FRANKFORT — When Ryan Timmons phoned Mark Stoops to say he had decided to play his college football in Lexington, the new Kentucky football coach didn't really say anything.
"He just yelled and screamed," the Franklin County wide receiver said with a smile.
In the background, Timmons could hear someone else.
"I could hear Coach (Neal) Brown," said Timmons. "He was yelling, too."
After all, Timmons' commitment, a day before national signing day, gave the Kentucky staff something to shout about, what with the speedy 5-foot-10 all-purpose back tabbed as a must get for UK's new staff.
"When D.J. Eliot (the new UK defensive coordinator) got hired, he called me right away," Franklin County Coach Chris Tracy said. "He told me that they had to do well in-state and Ryan was their No. 1 priority. At that time, they hadn't hired Coach Brown yet."
Once Stoops did hire the former UK receiver as his offensive coordinator, Timmons became much more interested in attending the school down the road.
"Honestly, I was kind of falling away from Kentucky," Timmons said Tuesday in a news conference at the high school library after making his announcement. "Then Coach Stoops came and talked to me and he ran the same offense that we do. He said he was going to turn things around."
In that offense at Franklin County, Timmons gained 2,651 all-purpose yards and scored 45 touchdowns this past season. For his career at the Frankfort school, Timmons gained 6,337 total yards and scored 96 touchdowns.
He had considered Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio State, Florida and UK before narrowing his choices to Florida and Kentucky. Timmons said he eliminated Ohio State last week and concentrated on the Gators and Cats.
His tie to Florida was former UK head coach Joker Phillips, now the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida.
"It was kind of tough," Timmons said of breaking the news to Phillips. "We've had a relationship really since my sophomore year."
But Timmons stressed how much he was impressed by Brown, who built a productive passing offense at Texas Tech under Tommy Tuberville before being hired by Stoops. A former star at Boyle County, Brown was a wide receiver in the Hal Mumme "Air Raid" offense at UK before coaching with former UK offensive coordinator Tony Franklin at Troy.
"We hit it off the first day," Timmons said of Brown. "He told me he wanted to throw the ball and he wanted to score."
Timmons strengthens a Stoops recruiting class that has made a few waves during the recruiting process. Timmons is the seventh UK commitment who has received at least four stars by at least one recruiting service. Under the previous coaching staff, Kentucky signed six four-star prospects in three years.
Just last week, Stoops received commitments from well-regarded Florida wide receiver Jeff Badet and running back JoJo Kemp, a four-star prospect.
"Jeff Badet and JoJo Kemp both called me and said they wanted me to come to UK," said Timmons, who added that he has done the same with star Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher. "I'm going to call (Hatcher) later on" and try to persuade him to join Stoops' first class.
The news conference itself, held in the Franklin County High School gym — hats for Illinois, UK, Ohio State and Florida sat on the table in front of Timmons — was emotional for both the star player and his coach.
"If I were to ask him right now — and probably in his life this is the most important thing that's going on — if I said, 'Hey, we've got to go to this elementary school,' he'd drop what he's doing and do it right now," Tracy said. "That's the type of kid he is. I would want my son to be him."
As for Timmons, he decided that he wanted to join Stoops and Brown in starting something special.
"I could either be part of something that was already established," Timmons said. "Or I could be a part of building something."
If you listen closely, you may be able to hear Mark Stoops yelling right now.
John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com