Mark Stoops was hired at Kentucky in late November to make them relevant in the SEC East. Relevancy doesn’t mean winning championships, but it does mean bowl games, eight-win seasons and putting a product on the field that the Big Blue Nation would be proud of, and something on which they can hang their hat.
Stoops is in charge of turning around Kentucky like Hugh Freeze has done at Ole Miss and James Franklin has done at Vanderbilt. Neither are championship caliber or have signature wins yet, but they are gaining momentum and are coming off bowl wins. Stoops may have the caliber of players Franklin inherited from his 2-10 team before turning them into a bowl team in his first year. However, Stoops doesn’t have the roster Freeze has, nor does he have many impact players on defense. Not to mention Kentucky has one of the toughest schedules in the country for 2013.
But Stoops just landed his first signature commitment in just two months on the job.
Four-star safety and Ohio native Marcus McWilson committed to the Cats yesterday, after he had decommitted from Nebraska the day before. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is sure to have had a temper tantrum.
Ironically, Stoops and Pelini are both from Youngstown, Ohio, but it’s the new guy in town with the SEC brand to sell who stole McWilson’s heart.
“I’m in the best conference, I think, that’s out there in the SEC. To me, to be the best player you have to beat the best players,” McWilson said. “We’re all excited about the program. We are excited about the legacy we are getting ready to begin with coach Stoops and everyone else. Everyone wants the football team to succeed and I think it’s time we do.”
McWilson ranks as the 196th best prospect in the country, as well as the 18th best safety.
Now, Stoops will put the full court press on Ryan Timmons from Frankfort, Kentucky, in an attempt to keep him away from Ohio State and Urban Meyer, one of the best closers in college recruiting.
Landing both Timmons and McWilson would be an epic close to the class and would help generate some buzz around the program, as well as land two impact players for 2013.
Photo Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports