By LARRY VAUGHT
It has been about a month since the early signing period for college football and about another month before the second period opens.
With all the hype about Kentucky playing in the Citrus Bowl, Benny Snell chasing the all-time rushing record Josh Allen’s draft status and star recruit Wandale Robinson flipping from UK to Nebraska, there probably was not enough attention paid to the in-state recruiting success that Kentucky had, especially in Louisville.
“I just think our perception. I think we were pretty good in most of the state. Pretty much 85 percent of the state. Louisville was a different monster,” Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow said. “It was just a thing where I think Louisville just had a strong hold on a lot of the kids there, a lot of the inner-city kids.”
So how did Kentucky then manage to sign four players out of Louisville in December?
“Just came in with a message to say, ‘Hey, this state is pretty much 90 percent blue, Big Blue Nation.’ For some reason, it was like the kids there were 90 percent, but in that 10-15 percent was Louisville. We just said a different message and the success we were having on defense,” Marrow said.
“Three of the top linebackers we took out of there were top guys in the country. I think they saw success of our linebacker group. A lot of people don’t know that we’ve been pretty good in the NFL for the last couple of years with linebacker play. It was just getting these guys here to come play in the best conference in the country and come play with the best school in the state. It wasn’t a hard sell.”
Same with in-state recruiting for Marrow, who took over Kentucky from offensive line coach John Schlarman — who spent the season battling cancer.
“I’m always going to go where my boss (Mark Stoops) wants me to go. It was just a thing where we … Don’t take any credit away from John Schlarman. He really did a good job there, I just came in and just closed it out,” Marrow said.
“The way I recruit now was, like in Ohio, a lot of people were asking me in Ohio like, ‘What’s going on? Did we lose our power in Ohio?’ No. It was just we shifted emphasis into Louisville and the state of Kentucky.
“But the guys we got out of Ohio were top guys, too. I’m always going to fluctuate in between Ohio, Kentucky, and then some national guys. It’s just where I needed to go this year.”