Generally the period following signing day is a pretty quiet time. However it has been anything but for the Kentucky Wildcats. From coaching changes to NFL Draft talk there is a lot going on in Lexington. Let’s discuss all of it with the Kentucky football update following National Signing Day.
Kentucky Football Update Following National Signing Day
Matt House Leaves For The NFL
For a long time it seemed liked 2019 would be the first year with no movement on Mark Stoops’ staff. However, that quickly changed and most of the conversation centered on his defensive coordinator. After Stoops said he fielded questions concerning one of his assistants from the NFL word spread quickly it was Matt House.
Originally, House said no to Kansas City to remain at Kentucky. The sticking point became the $150,000 buyout clause in his deal. However after a couple of days the Chiefs agreed to pay the money and House was off to join Andy Reid’s staff. In his position as linebackers coach he reunites with Steve Spagnuolo, whom he coached with with the St. Louis Rams from 2009-2011.
A Big Addition To The Coaching Staff
It didn’t take Stoops long to find a replacement on the coaching staff. Late Tuesday evening word broke former Cat Jon Sumrall is leaving Ole Miss to coach the inside linebackers. His hiring now paves the way for Brad White to move into House’s job as defensive coordinator.
— Chase Parham (@RivalsChase) February 19, 2019
A three year player at linebacker, Sumrall led the Cats with 72 tackles during the 2004 season. Prior to his stay in Oxford Sumrall spent three years with Neal Brown at Troy coaching linebackers and special teams. During that time they finished in the Top 25 nationally in defense.
In his only season with Ole Miss, Sumrall gained a reputation as an excellent recruiter. The Rebels 2019 class ranks 22nd in the nation. In addition he was responsible for five of the recruits.
From a recruiting standpoint this hire is big-time hire. Sumrall is a really good recruiter and if you go by 247 Sports top recruiters Sumrall would be the 2nd highest-rated recruiter on Kentucky’s staff right now.
— Patrick Loney (@PatrickLoney) February 19, 2019
Vince Marrow Is Sticking Around
While one coach is leaving and another is coming home a third is staying in Lexington for a while. As first reported by Football Scoop recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach Vince Marrow is getting promotion and a raise. Not only will be become Associate Head Coach he’s getting a three year deal worth 650,000 annually.
The importance of Marrow to what Stoops has accomplished so far in Lexington can not be stated enough. As recruiting coordinator Marrow has been instrumental in bringing in a number of top players to Kentucky.
Now that you’re caught up on all the coaching changes let’s look at a player returning for next season at a real position of need.
Depth At The Quarterback Position
While recently speaking with reporters Stoops announced possibly the biggest “recruit” for 2019. He said he talked with backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak and expects him to stay in Lexington. Stoops told reporters “from the meetings we’ve had he’s only worried about getting better and working hard and having a great winter and spring.”
That’s huge news for the Cats since Hoak is the only player at the marquee position besides Terry Wilson with any experience. Kentucky’s other quarterback is Walker Wood, a Lexington Lafayette product who has never seen game action.
In addition the Cats signed two signal callers in December Amani Gilmore and Nik Scalzo. However Scalzo tore his ACL and more than likely won’t play at all in 2019. The senior to be is graduating in the spring which means he could transfer anywhere and be able to play immediately.
Hoak’s decision to stay makes the most sense. He already knows offensive coordinator Eddie Gran’s system and let’s face it he’s a turned ankle from being the starter. Besides anything can happen in competition during spring practice.
A Huge Day For The Football Program
As we continue with the Kentucky football update following National Signing Day let’s end with a major positive. Out of the 338 invitations announced for the 2019 NFL Combine the Wildcats had eight. Not only is that the most in school history but ranked third in the SEC.
Recruit and Develop! pic.twitter.com/q4jFwMJYbv
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) February 9, 2019
Josh Allen, Derrick Baity, C.J. Conrad, Mike Edwards, Lonnie Johnson, Jordan Jones, Benny Snell and Chris Westry now get a chance to show NFL scouts what they can do. Allen is a consensus top three pick while Johnson is now projected in the first round based on his strong showing at the Senior Bowl.
Should both Cats go that early it will be the first time since 1977 two Kentucky players went in the first round. Offensive tackle Warren Bryant was drafted sixth by the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Randy Burke went 26th to the Baltimore Colts.
Overall Kentucky has a real chance to break the school record of nine players drafted in 1951. That of course followed the National Championship team of 1950. The Cats look to make a huge splash in Nashville after having no players selected in the previous two drafts.
Thanks for checking out our Kentucky football update following National Signing Day here at Last Word On College Football. Keep checking back as we have some really cool things planned for the upcoming weeks.