New UK assistant coach puts Franklin's Timmons first

broberts@herald-leader.comDecember 6, 2012 

The first official hire of the Mark Stoops era took place Thursday morning with the addition of D.J. Eliot as defensive coordinator.

Eliot's first order of business: Recruiting Ryan Timmons.

The new University of Kentucky assistant showed up at Franklin County High School at 10:30 a.m., just a couple of hours after his hiring became official.

Timmons led the Flyers to a 12-1 record this season, scoring 45 touchdowns and amassing nearly 2,500 yards of total offense in the process. He's considered one of the best seniors in the state.

Franklin County Coach Chris Tracy said he and Timmons met for about 20 minutes with Eliot, who laid out Stoops' plan for the Kentucky program.

"Everywhere Coach Stoops has been, he's been successful," Tracy said. "Whatever he was responsible for was successful. And he plans on doing the same thing with the UK program. And the first thing that they have to do is keep the great in-state kids, like Ryan, in state."

Of the 14 high school players committed to Kentucky, only one — Clay County lineman Jacob Hyde — is from the state.

Tracy was impressed with Eliot's pitch, and he's been impressed with what he's heard about Stoops.

Timmons, who would like to play running back, receiver and return kicks in college, is waiting to see who UK's new offensive coordinator will be.

Tracy said he's heard the same names "everybody else has thrown around" for that position.

"I think it would be an outstanding choice to get a Kentucky guy to come and do it," he added.

That would be Neal Brown, the Danville native, former Kentucky player and current offensive coordinator at Texas Tech.

Tracy said the offense that Brown runs with Texas Tech is "identical" to the one he has at Franklin County.

"I think that would be a very smart move, but I also know (Brown) is up for some head coaching jobs," he said. "So that would be a very tough decision on his part."

Brown, just 32 years old, has been mentioned in connection with head coaching vacancies at Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and Arkansas State.

Timmons has narrowed his list to UK, Ohio State, Illinois, Arkansas and Purdue.

Arkansas and Purdue have hired new head coaches in recent days, and Tracy said he has yet to hear from either one of them.

Ohio State is the only school that hasn't offered a scholarship, but Timmons is planning an official visit to Columbus on Jan. 10.

The Buckeyes' recent NCAA troubles mean there is no guarantee that Timmons will receive an offer.

"It's just a numbers game because of their probation," Tracy said.

Illinois has made a good run at Timmons.

His playing style is often compared to that of Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin, and two Illini coaches were instrumental in helping Harvin hone his game.

Co-offensive coordinator Billy Gonzales was Harvin's wide receivers coach at Florida. The other co-offensive coordinator, Chris Beatty, was his coach at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach.

"They've been on him from the get-go," Tracy said. "And they've really got it going on — they've got some good coaches up there. He really enjoyed that trip and that's a place he could go in and contribute right away."

Timmons is saving his final official visit for Kentucky, though no specific date has been set.

"I know that they want Ryan. And Ryan feels wanted," Tracy said "... It's nice when you get a changeover and he's the first one you come see."

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216Twitter: @NextCatsBlog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com

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