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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky fans might not have known much about Vince Marrow when he joined Mark Stoops’ coaching staff at UK, but the tight ends coach has quickly made a name for himself as a successful recruiter, especially in Ohio where six of UK’s verbal commitments in the 2014 recruiting class are from.
However, Stoops knew plenty about Marrow, who spent the two previous seasons at Nebraska and also coached in NFL Europe and the United Football League. They played together at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio.
“I have been knowing Mark about 25 or 30 years, even before high school,” said Marrow. “My oldest brother played for his uncle at Youngstown South (High School). I think the first time I saw Mark his uncle or dad brought him to South High School to watch practice and his brother, Mike, was being recruited about the same time. Me and Mark started playing football on the sideline. We were probably about 8 or 9 years old.
“Not long ago we were talking on the way back from Columbus (Ohio to Lexington) about where we are from and how far we have come. His brother, Bob, is one of the top coaches in the country. Mike is a good college coach. I just think Mark has it, too. Always has. I have been a round a lot of guys and I know Mark has what it takes to be that special guy.”
Marrow said the two “always talked” about one day coaching together and that only Stoops could have pried him away from Nebraska where he was working for another high school friend, Bo Pelini.
“We talked even when Mark was a coordinator and I knew he would eventually get a head job. I knew he would call me when it happened,” Marrow said.
He knew a little about Kentucky football because when he was a professional coach/scout, he followed former UK coach Rich Brooks’ career at UK.
“I remembered them being competitive and having Ohio guys sprinkled in there,” Marrow said. “I always knew Kentucky could be good, but I never understood why they did not recruit Ohio harder. I am telling you right now Ohio is one of the top states for football. I put it in the top four. To be that close to Ohio and not kick in the door recruiting-wise, I never understood.
“I knew under Brooks, they won seven or eight games several years. Then to be honest, I don’t know what happened. With all due respect to the last staff, I just felt Ohio was sitting right there and had damn good players. You have 180 guys or more a year going Division I in Ohio. That is why people recruit Ohio. That’s why Michigan has Ohio as its No. 1 goal every year. We are going to kick in that door. I’m from Ohio. The head coach is from Ohio. Kentucky is right here. We treat Ohio like our state. We will not take a backseat to anyone in Ohio.
“People liked this first signing class, but give us a year to recruit and see what we do. People will not know what to think. We have some good commitments now, but there are going to be more coming.”