The University of Kentucky made it official Monday: recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow will return to the football program after turning down an offer to join the coaching staff at Michigan.
UK Coach Mark Stoops said in a statement that he was excited about Marrow's contract extension, which runs through June 2018.
Marrow previously signed a deal with UK last January that paid him $275,000 a year and lasted through June 2016. Terms of his new deal were not disclosed Monday.
"Our program is headed in the right direction on and off the field with the new facilities and overwhelming support of the BBN," Marrow said through UK. "I'm excited to be part of it as we continue moving forward."
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Stoops made it clear when he took the head coaching position that the Cats would mine talent-rich Ohio — his home state — for top-level prospects. He tasked Marrow, a longtime friend and fellow Youngstown native, with getting the job done, and those expectations have been more than met in the two-plus years since.
Marrow has been responsible for 21 commitments from Ohio in the past three recruiting classes, and he's still working on a handful of targets for 2015. He also was instrumental in the addition of transfers Braylon Heard, Greg Hart and Courtney Love — all Ohio natives.
UK brought in just six Ohioans in the program's previous five recruiting classes combined.
Of the 18 four-star players — according to the Rivals.com rankings — to commit to UK under Stoops, nine have been Ohio prospects Marrow delivered to Lexington.
Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmholdt specializes in Ohio recruiting and said he wasn't surprised Marrow elected to stay at UK despite overtures from new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
"It may have just come down to a comfort factor," Helmholdt told the Herald-Leader. "There's no doubt he has a good thing going at UK, so it would take quite a bit for him to leave that. And without a previous relationship with Harbaugh, it doesn't shock me (that he stayed)."
The simple act of staying put could pay dividends for UK's future recruiting efforts in Ohio, Helmholdt said.
"What a lot of these recruits look at is whether the coach who recruited me — or will be coaching my position — is going to be around for my four years," he said. "And I think this will be something that Marrow can point to and say, 'Look, I had the opportunity to join Jim Harbaugh's staff at Michigan and I turned it down to stay here. So you know I'm going to be around.'
"I think that will only help him attract more players to Lexington."
Attracting top talent hasn't been a problem for Marrow, but the potential of those recruits has yet to be realized on the field.
Some of those players — like Dorian Baker and Marcus McWilson — have made contributions, but many others have been redshirted or aren't even on campus.
The Cats lost six straight games to end this past season and fell one victory short of snapping their bowl drought, but Helmholdt points out that the Cats have made progress under this coaching staff.
And that means the Kentucky "brand" is still strong.
"I think Kentucky is definitely still seen as a program on the rise, because a lot of their top talent is young talent," Helmholdt said. "The expectation wasn't that they were going to win the SEC in 2014. Everybody knew that it was going to take a couple of years for this top talent to assert themselves on the depth chart and develop into SEC players."
While Marrow's decision to stay in Lexington is huge for UK's recruiting efforts in Ohio, things will likely be tougher moving forward because of the man who tried to lure him away.
Harbaugh brings immediate star power to a job that is already regarded as one of the best in the country, and Michigan has long had success recruiting the state of Ohio.
Helmholdt said the Wolverines' on-field success would obviously dictate just how well they recruit in Ohio and elsewhere over the next few years, but the hire should pay off immediately.
"Harbaugh is going to attract recruits simply because of his name," he said. "Because he played and coached in the NFL, which is what all these guys aspire to be. And that's going to be a positive recruiting tool for him and Michigan.
"They've always recruited the state of Ohio well. It's always been key to their success in recruiting. And I expect them to continue that and probably accelerate that under Harbaugh, especially in the short term."
Helmholdt did note that Harbaugh has never been in a recruiting situation quite like the one he'll find in Ann Arbor.
His first college coaching job, at San Diego, did not offer full scholarships. His second, at Stanford, was unique because of the stringent admission requirements.
From a prestige standpoint, Harbaugh was mentioned in the same sentence as Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer when he was hired.
Helmholdt said recruits do consider Harbaugh in the same tier as those coaches.
"It will be a different ballgame for him," he said. "Whether he will be as dynamic a recruiter as a Meyer or a Saban remains to be seen."