LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has consistently called each recruiting class his best ever, so declaring his latest group of signees even better shouldn't be shocking.
The 24 incoming Wildcats announced Wednesday are tasked with building on the program's 7-6 record - its highest win total since 2009 - and first bowl appearance since 2010. Most satisfying to Stoops was how recruits remained committed despite Kentucky's 0-2 start and reinforced their commitments after the `Cats upset rival Louisville and eventual Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson.
''We didn't lose one guy since the start of the season, and that's a special group,'' the coach said. ''This is by far the best class, period.''
Kentucky's recruiting class is also geographically diverse. While Ohio continued to provide a talent pipeline with seven signees, the program also landed seven prospects from south Florida, two from Maryland and even one from Oklahoma. There are also two from the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky signed 13 defensive players and 11 on offense with three quarterbacks including Lynn Bowden of Youngstown, Ohio, Stoops' hometown. He's listed as an athlete because of his ability to play several offensive spots besides quarterback.
Stoops didn't have to look far to replace defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, who took a similar job at Colorado last week. The coach on Monday promoted Matt House, who will continue to coach inside linebackers.
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: No.
Best in class: Lynn Bowden, ATH, Youngstown, Ohio. The versatile four-star prospect has drawn comparisons to the Green Bay Packers' Reggie Cobb (a former Kentucky standout) and is listed as one of the top 100 players by several scouting sites.
Best of the rest: OLB Josh Paschal and QB Danny Clark, both considered four-star prospects. Clark is a mid-year enrollee.
Late addition: DL Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald, who committed on Monday.
One that got away: OL Jedrick Wills, a five-star prospect from Lexington Lafayette who signed with national runner-up Alabama.
How they'll fit in: Landing several QBs could help Kentucky build depth behind senior Stephen Jackson. The offensive line has several openings as well. Stoops might look to his defensive back recruits to contribute right away.
For the full list: www.ukathletics.com
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