The Stoops Era Has Been Perfect So Far (almost)
By: Adam Griggs
The “almost” is only plugged into the title because the goal line debacle at Vandy last year still has a minor sting. It should be safe to say that even that game is a distant memory for UK Football fans. Since that moment, we’ve suffered a few downs, but we’ve experienced some ups that we’ve only dreamed of over the past decade.
If it wasn’t for the painful hiccups over the past four seasons, a tragic possibility would be looming for cat fans while we still grin during our post-Louisville victory. You know the victory. The one where Lamar Jackson struck a Heisman pose in the end zone, only to fumble in the final minutes and set Austin MacGinnis up to immortalize himself as a Wildcat hero with the likes of Stevie (got loose) Johnson and Taylor Wyndham. (That’s the guy who gave Tebow a concussion, right?) That tragic possibility I referred to is the departure of Mark Stoops. By now, we know he’s our guy. Seven wins with the schedule Kentucky was up against this year (after an 0-2 start) shows us that he is the man.
His failures as Head Coach of Kentucky are what makes this recipe so perfect. If Kentucky hadn’t flopped on some easy wins and had a carousel of offensive coordinators, the head hunters from football power houses would have been dangling contracts in front of Stoops’ nose for the past 3 years. It’s been the perfect balance of failure and success to thrust Kentucky Football into an era of competitiveness in the SEC and dominance over the dirty birds to our west. This victory over Louisville in 2016 is just the first of many to come. Rivals currently has Kentucky as the 29th rated class in the nation for next season. Just since Lamar fumbled, the Cats have picked up six 3 star recruits and a 4 star. Combined with what Stoops and recruiting juggernaut Vince Marrow had already accomplished, we are ahead of Arkansas, Louisville, Virginia Tech and several other well-known “football schools” in the 2017 class rankings.
With a great class coming in, a corps of running backs that every team in the nation would fear, an offensive line that even looked good against Alabama, and a major bowl game against Georgia Tech on New Year’s Eve to give some national attention to our potential recruits, Mark Stoops and Eddie Gran have the Cats positioned for long-term greatness. Now let’s beat the Yellow Jackets!