By LARRY VAUGHT
During the NCAA Softball Regional hosted by Kentucky, I had a chance to ask UK football recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow why he never burnt bridges with players he recruited who decided to play for another school.
“When you are recruiting, it’s not quite family but you are recruiting their sons. If they go somewhere else you want to wish the best for them and see them do well,” Marrow told me.
“I think they realize when they go other places, especially if it might be a last-minute decision, that we have a family atmosphere here and they love coach (Mark) Stoops and we won’t forget them.”
That paid off when Florida State transfer Xavier Peters of Ohio picked UK. He was a one-time UK commit but Marrow never forgot about him.
On Monday, Kentucky didn’t get one, but two, commitments from players who had de-committed from other schools. First it was four-star receiver Kalil Branham of Ohio, a one-time Michigan commit. Next came a commitment from Miami defensive end Samuel Anaele, a one-time Miami commit.
Branham is a top 400 recruit nationally. Anaele, a four-star player, is a top 100 recruit and the second highest rated player in UK’s 2020 recruiting class behind Michigan lineman Justin Rogers. Anaele is ranked as the 22nd best player in Florida by Rivals.com and is also the first defensive end commit in the 2020 class.
He picked UK about 24 hours after his recommitment from Miami. He had made an official visit to UK in early June.
How good is Anaele? He had offers from Auburn and Florida among others, including Miami obviously.
The commitments from Branham and Anaele have moved UK’s class into the top 20 nationally with five four-star players and had Stoops feeling good.
“Nothing like a hot July double YAHTZEE!!!” Stoops posted on Twitter.