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Link: ESPN's Haney likes Stoops hire

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This is from a couple days ago, but with the coaching carousel finally coming to a stop - albeit a likely temporary one -'s Travis Haney ranked his top-15 hires in college football (Insider). Mark Stoops coming to Kentucky is behind only Bret Bielema at Arkansas.

Here's what Haney had to say about Stoops:

2. Kentucky Wildcats
Mark Stoops (former FSU defensive coordinator)

The more I learn about the youngest of the three college-coaching Stoops brothers, the more I like about what Mitch Barnhart did in luring him to Lexington. Stoops turned around Florida State's defense in short order, which was impressive (and why he got the job), but I really like the way he's gone about hiring a young, respected staff. As Lexington columnist John Clay noted, Stoops is 45 and his staff has an average of 39.4 years old.

But the relative age does not mean the assistants are bereft of accomplishments and praise. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, 36, was a priority for Stoops. Eliot was his right-hand man in helping the FSU D go from 42nd in yards per game in 2010 to fourth in 2011 and second in 2012.

But in particular, I loved the hire of former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown as the new Kentucky offensive coordinator. Three Big 12 O-coordinators got head jobs, and the 32-year-old Brown likely will not be far behind them. In the meantime, Stoops has a bright recruiter and offensive mind; that was important for a coach known for his work on defense. It reminded me, sort of, of when Stoops' brother Bob hired Mike Leach as his first O-coordinator at Oklahoma.

Will the staff immediately make Kentucky a winner? Probably not. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have a hold on the division. But the Wildcats might soon start making waves. They could pick off a team here or there, eventually getting a foothold. Stoops and his staff will get into Ohio to recruit and Kentucky is more talent-rich than some might realize.
Link: Ranking the coaching hires

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