People across the country are finally starting to realize what we in the Big Blue Nation have known for a while: Mark Stoops has an amazing staff working with him.
ESPN senior writer Adam Rittenberg has Kentucky Associate Head Coach Vince Marrow on his list of the 'six most valuable assistants in college football.'
From Rittenburg’s ESPN article, he said, “Marrow has been Stoops’ right-hand man as they’ve built Kentucky into a consistent winner in the SEC. They capitalized on their connections to Ohio and the school’s proximity to a state that still produces a good number of Power 5 prospects." Marrow is the lead recruiter for most of Kentucky’s prospects from Ohio, and the program has hit big on players, such as Lynn Bowden Jr. and Benny Snell Jr., and current starters, such as defensive Tyrell Ajian and Carrington Valentine, and tight ends Brenden Bates and Keaton Upshaw.
“You got Ohio sitting right there,” Marrow told me (Rittenberg) this summer. “It’s the fourth-producing state for NFL players, it’s the third- or fourth-producing state for D-I football players. How do you not go there? You’ve got to have connections, but there’s a lot of players there, and we have strong connections.” Kentucky has rewarded Marrow with several significant raises, and this year he’s earning $1.1 million, a once-unthinkable salary for a non-coordinator.
Affectionately referred to as “The Big Dog” by Wildcat fans, Marrow is an imposing physical presence, with a booming voice to match. He commands the respect of his peers through his relentless work on the recruiting trail as the recruiting coordinator, but also by producing extremely effective tight ends, his positional coaching duty. From C.J. Conrad to Justin Rigg to the current crop of tight ends, Marrow consistently takes pride in producing results on and off the field for Head Coach Mark Stoops, his longtime friend.
Coach Marrow was one of the first hires that Coach Stoops made when he was hired at Kentucky in November 2012. He was an integral part of building the early foundation that the program now rests on. He brought in recruits to Kentucky that previous coaching staffs could not. He sold early playing time, playing in the SEC and playing close to home to many of the three-star prospects that programs like Ohio State undervalued. He has an eye for talent, as evidenced by his signing a two-star recruit from New Jersey, who Stoops and company developed into the 2018 National Defensive Player of the Year, with Josh Allen.
Everyone who loves the Kentucky Wildcats football team knows the value “The Big Dog” brings to the table. It is finally time that the rest of the country finds out.