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Kentucky Football: Stoops Pulls a Coup, Lands 4-Star Mississippi JUCO DE

Mark Stoops & Co. have pulled off their first recruiting coup in his short tenure, flipping a 4-star JUCO defensive end who didn't even have UK on his list.


Okay, this is how you start your tenure at Kentucky with a bang.

In what is being described as a signing day shocker, Mark Stoops and his staff have convinced 4-star standout defensive end Za'Darius Smith to matriculate to Kentucky from East Mississippi Community College. Wescott Eberts of SBNation has the details:

In recent days, conventional wisdom held that four-star East Mississippi CC defensive end Za'Darius Smith was down to Mississippi State and Texas A&M, with Texas having an extreme outside shot of landing his services. Instead, Smith opted to sign with Kentucky on Wednesday, giving new head coach Mark Stoops the most significant recruiting coup of his short tenure.

This is on top of another highly-touted JUCO, Steven Borden, son of professional wrestler Steve Borden, AKA "Sting."

This is a pretty big pair of pickups for Stoops, considering his very short tenure as Kentucky head coach. Jennifer Smith of the Herald-Leader has more:

“I know this staff,” Smith said at his Wednesday news conference, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “I just feel comfortable here. Coach Stoops is a defensive man. (Brumbaugh) coached me for a year and he got me where I need to be, as in all the SEC and ACC offers. I can continue that and just go on to bigger and better places with him.”

"Brumbaugh" is newly-hired UK assistant Jimmy Brumbaugh, who coached Smith for one year and recently signed on as the UK defensive line coach.

Steve Jones at the Courier-Journal also has more on the news.