I was reminded today of a conversation several years ago with a younger partner at the large law firm where I used to work. As a lowly associate, I wondered why there was palpable angst among a group of people who all made such a good living. I've never forgotten his response. "If all I knew was what I made, I'd be very happy with it. But I have the curse of knowing what everyone else makes too." As I later learned myself, the fact that you are on a great totem pole isn't necessarily comforting when you are at the bottom.
That pretty much encapsulates my feeling on National Signing Day. First off, the Cats had a great day today, with things breaking about as well as could be expected. Kentucky held on to everyone it had locked down and pulled a couple of last minute coups. Joker and his staff did an excellent job this offseason, especially considering that the season didn't go as we'd all hoped. Still, this year's class puts us once again at or near the bottom of the SEC.
First, lets take a look at how things unfolded. Last night ESPN reported, and today it was confirmed, that Pratville, AL QB Jalen Whitlow would change his commitment from Arkansas State to the Cats. As expected, Ft. Thomas Highlands QB Patrick Towles signed on the dotted line. In fact, his was the first LOI Joker received this morning. In fact, all in state players who'd previously committed, including big DT Thomas Chapman from Louisville Manual, followed suit. Things got even better as the morning continued.The late signee Kentucky most coveted, LB Khalid Henderson from Austell, Ga picked the Cats over Ole Miss this morning. Henderson was rated four stars by Scout, and for reasons hard to divine, was cast aside by Tennessee in January. Likewise, Kentucky landed Atlanta RB Justin Taylor, who recently reopened his recruiting after being asked to greyshirt by Alabama. With no defections, Kentucky was able to round out its class and get a full compliment of 25 signees by adding Sterling Wright, a DB from Charlotte who signed committed to Jacksonville State in 2011 before deciding to spend a year in prep school.
Twins Daron and Zach Blalock (Mookie's kids) who I saw during Pigskinapalooza 2011 remained committed and signed on as well. This was key for more reasons than just my vested interest of having travelled to see them. Zach had a monster senior year, and was on the radar of a number of higher profile teams. Ultimately, the vultures did not have their day. Truth be told, it was that kind of day for Kentucky. Certainly something to feel good about.
Of course, college recruiting being the phenomena that it is, and this being the Internet age, everyone and their brother has now had a say in how the Wildcats class stacked up. When viewed through the prism of the entire SEC, the picture becomes less flattering. Kentucky got the highest marks from Scout, who anointed the class #31 in the nation. Of course, #31 overall was only good for eleventh best in the conference. Other assessments were worse. Rivals puts us outside the Top 50, and dead last in the SEC. Likewise, 247 ranked the class 53rd, which again left us wearing the SEC collar.
Other than making snails taste delicious and kissing infinitely more fun, the French haven't done much for me. But there is a French saying I really dig. It is plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Translated, "the more that things change, the more they stay the same." It's hard not to feel that way when looking at these rankings. My advice, though, is don't get too caught up in it. While this class isn't transcendent, it is competitive. Given the year we had, filling a class with three star players and picking up some key pieces late in the game is all we could ask from this coaching staff.