Vince Marrow's Twitter game
[February 9th Update 9pm: I was informed by someone associated with UK tonight that Vince Marrow was actually corresponding to a 2016 recruit, and not Shaun Crawford as my original post stated. That was a screw-up on my part, and I apologize for publishing bad info. I'm further told that Crawford got a screenshot from that conversation, and then did what he did for whatever reason. From there, Marrow's comment was taken out of context by all.
Bless the souls of those who work in and cover recruiting. It's moments like this that make me love my day job.]
On Sunday, a high school teammate of erstwhile Kentucky commits Alex Stumps, Andrew Dowell, and David Dowell tweeted the following private correspondence between himself and Vince Marrow presumably in the month of January:
Follow the link if you'd like to see the responses from the wise sages of Twitter. The "lol" at the end of the statement appears to indicate that Marrow is not being serious. He obviously thought those players weren't afraid to play in the SEC since he spent so much time and effort recruiting them. Nonetheless, Marrow should know better. The timing of his statement has the ring of sour grapes. Furthermore, Shaun Crawford had been a Notre Dame commit since last summer, to think UK could land him just shy of NSD could only be categorized as a "reach" if one is feeling charitable.
The predictable thing about teenagers is that they are often unpredictable, and recruiting coordinators should be aware of their mercurial nature. If you're going to negatively recruit - or even if it could come across as such - do not leave a paper trail. Marrow's attempt at damage control suggests his own acknowledgement that he could have handled things better. There are many high schools in Ohio (St. Edward's is one) that annually produce FBS talent of and UK needs to stay on good terms with them.
Jokingly saying Ohio recruits are scared of the SEC is not a good look when UK continues to rely on the state's talent. More so when you are jokingly making the statement about your former commits to one of their high school teammates you have 0.5% chance of landing. Finally, you should know better on social media when one of your own players publicly aired private messages two years ago.
New coach Andy Buh and impact on the defense and special teams
Last week UK announced the hiring of Andy Buh to replace former assistant Craig Naivar. Buh's last coaching stop was Cal, but before then he was at Wisconsin and Nevada (full bio here). Stoops made the comment that Buh would coach outside linebackers which cements the 3-4 being UK's primary front going forward.
I've often wondered which assistant coach was responsible for UK's outside linebackers and had several other questions. Did DJ Elliot coach Jason Hatcher, Bud Dupree, and Jabari Johnson since he's the linebacker coach? Perhaps it was Jimmy Brumbaugh since UK's OLB's play like 4-3 defensive ends in passing situations? Both? The technique for OLB's can be very different than that of defensive tackles or even inside linebackers, so were resources being pulled in too many directions? Could that have contributed negatively to player development at the position outside of a freak like Bud Dupree?
Buh's arrival gives this position their own dedicated assistant coach with a long experience coaching linebackers and hopefully that pays off in player development. The fact he was hired as an outside linebackers coach and not a secondary coach makes my previous question perhaps have more credence than I had originally considered. Stoops mentioned he wanted another defensive-minded coach in the office to help with game-planning. This follows his pattern of hiring Bradley Dale Peveto and Craig Naivar.
The result of Buh's hire is there will be no dedicated special teams coach. Instead, the assistant coaches will split up special teams duties between them. There are some natural connections - running backs coach Chad Scott would work with the kick and punt returners, and defensive coaches would work on coverage units - but I'm a bit hesitant to embrace this move. A cursory search through SEC, ACC, and PAC12 coaching staffs did not provide another team that doesn't have a dedicated special teams coach, and who also fielded a Top 40 F+ special teams unit.
Punter Landon Foster will be a four year starter, and Austin MacGinnis is a fine young kicker, but will they, and the rest of the specialists, get the level of attention required to develop as the season progresses? UK will be in some close games next year that could determine a lot about the season. The kicking game, and the rest of special teams, will be very important on those nights.
2016 Class adds it's 7th commitment - Kayaune Ross
Lost amid all the NSD news last Wednesday, JUCO receiver Kayaune Ross committed to UK for the 2016 Class, per Scout's Patrick Loney. Ross went to the same Cincinnati high school as Mikel Horton, Larry Meadows, and George Asafo-Adjei. The 2016 Class is quietly coming together and could be Stoops best yet. Here are his highlights:
Presumably, the 6'6'' Ross will be a December enrollee given the timing of his public commitment. In the past two cycles UK has pulled offers to at least two JUCO commitments who could not get their academic house in order for spring enrollment. JUCO's land on campus with a compressed eligibility, and if they don't arrive on campus until August they usually won't be effective for half of their time in Lexington. UK will continue to target HS receivers in this class which puts even more pressure on Ross to be on campus by next spring.
538 talks recruiting
538.com had this interesting post about NSD last week. It gives an idea which teams underperformed or overperformed on the field relative to their recruiting rankings. Predictably, UK underachieved this year given last year's signing class, but what their model doesn't take into account is the 2-3 lag time between landing a football recruit and developing him. Those results probably would have been a bit more interesting (i.e. UK's 2012 recruiting rankings compared to 2015 record would likely have UK overachieving). The ten year run shows UK has slightly underachieved, and that number would probably be far lower without the latter Brooks years.