Juco transfer Flannigan attracted by Kentucky's togetherness

broberts@herald-leader.comFebruary 5, 2014 

Ryan Flannigan signed with the University of Kentucky on Wednesday.

In football recruiting, potential suitors don't stop coming at you just because you're committed to another school.

That was certainly the case with Ryan Flannigan.

The junior-college linebacker committed to Kentucky last June, but he still heard from college coaches on a regular basis.

Oregon, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Arizona State and Texas Tech were a few of the schools that kept calling.

Flannigan didn't listen, and he signed with UK on Wednesday.

"It felt like it was a great place to be," he said.

One of the biggest selling points for UK was the recent history that Coach Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot have had with getting players drafted in the NFL.

When Florida State — the program that Stoops and Eliot left for Lexington — won the national championship last month, Flannigan felt even stronger about his decision.

"I said, 'Why not trust them with me?'" he said.

Flannigan has been mentioned as one of the players who could have the most immediate impact on the Wildcats program. He has high hopes for his junior season at UK — "I want to be All-SEC," he said — but most of his comments during an interview Tuesday indicated a "team-first" attitude.

"I just feel like we have guys on this defense at Kentucky — returnees who are coming back — who are outstanding players," he said. "I felt like if I could come contribute to that, we would have a good team. ... I'm just all about trying to win and help my team out."

With his UK classmates, Flannigan has found a bunch of like-minded players.

The Texas native hasn't been hanging around Lexington for the past few months like many of his fellow signees, and he hasn't even met some of them. But they've stayed in regular contact, checking up on him throughout his season, and asking about his day.

"If they can keep in touch with me now — when some of them have never even met me or seen me before — just because I've committed to their school? That shows how much they really care about the team," he said.

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

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