By LARRY VAUGHT
Not long after Florida State fired head coach Willie Taggart the rumors started about the possibility of Mark Stoops being the next coach for the Seminoles.
Stoops is a former Florida State defensive coordinator and the success he’s had rebuilding Kentucky’s program certainly has attracted national attention. Stoops insisted Monday he was thinking only about Tennessee, UK’s opponent Saturday, and not Florida State.
But the speculation is there and with national signing day less than two months away, could the rumors impact UK recruiting in a negative way?
“It probably affects that a little bit more in that just what goes on in this world and this media with social media and all of that,” Stoops said. “I don’t mean to be so old that I can’t understand that but it’s just a little bit absurd how fast things go and people like to get out in front of their skis really far in that world. That just needs to be addressed but nothing we can’t handle.
“So, I think that’s a fair assessment, maybe with recruiting more so than anybody else, because I promise you the guys in our building, they’re not going to worry about anything except getting ready for Tennessee so all the folks that think it will be a distraction, I can promise you it won’t.”
But could it be a positive for recruiting? Think about it. Stoops’ name is being thrown around nationally and recruits will see the speculation. It’s not all bad having a coach that a big-name program like Florida State — and even when the Seminoles are struggling, the name recognition is still there — wants and potential UK recruits can see that.
Much better to have a coach others want because of his success than a coach no other big-time program has any interest in hiring.
Stoops thinks having more former UK players in the NFL will impact recruiting this year.
“It is very important. I think you know by the way we do things, we try to be very intentional. I think a lot of people talk about a lot of things,” Stoops said.
“We try to really show what we do and how we do things and the way we go about our business. When guys are going on and having success, I think it does nothing but help you.”