Things certainly haven’t been smooth for Kentucky in football coach Mark Stoops’ first season.
The Wildcats are 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the Southeastern Conference – their lone win a 41-7 victory over winless Miami (Ohio) – but Stoops and his staff have done their part to reassure future recruits, including South Warren’s Adrian Middleton.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound defensive lineman said he keeps in frequent contact with UK by mail and phone, particularly with offensive coordinator Neal Brown.
“Coach Brown calls me every Thursday, and we talk a little bit about what’s been happening,” Middleton said. “It’s good communication.”
Stoops reeled in the nation’s 29th best recruiting class in his first offseason, according to Rivals. His 2014 crop is currently ranked eighth by the recruiting outlet, and the key will be preserving the group through a rocky season.
“It’s just been about how they’re trying to build something, and that this is just the start,” Middleton said of his talks with Brown.
Middleton verbally committed to Kentucky in June. His other offers included Louisville, Western Kentucky, Missouri, Middle Tennessee and Indiana.
Middleton, who’s now rated a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout, has been a key piece of a South Warren defense that has allowed 19 total points in nine games this year. The Spartans (8-1) are first in the state in scoring defense and rushing defense, and second in passing defense.
Middleton has 47 tackles – including 23 for loss with eight sacks – along with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown.
“It’s fundamentals,” Middleton said. “Just relying on our teammates to make plays, playing hard and playing fast.”