LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) --- It was a snow day last Tuesday for offensive lineman Jervontius "Bunchy" Stallings in Hoover, Alabama, but that didn't stop Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown and offensive line coach John Schlarman from getting to Spain Park High School, where they were supposed to meet Stallings. Nothing could stop them.
Not even what Alabama residents were calling the "Snowpocalypse".
"I think they were in the car for four or five hours and went three miles," said Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops Wednesday, National Signing Day in college football. "They parked their car and walked the last mile to the school."
"It got to the point where the road was closed," said Brown, recalling what he described as the best/worst recruiting story of his career (depending how you look at it). "We were either going to sit in the car or walk to the school, and we walked to the school."
That's where Jeff Sentell of AL.com picks up the story:
(Brown and Schlarman) visited with (Stallings) until 4 a.m. with the rest of the temporary snowed-in citizens of his high school...the events of so-called Birmingham "Snowpacalyse" caused approximately 500 students to spend Tuesday night at Spain Park High School because of impassable road conditions. There were 800 students stranded at Spain Park at one point Tuesday afternoon.
At this point, the story is good enough to be in the handbook of every college football recruiter (or United States postal worker) in the country. But wait, there's more…
"...then they got locked down in the school for the night. So they slept in the school," said Stoops.
THEY DID WHAT?!
"We slept on the training table there for about three or four hours," Brown recalled. "We had to report it to the NCAA, because you can't go (recruit) into two different days. Since the SEC got stuck in their offices (because of the ice storm), we got okayed."
"I got up at 4 o' clock and hauled those Kentucky coaches to their car and about got frostbite. It was unbelievably cold," said Spain Park head football coach Shawn Raney to AL.com last week.
It didn't take long after for Stallings to commit to Kentucky over Mississippi State. He did so hours after Brown and Schlarman made the trek back to their abandoned rental car.
"I'm proud to say that Kentucky was stuck in it with me a little bit," Stallings told AL.com. "That was a big part of my decision. I just felt real comfortable with them after they did something like that."
You hear a story like that before being told Kentucky's 2014 recruiting class is ranked in the top 20, and it probably wouldn't surprise you. But the reality is this is an unprecedented recruiting class for the Wildcats.
UK has never had a class ranked this highly by the recruiting websites (#20 by FoxSportsNext/Scout.com, #17 by Rivals.com, and #20 by ESPN.com).
The only question that remains is if Kentucky's new found success in football recruiting will translate into wins on the field. That's not a question that can be answered on National Signing Day.
But if the Wildcats do start winning again, it's recruiting stories like "Bunchy" Stallings' that people will look back on as to where the winning began during the Mark Stoops era.