Want to know how Kentucky got things turned around?
All you have to do is look north, Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said Monday during his media availability to preview the Bulldogs’ game with UK on Saturday.
“What Mark’s done is make great headway into Ohio into the north,” the Bulldogs’ coach noted of Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops, an Ohio native, along with UK’s top recruiter, Vince Marrow. “When you think about the players on that roster from that state, it’s amazing.”
There are 27 players from Ohio on the Cats’ roster and many of them are play-makers for Kentucky this season.
Seven of UK’s top 18 tacklers are from Ohio, including three of the top five in safety Darius West (58), linebacker Jordan Jones (46) and safety Mike Edwards (46).
Other top defensive players from the Buckeye State include Phil Hoskins, Kordell Looney, Chris Oats and Tymere Dubose.
Many of Kentucky’s weapons on offense also are from Ohio, leading the way with star running back Benny Snell.
The Cats’ leading wide receiver, Lynn Bowden, is from the Youngstown area. In fact, all four of the Cats’ double-digit pass catchers this season are from Ohio in Bowden, Snell, tight end C.J. Conrad and wide receiver Dorian Baker.
Other things Smart noted about UK’s turnaround included the university’s commitment to football and the players’ obvious commitment to each other.
“Selling out for the program and the team is important,” Smart said. “The best teams I’ve been around care about the team. And that’s what (Stoops has) got going right now.”