We’re in a rare situation in Lexington. It is currently the end of July and more people are excited about football than ever before, in fact no one even cares about the thought of N’Faly Dante joining the Basketball Team but who blames them? There is so much build up around the football program, even with the injury to Davonte Robinson. Kentucky Football is a next man up program and good thing there are tons of four stars backing up Robinson. But all of this is due to one man and his intentions on forever (Mark)ing his legacy in Lexington.
If you would have told me that Kentucky Football was beating LSU, Alabama, Michigan, and even Louisville in recruiting, I would not believe you, not at all. But it’s a different feel in Lexington these days and that is mainly due to Vince Marrow and Mark Stoops. In November 2012, Mark Stoops took over the program and it started off very rocky. In his first year he went 2-10 and then followed it up with two straight 5-7 seasons, barely missing bowl season. Everyone was calling for Mark’s head, including myself but I am forever thankful that Mitch trusts himself more so than the passionate Big Blue Nation.
After his first three years of going a combined 12-24, he started his 2016 season with another disappointing 0-2 before he turned it around. He finished up going up 7-5 defeating Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals in the best way possible. This was followed by another 7-6 season due to another bowl loss and we all know what happened this past season, 10-3 with a Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State. Stoops has given Kentucky fans a wild ride, but the actual ride is only beginning.
Last year put Kentucky Football on the map. A team that was never expected to win more than 6 games ended up being the team that beat the streak, demolished Louisville, and posted a 5-3 record in the SEC. Josh Allen led the way and became the eleventh top 10 pick in program history and the 17th first rounder. He is the highest Wildcat drafted since Dewayne Robertson in 2003 when he was selected 4th by the Jets. Benny Snell also changed the program, becoming the all time leading rusher as well as posting highs that haven’t been accomplished in so long at Kentucky. Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow have built on all their success. When looking at Allen, the 2 star recruit out of high school, helps Kentucky’s recruiting game more than anyone. Marrow and Stoops built him into a top 10 pick after being a 2 star and it shows the tide is turning at Kentucky.
Kentucky is changing, folks. It is no longer only a basketball school and a big thanks goes to Mark and Vince. With the growth, comes the disrespect which many analyst have already brought on. Not predicting a bowl game, not thinking they’ll get over 6 wins, ranking Terry the worst in the SEC, etc. This only builds the passion of the team. Their feeding this team with tons of bulletin board material as they prepare to shock the world even more. As Michael Jordan once said, “the ceiling is the roof.”