Don't look now, but Kentucky has a top-10 recruiting class
Since the beginning of the month, Kentucky has landed nine recruits from the class of 2014. This includes two four-star and seven three-star prospects, reaching across the Florida, Ohio, Georgia and Texas pipelines.
These additions have helped the Wildcats' class reach a total of 18 members, giving Stoops the No. 7 overall class in the 247Sports Team Rankings thus far (No. 4 in the Southeastern Conference).
Yes, Kentucky. Yes, higher than Notre Dame, LSU and Ohio State. Yes, this is football and not basketball.
Stoops has Kentucky on track to end with the program's best recruiting class ever by far, and he hasn't even coached a down as a head coach at any point during his career.
What makes his class so strong? Defensive standouts, which makes complete sense considering Stoops served as a defensive coordinator the past eight seasons.
Out of the 18 prospects, 10 play defense—three defensive linemen, three safeties and four linebackers. He's preached from day one that he wanted to build from the front seven and add toughness, and so far he's delivered.
The prized possession of Stoops' first fully-controlled class and a huge reason for the Wildcats' high ranking is weak-side defensive end Denzel Ware from Crestview High School in Crestview (Fla.).
The 6-foot-3, 220 pound pass-rushing machine is a bit undersized for his position and could play linebacker at the next level, but his performance shows that he plays much bigger and still has a lot of room to add weight to his frame.
Ware, the No. 5 overall player at his position (247Sports Composite) is one of the fastest linemen in his class coming off the line, shooting gaps inside and beating tackles to the quarterback. He's a true edge rusher with the speed to be a force getting to the backfield in college.
He, along with the other 17 members of his class, are going to be key contributors in helping Kentucky become a relevant team in the SEC East.
In comparison: Alabama currently has seven defensive commits for the class of '14, and they combine for an average 91.7 composite rating. The Crimson Tide are the No. 2 overall team for this class, behind Texas A&M.
Kentucky isn't quite there—its prospects add up to an 86.6 average (a 5.1 difference). But that's obviously not too much of a disparity, especially when you compare both schools' class of 2012, which added up as an 8.9-point differential.
To sum things up, Stoops is working on something in Lexington. It'll be very interesting to see how these players' hype translates to the playing field, and whether or not the 'Cats can claw their way out of the SEC's basement to become a contender in the next few years.
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