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The Kentucky Wildcats have landed at least one impact defensive back every year under head coach Mark Stoops.
Throughout his coaching tenure at Miami, Arizona and Florida State, Stoops routinely landed talented DBs and developed them into future college and even NFL stars. The latest to follow in that lineage may very well be Jordan Griffin.
Once UK watched Griffin's National Letter of Intent roll in on National Signing Day, Stoops couldn't help but express his excitement.
"We could not be more excited about Jordan," said Stoops. "As we were on the phone with Jordan this morning, I heard his mother in the background and there were other SEC schools pulling at him all the way up to 7:10 a.m. this morning. It’s a big get. Derrick Ansley did a great job with him. He’s a big-time player."
A four-star cornerback out of Jonesboro High School in Georgia, Griffin originally committed to UK as a three-star prospect in most recruiting services back in 2014. However, Griffin would slowly gain national attention and would gain offers from the Auburn Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Ole Miss Rebels, Stanford Cardinal, Michigan State Spartans and national runner-up Clemson Tigers.
That's four teams that were just in BCS bowls and two in the College Football Playoff that offered Griffin, but UK was able to hold onto him.
"We feel like Jordan is definitely a guy that will come in and compete for playing time right away," Stoops said. "You need that competition. You need the depth. It’s been no secret, you’ve heard me talk about it, we haven’t played well enough in the secondary until this year. And I feel like we have a great nucleus. We do have good young guys.
"But Jordan is a guy I’m extremely excited about. This was a big win, and it can’t be overstated the battles that we went through to get this kid."
The highest rating Griffin received was a four-star rating from Rivals in addition to being their No. 15 cornerback prospect in the 2016 class. The other three major services had Griffin rated as a high three-star prospect.
As for his 2016 outlook, don't expect this freshman to be redshirting. Though UK finished the 2015 season with underclassman as the starting corners, their depth takes a big hit with Cody Quinn, A.J. Stamps and Fred Tiller graduating.
Quinn and Stamps were starters at different points in 2015, and losing them is going to leave a lot of defensive snaps up for grabs in 2016. That should put Griffin in position to not only play this year, but possibly compete for a starting spot as a true freshman.
The future is bright for Kentucky football, and it's because of bright young stars like Griffin that have this program poised to climb up the SEC ladder.