Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Ten Years of Stoops-Era Recruiting: Ten Things I've Learned


February 3, 2022 | FOOTBALL

Justin Rowland • CatsIllustrated

Hard though it may be to believe, Kentucky just wrapped up its tenth recruiting class under head coach Mark Stoops.

To start the series off here are ten lessons I've taken from the last ten years of Kentucky recruiting under Stoops.

Vince Marrow has been the best recruiter Kentucky's ever had.

There are other coaches on the staff who deserve a lot of credit for some of their recruiting. Former assistants and current assistants alike.

But when we're talking about Kentucky's recruiting over the last decade nobody has done more, nobody has done close to as much, as Vince Marrow himself.

Several years ago I ran the numbers myself and found that about 40% of all Stoops-era commitments were recruited with Marrow as the lead. That number probably hasn't changed much.

At first it was Marrow pulling in obscene numbers from Ohio. Then, he moved to Kentucky and turned the program's fortunes around in its backyard. Along the way he has ventured into other states to land players like Josh Paschal, Lonnie Johnson, Terry Wilson, and many others.

There has not been another coach at Kentucky who approaches what Marrow has done for the program as an assistant coach. What probably doesn't get mentioned enough is the four- or five-year impact and experience for players after Marrow has recruited them. For many, he's the coach they go to when they need someone while they're in Lexington.

His recruiting success for a full decade could have only happened for someone who tries to do right by the people he recruits. It would have fallen apart by now if he didn't, so he deserves the credit he has gotten.

I've said before, if Marrow were at Alabama or Georgia he would be one of those assistants pulling in multiple five-star guys.

Another big part of his job that doesn't show up in commitment numbers is how he manages so many relationships and situations over long periods of time. That takes 24/7/365 willingness to deal with anything and everything that comes up.

He makes Stoops' job easier and he's a big part of Stoops' success. More than any other individual who has been there along the way.

It's hard for me to imagine Marrow not being with Stoops even though other programs have made runs at him. With the recent raise and Kentucky winning 10 games twice in four years, it's even harder to imagine him leaving.

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