Stoops extremely proud of Allen for playing in bowl game


Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops claps after a play during the game against Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated Louisville 56-10. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Jake Maynard

After an unlikely and uncommon year for UK football, head coach Mark Stoops had strong and positive feelings about what the future holds.

The biggest news of the day was the announcement that Allen will play in the Citrus Bowl. Coach Stoops talked to Allen before he made his decision, telling him “Josh, I want you to know your legacy is set here.” Allen will play in the game to “improve his stock and help us win a football game,” according to Stoops. Allen told his teammates about his decision in a team meeting earlier today.  

Reminiscing about Allen’s first days with the program, Stoops said, “Once he got on campus, we did know right away that he was a player.”  

Talking about the NFL draft, Stoops said that Kentucky has “in the neighborhood of 11, 12 guys that can potentially get drafted.” Coach Stoops expressed his pride in a team with that much talent. He attributed much of UK’s success in developing players on the strength and conditioning program.

Coach Stoops talked with Allen and his brother, Bob Stoops, about common traits of players that are drafted high. “These guys have a trait and its starts with being good, humble, hard-working people. Obviously very talented, but they work exceptionally hard to be in that situation,” Stoops said.

Stoops described the early signing period for recruiting as “a lot of fun.” Coach Stoops anticipates that the early signing period will be very important based on last year’s recruiting. “90-some percent of power five kids signed (in the early signing period)” making this December a very important one for Kentucky football.  

December will be a “compact” month for Kentucky football. The team will be preparing for the Citrus Bowl against Penn State and wrapping up early recruiting. The early signing period will end on December 19, but there “may still be a few loose ends” if Kentucky has any scholarships left to offer. Two weeks later, the Wildcats will travel to Orlando to play in the Citrus Bowl.