BOZICH: Football Magazines Position Kentucky, Stoops To Overachieve
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – At least three of the primary college football pre-season magazines have arrived, and the predictions for the University of Kentucky are consistent. The Wildcats are picked to finish last in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference by Athlon, The Sporting News and Lindy's.
That's not surprising. But it's also not entirely a bad thing. It puts coach Mark Stoops is prime position to create some buzz and stir publicity by overachieving if the Wildcats can topple either Missouri or Tennessee, two SEC opponents scheduled to play in Commonwealth Stadium.
Here is a rundown on what the three magazines are saying about Kentucky
SEC RANKING: Wildcats are predicted to finish seventh in the SEC East, behind Missouri (6) and Tennessee (5). That's right. Vanderbilt is the pick for fourth place. In fact, Vandy is ranked the 28th best team in America. Vandy!
SEC HONORS: One UK player is ranked on the top two offensive and defensive units – defensive end Bud Dupree, a second-teamer.
RECRUITING: Mark Stoops' first class is ranked 13th in the league, ahead of Missouri. Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher is ranked the top recruit in the class.
OVERALL RANKING: The Wildcats check in at No. 65, behind San Diego State but ahead of Louisiana-Lafayette.
RATING THE NEW COACHES: Athlon ranked the 31 coaches hired in FBS after last season. They ranked the Wildcats' hiring of Mark Stoops at 14, just behind Darrell Hazell (13) of Purdue but ahead of Mark Helfrich of Oregon (17) and Paul Petrino of Idaho (26).
They give the hiring at B-plus, saying Stoops was as deserving any coordinator in the nation to ascend to a head coaching position.
SEC RANKING: The Wildcats are picked seventh in the SEC East, behind Missouri (6) and Tennessee (5). Another vote for Vandy to finish fourth. Vandy!!
SEC HONORS: TSN only picked an SEC first team and no UK players were honored.
RANKING THE COACHES: TSN ranked only the 16 coaches hired by BCS programs – and Mark Stoops ranked 13th, just behind Hazell. He finished ahead of Steve Addazio of Boston College, Scott Shafer of Syracuse and Cincinnati's hiring of Tommy Tuberville. Helfrich of Oregon led the list.
TSN's take on Stoops: "As we learned with Mike Stoops at Arizona, there's no magic in this particular name."
RECRUITING: Kentucky's class is ranked 13th, ahead of Missouri. Defensive end Za'Darius Smith is ranked ahead of Ryan Timmons of Franklin County as the Wildcats' top recruit.
SEC RANKING: The Wildcats are picked seventh in the East, behind Missouri (6), Tennessee (5) and Vanderbilt (4). Vandy is ranked 32nd in the nation. VANDY!!!
NATIONAL RANKING: The Wildcats check in at 88th, behind Illinois (87), but ahead of Western Kentucky (91).
EMERGING STAR: They go with Jalen Whitlow, naming him Kentucky's quarterback over Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles because of Whitlow's performance in the spring game.
RATING THE NEW COACHES: Lindy's doesn't grade every hire but does try to analyze the new arrivals. Here is one thing they said about Mark Stoops:
"Stoops did some impressive work on the recruiting trail, but he still faces the toughest part of the job: winning in the SEC."
SEC HONORS: Lindy's picked the best players in the league three deep at every position. These are the UK guys who made the lists: linebacker Avery Williamson, second team and defensive end Bud Dupree third team.
RECRUITING: The UK class is ranked 13th in the SEC, ahead of Missouri. Hatcher and Smith are ranked the top prospects with cornerback Jaleel Hytchye identified as a sleeper.
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