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By LARRY VAUGHT

When Mark Stoops came to Kentucky as head coach, he immediately emphasized that he would recruit Ohio, his home state. He made that even clearer when he hired Vince Marrow, another Ohio native, to coach tight ends.

He had three Ohio signees in his initial recruiting class, but UK’s two commitments for 2014 are both Ohio prep standouts and Stoops and Marrow seem to be in position to land many more Ohio players in their second recruiting class.

That doesn’t surprise Lakota West High School coach Larry Cox, who sent John Conner to UK as a walk-on player and watched him develop into a NFL player. The veteran Ohio prep coach thinks UK has missed out on recruiting Ohio players for years.

“To be perfectly honest, Kentucky has never really recruited Ohio hard,” said Cox.

Kentucky is recruiting his star running back, Mikel Horton, and seems to be one of his top five schools. Cox also senses the push Stoops is making into Ohio for other players.

“Some of the premier players in Ohio, Kentucky tried to go after but they did not really not go after the all-around type of premier players,” Cox said. “Mark realizes being from Ohio what type of talent this state has. Look at what John Conner did. That tells you what type of talent there is here.

“When Stoops first got the job at Kentucky, I told him, ‘You are an hour from downtown Cincinnati and for you not to be recruiting Cincinnati is a crime,’” Cox said. “You are looking at some of the hottest football talent in the state in southwestern Ohio. He better be living in this part of the state. Our kids play good competition every week and will play at a high level in college. They want to play the best, too.

“Vince Marrow is primarily recruiting our area and understands that. He is already doing a great job and you can see the results. Kentucky has a chance to make a big splash in Ohio and they know that.”

19 Responses to Ohio coach told Stoops it was a “crime” for UK not to be recruiting Cincinnati harder

  • Juan4UK says:

    Outstanding. I really do believe in this staff.

  • Juan4UK says:

    I’d really like to understand just how the recruiting philosophy worked under the previous staff. Not a jab at Joker per se, but what were the guidelines and how did those conversations go? What really went through their minds w/ the Drew Barker recruitment.
    But then again, it’s better not to live in the past about this.

  • Larry Pup says:

    Recruiting Ohio is a no brainer. This staff is doing it all ready. I hope we get many more from Ohio, and Florida, and Georgia, and the good ones here at home in Kentucky too.

  • Ira says:

    My understanding Juana it was not a priority at all. From another recruiting site, one of their reporters said, right after Coach Stoops was hired, this recruiting guy covers the state of OH, said Joker’s staff did not consider it a priority. They would go up and offer a kid a scholarship, but never follow up. Never visit again. Might send some mailings might not. Also said, one or two assist coaches wanted to cover the area more but was hindered or told not to worry about it. Crazy, said plenty of kids and coaches told him that more than once.

  • gstan says:

    I lived in Cincinnati for a few years and the Catholic league, Elder, Moeller, St.X, etc. had some of the best talent I ever saw. UK did not ever recruit there. I worked with a man whose son was a very good linebacker and wanted to play at UK. They could not get the attention of the UK staff and he went on to be an all ACC linebacker for North Carolina. This was back in the Curci days, so ignoring Ohio and southwest Ohio in particular is nothing new. I never understood why we did not recruit there, but am so glad we are finally doing so.

  • David says:

    I am just glad we have a coaching staff that is going after the best ball players in Ohio, Florida and Kentucky. I strongly believe that this group of coaches believe they can change our program into a winning one and are willing to put the hard work and effort it takes to make that change. It all starts with recruiting and then development of that young talent! Go Big Blue!!!!!!

  • Another David says:

    As a Kentucky native living in West Chester, Ohio I have wondered for years why Kentucky hasn’t seemed to recruit Cincinnati (and Ohio) harder. Sure the Buckeyes will get most of the recruits but there is lots of talent to be found. Go Big Blue!! Hope I can still find a couple tickets for this year.

  • UKFAN197TONE says:

    You said something very important there…PLAYER DEVELOPMENT!! That’s huge and wasn’t really mentioned a lot during the previous staffs tenure. Don’t get me wrong, UK put some good FBall players in the NFL; Cobb, Woodyard, Tamme, The Terminator, o name a few. I see more in the future for this staff!

  • Larry Pup says:

    There is a article in the C-J today about Charlie Strong’s 2014 recruiting class at Louisville. At this point in time it is ranked 13th by Rivals.com, and 14th by 247Sports.com. UK has to pick it up and I believe Coach Stoops will. UK needs a top 25 class for 2014 to keep pace. Ohio, and Florida are good recruiting grounds. Got to go get em. Recruiting is hard work and relationship building. UK has been unable in the past to gather enough highly ranked players. That has got to change for them to compete. GO CATS!!!

    • David says:

      Hey another David. If Larry would be so kind to write your email address giving you my email address I will try to arrange a way for you to get a couple of tickets to a game. My son uses them for most of the games, but not all of the games. I am currently in South Pacific doing things for our country, so again this year I will not be able to use them myself.

      I can tell you this they are on the 50 lower level and are excellent seats. Take care and Go Cats!

  • Marion County says:

    Kentucky has recruited Ohio, although it has been some time now. Many fans might not be old enough to remember, but Fran Curci always recruited Ohio and Penn. I am glad to see Stoops do that as well.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    I don’t think that we will ever understand that philosophy.
    And I agree, it is best to let it go. It is hard to let it go when we are constantly reminded however, time and recruiting success will help.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    I don’t think that we will ever understand that philosophy.
    And I agree that it is best to let it go.
    It is hard to let it go when we are constantly reminded.
    However time and new success will help.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    Larry Pup – It is way too early to worry about the 2014 Recruiting rankings.
    And don’t worry where U.L. is now – go back & look where U.L. recruiting finished last year. Also we are getting a lot more attention from 4 star players. Stoops & staff will get it done!

  • Larry Pup says:

    I understand Love SEC F-Ball, but just remember UL will be a top ten ranked football team this year. Their success has peaked interest above and beyond. Their victory over Florida has gotten a lot of attention from good football players. Their program under Strong is at least 3 recruiting years ahead of UK’s right now IMO. Bridgewater put them on the map. Strong is getting his share of Florida athletes, just got two more commits yesterday. I just point this out to drive home the point that UK must get our fair share of the 4 and 5 star variety football recruits to catch up. I think Stoops and staff will do just that. And I don’t care if they are from Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, or where ever. We have no other choice.

  • Love SEC F-Ball says:

    I agree with everything that you said.
    Especially the sentence – I think Stoops & staff will do just that.

    Louisville has certainly done well – both recruiting & wins.
    They have an easy schedule so they should win big in 2013.
    I did not expect them to beat Fla. – Definitely an upset.
    Bridgewater is carrying them. Larry Vaught predicted that before TB’s first season.
    Strong does have 3 recruiting years ahead of us but Stoops made up one year in his first 2 months!
    Louisville has several commitments already but I am hoping for several for us very soon with a few 4 stars in the mix.

    I am really pumped with the commitment by Snodgrass and his comments that we will see more soon.

  • Larry Pup says:

    I agree. We are on the same page.

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