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Mark Stoops on Vince Marrow, recruiting Georgia, recruiting needs, Jalen Whitlow and more


Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talked about assistant coach Vince Marrow, quarterback Jalen Whitlow, UK fans and recruiting during Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference teleconference.

Question: What was your first spring practice like?
Stoops: “I was encouraged with the first spring. I felt like things went well. I was impressed with our players, felt like they had a great attitude and were there embracing the process. So I was really happy with their attitude and the way they were going about their business. Encouraged with the spring game and our fans. This fan base is awfully hungry to help us be successful. That was evident with their support of the spring game. So overall, I’m pleased with the way things are going.”

Question: What makes tight ends coach Marrow such a good recruiter and is Ohio his only territory?
Stoops: “I’ve got him just in Ohio right now. What makes him a great recruiter, I think, is just his ability to make everybody feel comfortable. He’s very good at just building relationships. He works at it extremely hard. And he has a lot of ties to Ohio. He’s lived in three or four different parts of Ohio, grew up in Ohio, went to the same high school that I did. So Vince knows me very well. He knows how we want to go about our business in recruiting. So I think just with his work ethic and his ability to build relationships are some of the best qualities he has.”

Question: Is Georgia a recruiting priority?
Stoops: “Absolutely, yes. Yeah, we are currently recruiting Georgia, yes.”

Question: Was there any separation in the quarterback battle based on reviewing the spring game video?
Stoops: “I think it’s very fair to say that Jalen (Whitlow) had the best spring game and did some awfully good things. So, I have got to say that Jalen had the best spring game and did some awfully good things. With that being said, it’s still an open competition there.”

Question: Where does UK need the most help from freshmen/junior college transfers?
Stoops: “Obviously we need help at every position. We need to improve across the board. But what stands out to me right now is the skill positions, both on offense and on defense. We need to get a lot better in the secondary and we need to get better at wide receiver.”

Question: Has he been surprised with how the 2014 recruiting has gone?
Stoops: “I’ve been very encouraged with recruiting since I’ve been to Kentucky. I feel like we’re getting a good reception. I feel like the coaches are working extremely hard. And the coaches have the ability to get in there and build some relationships and earn some trust from some of these recruits. So overall, I’ve been very pleased with 2013 and the start of 2014, yes.”

Question: Are there particular areas of need in the 2014 recruiting class?
Stoops: “We really need a lot of help in every area. So I feel like we need help across the board, but we need to continue – it’s hard to say, because we need help everywhere, but we certainly need some help in the skill positions like I mentioned. I think really at defensive back and wide receiver, we really need to upgrade there.”

Question: How did tailbacks Dyshawn Mobley and Josh Clemons perform in the spring?
Stoops: “Dyshawn, he was a good back. He just really did some good things. I was impressed. I feel like he’s a physical guy, up over about 215 pounds, gives us a little physical punch, and he’s also got some good speed. So I was impressed with him. Josh is, again, a pleasant surprise. I think with coming back off a knee injury, I really just was impressed with him. He also had a good spring game. We did not practice him back-to-back. If we did have a back-to-back practice, we just practiced him one or the other to let that knee heal up a little bit between practices. But again, a big, physical guy that’s got some good vision. So I was happy with Josh.”

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  1. Ira

    1. If Marrow doesn’t get SEC recruiter of the year something will be very wrong. He should be in the running for national recruiting award the way things are going in OH.

    2. If he doesn’t deserve a pay raise, and I say a significant one then something is wrong in Denmark. I know he supposedly has said, as long as Coach Stoops remains at UK he will to, but still ya never know.

    3. I think the QB battle in the fall comes down to Whitlow and Smith, and right now from Coach Stoops word Whitlow is leading. Although that could be nothing more than to prompt the other two to work harder over the summer.


    I hate to say it, but the Recruiters at Ole Miss have done one hell of a job as well. But I like the way you think.


    I would like to add, UNFORTUNATELY, to the above comment. That’s just one more team UK has to fight against and it’s not like recruiting against the BIG BOYs in the SEC isn’t hard enough.

  4. Larry Pup

    Coach tells it like it is. I like the recruiting they have done. It is better than it ever has been as I see it. Football recruiting at UK will only get better as they pile up a few wins. I never thought for one min they had given up on recruiting Georgia. But we need Ohio recruits who can help us too, and they are getting a few. Horton, Snodgrass, and the LB were great commitments. Great football players come out of OHIO, and always have. It is an area that is real close to Lexington, and an area we should have been recruiting all along. As for the SEC, every team in the league is going to be tough. They get the best. It don’t matter who. Stoops is a tough guy. Just look at him and you can tell if you know what to look for. He will get it done. He will give great effort. BBN needs to be patient and enjoy the ride. This is a dynamite coaching staff. I think the wildcats will be ready come Sept. to compete. May the best QB, whoever that is, start against WKU. Go CATS!!!!

  5. Jeffro

    I agree, Vince is doing a great job in building relationships on the recruiting trail and I look for many more successes. Coach Marrow is being paid well to be successful. He was hired to be successful in recruiting and coaching, it’s part of his job description. As part of performance evaluations, etc., I trust that our AD will (continue to) monetarily reward Coach appropriately, including raises, etc.

    I trust that with a salary of $175k this year and $230k next (certainly not amounts to turn your nose up at), along with the sense of accomplishment and pride that come from being successful, Coach will feel challenged enough to continue to give his best, just like he’s been doing.

    The move to UK was a big increase in pay in itself, as the pay for Graduate Assistants (even at Nebraska) are a fraction of what full-fledged staff members are paid.

    People who make that type of money and then don’t meet or exceed job performance expectations—get terminated. Those who do exceed expectations, are then rewarded more handsomely. It’s a competitive world…..I trust both Coach Marrow and our AD know what they are doing.

    Can we as fans just enjoy all the excitement, the recruiting buzz, etc., and leave pay raises (and what’s wrong in Denmark) after 4 months on the job up to the people we’ve entrusted to handle such matters?

  6. Juan4UK

    There ya go GeorgiaCat

  7. Larry Pup

    Mobley and Clemons are due. The past coaching staff should have used Mobley more as far as I ‘m concerned. He looks like an SEC back. Clemons was injured but appears ready to have a great year. They are good backs. UK needs to run the football some. Brown will too.

  8. Love SEC F-Ball

    Good article, Larry – Good questions. Notice how Coach Stoops continues to compliment fans – He worked the fan compliment in his answer to the the first question. Like another coach we know & love “He gets it”!

    Vince Marrow certainly has done a great job so far – Even more good news from Ohio soon? Keep us posted.

  9. Love SEC F-Ball

    UKFAN197TONE is right about Ole Miss – They are trying hard to be one of the “Big Boys” – Great turn around with that program.

  10. Gene

    Re. your point #3.
    I had watched Patrick Towles play a couple games while he was at Highlands HS.
    I figured then that he’s be a great fit at UK since Morgan Newton was floundering at that same time. It turns out that Towles seems to be just another of the “Kentucky Boys” who look really good while playing against other “Kentucky Boys” and not so good when up against better competition.
    Hope I’m wrong but the position looks like a battle btween Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow as it stands today.

  11. Larry Pup

    I think Towles’s injury hurt him last year. He has never quite caught up. The first series he ever played for UK last year he looked like an all american. I would not count him out just yet. I do think it is Jalen’s to lose as it stands now.

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