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By LARRY VAUGHT
His Blinn Community College teammate, receiver Kameel Jackson, wants to try to “flip” Ryan Flannigan’s Kentucky commit to Tennessee — something Flannigan says he’s not ready to have happen.
“I just tried to ignore what he put on Twitter,” Flannigan said. “Coaches are still recruiting me. At the end of the day, I have to do what is best for me. I feel like Kentucky is best for me. Until that is proven not accurate, I am going to stay true to Kentucky. Recruiting won’t stop. Coach (Mark) Stoops has talked to me about that. I will only have two more years left to play in college. I want to make sure I am doing the right thing, something coach Stoops understands.”
Flannigan, 19, was ranked as the No. 6 outside linebacker in Texas in his graduating class and one of the top 100 players in Texas by Rivals.com. He had 120 tackles as a junior and 101 as a senior. He’s ranked among the nation’s top junior college linebackers.
“I would describe myself as aggressive. I am fast to the ball. I move sideline to sideline really well because I like to get to the ball,” Flannigan said.
He’s going to play safety this year, a move he thinks will make him an even better Southeastern Conference linebacker.
“It will help me in (pass) coverage. I will be covering slot receivers like I will see in the SEC. It’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I want to play in the NFL and to do that, you have to be able to cover fast guys. I don’t think it will be that difficult. I ran through it in the spring. I would rather be playing linebacker — that is my bread and butter. But if they need me at safety this year, I will give it my all and learn from it.”
He says Kentucky had an “easy sell” with him even though he’s yet to visit the campus.
Kentucky running back coach Chad Scott recruited Flannigan for Texas Tech and when he did not make the necessary test score to be eligible, Scott continued to stay in touch with him. When Scott came to UK, he contacted Flannigan again.
“He always stayed in contact and that impressed me a lot,” Flannigan said. “It’s cool to have somebody there that you know just didn’t back off you because of a test score. He stuck with me, and that was big. It was easy for him to sell me on Kentucky. He was excited about the move and knew I would be a great fit. He knew what to tell me.”
Flannigan hopes to make an unofficial visit to UK in July and then return for an official visit in September.
“I took coach Scott at his word about the school and campus,” Flannigan said. “I also liked what coach (Mark) Stoops did with his defense at Florida State. I did my research and wanted to be part of that.”
He says he junior college experience has been good for him.
“It’s more than just football. It helped me realize the need to have goals in life. It is really a struggle in junior college. We don’t get all the things D1 (Division I) players do or do all they do. It’s going to be a real eye-opener for me to get to the SEC and show I have things together as a player and person,” he said.
“I want to maybe major in sports media. I like being around sports. If that does not work out, I want to go into the coaching business like coach Scott. I love being around the game. People also say I am a good guy to talk to.”
He says his family is thrilled with his decision about Kentucky.
“My mother and brothers and cousins are my biggest supporters,” the junior college player said. “I want to do this for my mother and brothers. I am the only sports person in the family and the youngest. They all root me on. I can handle my own, but I love my mother and she really roots me on. She is working lady, but she plans to be at any game she can make. If not, we have the SEC Network for her to watch games.
“It’s a big deal to be in the SEC. It’s the most dominant conference of them all. Stoops has produced very good defensive players, and Kentucky has had good defensive players. Now I want to be part of that and be one of those players.”
* * *
He will join us on WLAP (630 AM) Sunday at 10:05 a.m. Kentucky commit Mike Edwards, a safety from Cincinnati, will be on at 9:30.