Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 26, 2013

AARON SNYDER: Big Blue embraces Yahtzee!

ASHLAND — Have you heard Kentucky football’s newest buzzword?

Can you actually believe there’s real buzz surrounding Kentucky football?

Well, there is, and well ... Yahtzee! They just landed another big-time recruit.

If you’re an avid follower of everything Big Blue on Twitter, you know the meaning of Yahtzee by now. Otherwise, you might be thinking about five dice, a ridged cup and, if you’re like me, days of your childhood enjoying a fun board game with your grandmother — I think she owned one of the very first ones on the market. I still remember the raggedy yellow box.

In the game, Yahtzee occurs when you produce all five dice alike within three rolls. It’s worth 50 points.

The game was invented in 1956, 11 years before Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was born. That didn’t stop wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord from throwing the term out there to help excite and inform fans.

Mainord — and a slew of others now — uses the word Yahtzee every time the Wildcats reel in a highly touted recruit.

It’s become so regular that Full Houses (worth 25 points in the game) are going to be easy to come by when the September air greets Commonweath Stadium.

Stoops swooped in and immediately changed the complexion of Kentucky football upon his hire in November. Since then, his 2013 recruiting class climbed the chart to No. 29 on the Rivals list.

As for 2014, well, Stoops and company are entering John Calipari territory.

Highlighted by Conner High School quarterback Drew Barker and running back Stanley Williams (George Walton Academy - Bethlehem, Ga.), who are both four-star players, Kentucky is now ranked No. 2 behind only Texas on rivals.com for the Class of 2014. The Wildcats have 18 total commits.

It helps, too, that Stoops has some value across his staff. Not only does he have the marketing mind of Mainord, he’s also got Vince Marrow on his side.

Marrow, from Youngstown, Ohio, has dipped into the Ohio pool with his Buckeye pull. Of the 18 total commits for 2014, eight are from the state directly north.

One, in particular, I must mention because he’s from my alma mater is Jarrett LaRubbio — the 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive lineman is from Lakota East High School in West Chester.

Just across Butler County at Lakota West High School is Mikel Horton, a four-star running back who gave Kentucky a Yahtzee.

With such a quick turnaround in recruiting, expectations will rapidly rise.

The results, though, have already happened on the field when a total of 50,000-plus spectators assumed positions inside Commonweath Stadium — the same place that welcome in a measly 18,000-some fans for the Vanderbilt game last fall.

Kentucky opens the season against Western Kentucky on Aug. 31 in Nashville.

How many more Yahtzees will be claimed before then?

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