The Kentucky Wildcats will be entering the 2022 season with high aspirations. Part of why they’ve had such success and have been able to build the premier football program in the Bluegrass State is Mark Stoops.
Stoops took over for Joker Phillips in 2013, following a two-win season the year prior. Stoops had a two-win season of his own but has since turned things around, winning four straight bowl games and taking the Cats to six in a row.
On top of that, Stoops has been a terrific recruiter, both on the recruiting trail and within the transfer portal. Bringing in Will Levis was a huge snag for Stoops, as Levis could become a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
With all that in mind, where does Stoops belong in the list of top coaches?
247 Sports’ Brad Crawford dove into a rankings of the top-25 coaches in America, where Stoops sits at No. 13. Here’s the excerpt on the standout coach.
“Possibly the most underrated coach in America, there’s a reason Stoops’ name was attached to the LSU vacancy in November, a few weeks prior to his Kentucky Wildcats winning their 10th game for the second time in four years — a feat that’s never been accomplished in Lexington prior to his arrival. He has always gotten the most out of his players and now, has strengthened Kentucky’s recruiting at a national level,” Crawford wrote.
Stoops was again mentioned when Crawford mentioned Kyle Whittingham, the No. 9-ranked head coach, who will lead Utah this season. Both are receiving some much-due praise.
Kentucky has the 14th-ranked recruiting class coming to Lexington this season, and that will add the expectations surrounding the program. Much of what’s happened in Lexington can be traced back to Stoops, and I expect him higher on this list next season.