As a lifelong Wildcats fan whose father, Terry, grew up in Lexington, Patrick Towles said he always wanted to end up at the University of Kentucky.
A stop in Lexington on his way back from a spring-break trip from Florida on Friday morning put that plan into motion, as Towles committed to play for UK Coach Joker Phillips in 2012.
The 6-foot-5, 232-pound Towles passed for 2,471 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior in leading Highlands to the Class 5A state title in 2010.
Towles was offered a scholarship by UK in March and also had offers from Louisville, Cincinnati, Illinois and Vanderbilt. He committed after attending UK's spring practice on Friday and meeting with Phillips and offensive coordinator Randy Sanders. Towles said he canceled a planned visit to Illinois this weekend.
"Coach Phillips and the UK staff were the only ones who had offered who I really hadn't had a chance to sit down and talk to with in detail yet," Towles said. "When we left Lexington, my dad and I just felt like there wasn't any reason to hold out any longer. Kentucky is where I always wanted to play. It wasn't anything the coaches said. It was just a feeling I got."
Towles' quarterback coach at Highlands is former UK standout Jared Lorenzen. Towles said Lorenzen has been instrumental in his development.
"He was a great talent who played in the NFL, won a Super Bowl, and he's been great for me," Towles said. "He's been supportive through this whole process. He didn't put any pressure on me to go to UK, and he would have supported me if I went somewhere else. But when I called him and told him I had committed (to Kentucky), he was excited."
Towles' primary recruiter on the UK staff was linebackers coach Chuck Smith.
"Coach Smith put in a lot of time and effort recruiting me, and I appreciated it," Towles said.
The recruiting rankings won't be released until this summer, but Towles is viewed as one of the top prospects in a talented senior class that includes Dixie Heights quarterback Zeke Pike, Seneca defensive lineman Tyrone Pearson, Central running back Anthony "Ace" Wales, Bowling Green offensive lineman Joe Manley, and Mason County athlete Josh Harris, who has also committed to UK.
Towles is the third in-state player to commit to Kentucky for 2012, joining Harris and Manual defensive tackle Thomas Chapman.