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Neal Brown doesn’t take recruiting battles with UK, Vince Marrow “personal”

Reese Smith, left, turned down a chance to play at Kentucky to commit to West Virginia and coach Neal Brown.


As soon as former Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown got the head job at West Virginia I remember UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow tell me he would be “keeping an eye” on Brown not only when he tried to recruit Ohio but also when he came into the Bluegrass to recruit.

Brown is doing both just like Marrow predicted but so far has not made huge headway into either state and Brown knows why.

“Vince and that staff have done a good job recruiting. We are going to keep having some head-to-head battles,” Brown said. “You cannot take it personal. We are doing to continue Kentucky on a case by case basis.

“It’s not an area we are going to blanket but we’ve got two other coaches from Kentucky, so we are obviously going to try to come in and steal a few from Vince and Kentucky.”

More and more coaches are coming into Kentucky to recruit. But Brown doesn’t think that is all because of a huge upgrade in coaching or talent in Kentucky.

“I don’t know how much better the level of play or athletes are now than before,” Brown, a three-sport standout at Boyle County High School who was a UK walk-on receiver, said. “It’s more about access. It’s easier to travel and see players now, or was before this (COVID-19)

“I am just not sure the overall level of play or coaching is that much better because I think both have been good. It’s just easier to get to people. You have more access to video and communication is easier. Schools have bigger recruiting bases or have had. All that may change now with this pandemic.”


  1. Reese Smith was a tremendous get for West Virginia. He is a winner much like Randell Cobb or Lynn Bowden. I will be following him closely. I understand the High School connection.

  2. Maybe not now, but over time it could. We shall see.

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