Hoover, Ala. -- What can you tout when you're Kentucky's football coach in 2012? You can talk about a respectable four-game finish, that included a long-awaited win over Tennessee, a win over Ole Miss, and a nine-point fall at Georgia. You talk up your recruiting classes, but reference Wisconsin as a team that succeeds despite not recruiting at the same level as its conference's traditional powers.
Kentucky: a basketball school. Is all of the basketball good for football or not? "I'm a Kentuckian," Phillips responds. "I'm selling the basketball program. We wanna hitch our wagon to the basketball program," he said, before listing the names of recent NBA Draft picks who've been through Lexington. Phillips takes UK football recruits into John Calipari's locker room before games, and the two even coordinate on dual-sport recruits.
Kentucky has the same kind of roster now as it did when it began its program-record five-bowl streak in 2006, Phillips argues, pointing out all that redshirt depth. Quarterback remains an issue -- with incumbent Morgan Newton set to leave after the season, the position is hardly settled.
But is that seat hot? That seat's hot after two straight losing seasons, ain't it? "I'm not sitting down right now," he said. "There's nothing hot."
Your updated Recruitedness Power Rankings, in which we rank how recruited we feel to each program after each coach has taken the podium:
- John L. Smith
- Steve Spurrier
- James Franklin
- Kevin Sumlin
- Will Muschamp
- Dan Mullen
- Joker Phillips
- Gary Pinkel