In a matter of days, Kentucky saw nearly a quarter of its 2015 signing class go in a different direction, which left Cats coaches going in 100 different directions.
Places like Auburn and Michigan State swooped in and left what Rivals.com called a "Signing Day bruise" on Mark Stoops and staff.
In late-night phone calls and previously unscheduled trips in the days leading up to National Signing Day, Kentucky was able to recover enough to land the 35th best class in the nation.
But the commitment carousel was enough to make Stoops' head spin and again call for an early signing period for college football.
"My personal thought is it makes no sense not to," the Kentucky coach said on Wednesday. "We recruit these guys for over a year, year and a half, two years. Whatever it may be. And if they give us their word and want to come to Kentucky, then give them the scholarship and let them sign it, and that protects both them and you."
It's a thought that Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart drove home again two days later, noting that it's against what many in the Southeastern Conference want, but he believes having an early signing period for college football is necessary.
"There's two signing periods in almost every other sports out there, maybe with the exception of soccer," Barnhart told the Herald-Leader on Friday. "Everyone else can sign a couple times a year, windows where you can do something.
"Kids that have made their decisions and don't want to continue to be called and they're ready to make a decision to go on, should be able to do that and be done."
An early signing period was recommended by a national committee in January, suggesting a 72-hour window that would begin the third Wednesday of December, similar to the timeframe for junior college players to sign with schools.
An association made up of the commissioners of the 32 Division I conferences will vote on an early football signing period in June.
It's not clear how the SEC will vote, though, with Barnhart noting that the push for an early signing period is not big in the conference. He said there are four or five schools in the league that are for it while the rest are not.
"If I'm sitting in some of the schools that are traditionally powerful, I'd like the ability after my bowl game is over to sit here and say, 'I didn't get this person, so I'm going to go take that one from this school. That's the best player they've got and I didn't offer him early on,'" Barnhart said, noting that it's something Kentucky similarly could do in basketball.
Both the UK coach and AD noted that many schools like the traditional timeline, which allows more time for coaches to meet with prospects on campus once the grind of the season winds down.
"We all are a little bit hesitant about hosting official visits all fall because we're busy enough with games, and then you take on — I don't know if you do the families justice a lot of times because we don't have the time to spend with them, and a lot of people are opposed to that," Stoops said.
But he noted that plenty of players already make visits in season and are accommodated effectively.
To arguments that an early signing period would change the recruiting cycle, Barnhart said: "Well, welcome to the world.
"Just because we've done it like this for 25 years, doesn't mean we have to keep doing it this way for 25 more. It would give some balance to people who have worked hard in recruiting."
The amount of money and time wasted flying around the country piecing a recruiting class back together in the final days is a waste, both Stoops and Barnhart argued.
"They have our word that I'm going to give them a scholarship, and it would certainly save the university an awful lot of money, and it would save our coaches an awful lot of time," Stoops said.
And while Barnhart said he was pleased with the end result of this class, saying the staff "closed well," he wondered what the class might have looked like had players been allowed to sign early.
It's frustrating for all involved, UK recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow said on Wednesday.
"You know, you do a lot of work for these guys and you hold scholarships," he said. "When we get commitments, we hold them, and we don't recruit other people at that position."
The renovation schedule around Commonwealth Stadium is about as on schedule as a project of that size and scope ($120 million), Barnhart told the Herald-Leader.
"I'm not foolish enough to believe that on the night before the first game there isn't going to be massive, massive activity in the building," he said. "There will be. I think they're doing a lot and working really hard at it and they seem to be in a good spot."
The AD tours the facility every two weeks or so and said there's been "significant progress" made.
"It's exciting to watch it change every day," he said.
■ Ever built or redecorated a house? There are tons of small design decisions that go into it from fixtures to paint colors. Now imagine redecorating a $120,000 stadium and new turf field with a handful of your closest colleagues.
"We've got a lot of little decisions still," Barnhart said when asked about turf designs and goal-post changes to expect.
UK looked at altering the current collapsible goalposts and potentially changing them to the more old-school "H" look so the team could run through them instead of around them when they enter the field. For safety reasons, though, the goal posts likely won't change.
As for turf designs and decorations, those are currently in the hands of Stoops.
"Mark's having some final looks at what the field will look like," Barnhart said. "We'll go through that. I've had some looks at it and made some suggestions to it."
Without giving away any of the final decisions, Barnhart said there is a common thread running throughout the renovations.
"What we've come to do in our facilities is a pretty clean look that is a little edgy, that's got an element of cool to it," he said. "Hopefully we've done that. There's a bit of a traditional piece to it that I want to keep. I want to incorporate all of those things."
■ There wasn't a big blue ribbon-cutting ceremony, no pomp and circumstance at all, but construction of Kentucky's new practice facility has indeed begun.
Barnhart was at a meeting in Indianapolis when Senior Associate Athletics Director Russ Pear sent him a text of a bulldozer with a fence around it and the words: "Here we go."
"So we're off and running with that," Barnhart laughed. The $45 million facility is expected to be finished in early 2016.
Some ticket numbers
As of Friday, Kentucky had 37,109 tickets selected and reserved for the newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium, and the ticket office put out a link to look at where some of the best seats are still available for fans to select.
The tickets seem to be selling at a higher pace than in recent seasons. For instance, in July of last year, UK reported it had sold 38,024 tickets. In the summer of 2013, UK reported 37,901 season tickets sold.
In the final season under Joker Phillips, UK reported 38,655 tickets sold by the start of the season.
There is usually a late surge of season ticket purchasers, including students once they return to campus in early August, officials have noted in the past.
The new Commonwealth Stadium is expected to hold roughly 61,000, a decrease of about 6,000 seats. The student section, surrounding the multi-purpose recruiting room, is expected to be reduced to about 4,000-5,000 seats and will hold the UK band as well.
Kentucky averaged 57,572 fans in its seven home games last season, with a season high of 64,791 against then-No. 1 Mississippi State.