UK Recruiting

UK football gets commitment from No. 1 all-purpose RB

Mark Stoops was already enjoying an unprecedented run of recruiting during his first few months as Kentucky's football coach.

On Thursday, Stoops lowered the boom in a big way.

Stanley "Boom" Williams — the No. 1-ranked all-purpose running back in the class of 2014 — committed to the Wildcats during an on-campus visit. national analyst Mike Farrell called Williams one of the "fastest, most electric" players in the entire class.

"He's a great all-purpose back — tops in the country," Farrell told the Herald-Leader. "He's a really good receiver out of the backfield and also a guy who you can line up in the slot.

"He's a dynamic playmaker. He's the type of guy who can take a 3-yard hitch and take it all the way ... When he wants to be great, he can be absolutely untouchable."

Williams is the fifth four-star prospect to pick Kentucky, which moved to No. 3 in the Rivals team rankings with his commitment. Only Southeastern Conference foes Texas A&M and Tennessee have higher-ranked classes at this stage in the 2014 recruiting calendar.

Rivals considers Williams the No. 1 all-purpose back and No. 96 overall recruit in the class. UK also has commitments from four other players in the Rivals 250: Quarterback Drew Barker (117th), running back Mikel Horton (131st), safety Darius West (185th) and wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass (205th).

The Wildcats have never had that many four-star prospects or Rivals 250 players in one class.

Counting three late commitments last winter, Stoops has now successfully recruited eight Rivals four-star players in less than seven months on the job. That's just one fewer than Rich Brooks, who had nine such commitments in seven seasons as head coach. Joker Phillips got three four-star commitments in three seasons.

Williams, a native of Bethlehem, Ga., is UK's 16th commitment for 2014.

The 5-foot-8, 186-pound running back has a sub-4.4 time in the 40-yard dash and ran for 1,958 yards and 24 touchdowns last season for George Walton Academy in Monroe, Ga.

He was once committed to the University of Georgia and chose Kentucky over Clemson and West Virginia.

Williams' commitment drew an immediate reaction from across the UK athletics Twitterverse on Thursday.

New wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord has become known for tweeting "Yahtzee!" whenever the Cats land a commitment. That trend has caught on with other coaches and administrators.

"Yahtzee!!! BBN can I get a Yahtzee," Stoops tweeted following Williams' commitment.

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and men's basketball coach John Calipari were among the others who responded by sending out tweets that mentioned the popular children's dice game.

Calipari has had no equal on the recruiting trail since taking over the basketball program in 2009, but UK fans are unaccustomed to such success with high-profile football prospects.

Stoops' run is unlikely to end any time soon.

The UK coach is expected to add 10 or so more prospects to his 2014 haul, and there could be more four-star commitments in the program's immediate future.

The Cats are in the mix for a slew of four-star wide receivers — an important position in coordinator Neal Brown's new offense. Texas native T.V. Williams, a three-star receiver who was among the many players UK has hosted this week, is expected to announce a commitment in the coming days, and the Cats are considered a favorite.

"Kentucky needs playmakers now," Farrell said. "The best players are going to play, and it doesn't matter what year they're in. And a lot of these guys are talented enough, I believe, to make an immediate impact."

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