Kirby Smart calls makeup of Kentucky's roster 'amazing'
Kentucky and Georgia play in the de facto SEC East Championship on Saturday, as the No. 9 Wildcats host the No. 6 Bulldogs, in a matchup that no one could have predicted would be between two top ten teams in the preseason.
What Mark Stoops has done at Kentucky since his first season in 2013 is remarkable, as the Wildcats are scratching the surface of getting to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, something the program has not done since the conference split into divisions in 1992.
Stoops has combatted the challenge of being at a second tier SEC football program by recruiting to the north – specifically dipping into Ohio, the subject of a recently published column by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.
As noted in the column, 27 players on Kentucky’s roster come from Ohio, including star running back Benny Snell. Snell was a 3-star prospect, per the 247 Sports Composite, out of Westerville, Ohio.
Across the football field from Stoops on Saturday will be Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, who has not encountered much trouble recruiting high profile athletes to Athens.
However, Smart marveled at how committed the Wildcats are to recruiting from Ohio, and how successful Stoops has been in doing that.
“When you think about the players on that roster from that state,” Smart told Wetzel, “it’s amazing.”
Stoops has found a way to make Kentucky nationally relevant this season, behind a lockdown defense and dominant rushing attack, something no coach has been able to consistently do in modern college football.
The key word there is “consistently”. Stoops has the Wildcats in the top ten of the College Football Playoff Rankings, but can he keep them there? We will get the answer to that when Kentucky and Georgia kick off in Lexington at 3:30pm ET on CBS this Saturday.