July 30, 2013
Mark Stoops made it clear that Ohio would be like a home-away-from-home when it came to recruiting.
But even with an added emphasis, the extent to which he and his staff -- especially Vince Marrow -- have cleaned up on the recruiting trail there is impressive.
It continued with a commitment from four-star offensive lineman Nick Richardson on Tuesday, another in a line of top-ranked Ohio players to look one state south.
Among 22 commitments in a still-incomplete Class of 2014 are eight players listed among the state's top 60 prospects.
The fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, 19th, 29th, 32nd and 34th-ranked players have all pledged to play for the Wildcats.
And that came after Stoops landed three players from Ohio's top 60 in the quickly put together Class of 2013 (the 10th, 31st and 36th best prospects).
"I think the SEC carries a big stick," Stoops said recently about recruiting. "I think the players are very interested in playing in the SEC. I think it's kind of neat we're the furthest school north to be able to play in the SEC."
How unprecedented is this success for the Wildcats? Take a look at all the players UK has landed since 2003 that fell into the top tier of Rivals' state-by-state rankings:
Class of 2012 -- none
Class of 2011 -- none
Class of 2010 -- one (Alex Smith, No. 13)
Class of 2009 -- none
Class of 2008 -- none
Class of 2007 -- none
Class of 2006 -- one (Mike Hartline, No. 39)
Class of 2005 -- one (Zach Hennis, No. 38)
Class of 2004 -- two (Nii Adjei Oninku, No. 37 and Tedd Bullock, No. 42)
Class of 2003 -- one (Joey Razzano, No. 29)
True, this coaching staff has much deeper ties to the state across the board.
But they're taking full advantage of it in ways no other Kentucky staff has done before.