Marrow says programs must be ‘vigilant’ in NIL, portal era

Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Vince Marrow still remembers the doubts many had when he arrived at Kentucky with new coach Mark Stoops about whether Kentucky could have a consistent winning program. He also quickly realized that the roster Stoops inherited when he got to UK was not talented enough to win.


“You were going to keep us down a little bit but I knew you better enjoy then before we climbed up,” the UK associate coach/recruiting coordinator said.  “I can go on and on about teams beating us, but when we started beating those guys it made me feel really good.

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“Guys who helped us rebuild this program know that they can always come back here because this is their home.”


Keeping that “home” feeling and maintaining a roster has gotten more difficult in recent years with the transfer portal and NIL.


“We have done a good job keeping the key guys we want here. But even guys that have left, I still love those guys and always hope they do well,” Marrow said. “But they all also know they can always come back and that’s just the way we are here at Kentucky.”


Marrow knows today’s college football is like the NFL with coaches having to be vigilant and always looking ahead.


“I am not saying this happened and I promise it did not happen like this. But we were playing Georgia and looking at all those dudes and this other quarterback (Brock Vandagriff) comes in and he’s poised and making plays,” Marrow said. “I said to one of our coaches, ‘We would love to have this dude on our team.’”


Turns out Vandagriff decided to transfer and is now at Kentucky where he is expected to be the starting quarterback next season.


“It’s just the way it is now when you have a quarterback or running back who is number two or three and feels he is really good that he is going to go into the portal and once they do they are just like NFL free agents and you have free access to pursue. So you have to always be aware of those possibilities,” Marrow said.


“I think we have a young, talented roster and we had a lot of other people poke our guys because they were so good but I think Mark (Stoops) did a really good job maintaining our roster for this season.”