June 21st, 2013 09:00 AM║ Posted By: Josh Ward ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, recruiting, Rivals, SEC, signing day
Kentucky has the nation’s No. 1 ranked football class for 2014, according to Rivals.com.
That’s an incredible statement.
Before diving into what Kentucky has done on the recruiting trail, it should be pointed out Kentucky isn’t ranked No. 1 by every scouting service. The Wildcats are ranked No. 7 by 247Sports, for example.
It’s also very unlikely Kentucky finishes with the No. 1 class or close to it on signing day. But the Wildcats are on pace to easily sign their highest-rated class in the history of the program.
Mark Stoops has changed the way Kentucky is viewed on the recruiting trail since he was hired as head coach in November. Less than three months after Stoops was hired, the Wildcats signed the nation’s No. 29 class for 2013, Kentucky’s best finish since Rivals started calculating team rankings in 2002.
Kentucky has 18 commitments for the 2014 class, eight of whom are from the state of Ohio. That will be critical as Kentucky continues to build relationships and create opportunities for future recruiting.
And without playing a game, Stoops has recruits believing Kentucky will be competitive in the SEC. That’s what sealed the deal for Bowling Green, Ky., defensive tackle Adrian Middleton, who committed to the Wildcats on June 15.
“I picked UK because Coach (Mark) Stoops is changing it around,” Middleton told CatsIllustrated.com. “He’s trying to make a championship program and I wanted to be a part of the family.”
It’s a group that’s received a lot of attention. Common knowledge of the recruiting process says schools like Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU will catch and pass Kentucky by signing day. But the Wildcats have become competitive in recruiting with their SEC opponents, something we’ve never seen.
“It’s a very impressive job by an aggressive staff,” Rivals analyst Mike Farrell told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “They have overcome a lot of things that previous staffs have never been able to touch. Football recruiting has become relevant in Kentucky, and that’s big news.”
That’s the news for Kentucky. The Wildcats have gained credibility despite a winless season in the SEC in 2012. They’ll continue to sell momentum on the recruiting trail as they try to lure more highly-touted prospects, including Elizabethton, Ky., defensive tackle Matt Elam.
Meanwhile, Kentucky fans, who are used to signing top basketball classes, can enjoy the nation’s top football class. Here’s proof.
McMillan will return to Florida
Linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Ga., enjoyed last week’s trip to Florida so much that he’s decided to visit Gainesville again this weekend.
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