Barker will be the feather in Mark Stoops cap that finally sways the national perception of Coach Stoops and his ability to recruit to Kentucky. There’ll be no denying any longer that his recruiting hasn’t been a fluke to this point. He would have gone toe to toe with an SEC East power, a team that even got a headstart on Barker, and Stoops would have still come from behind for the win.
It’s been said before but it bears repeating, if Stoops can translate the hard work he’s put in to recruiting on to the field, the sky is the limit for Kentucky football. Does that mean it will all happen overnight? No. But, if he keeps going toe to toe with the South Carolinas, USC’s, Ohio State’s and Nebraska’s of the world for recruits, and keeps winning, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Barker’s announcement will come on Friday afternoon at 3:30 pm EST at Conner High School.
Go Big Blue!
Category: KSC Blog