By LARRY VAUGHT
During his Franklin County career, Ryan Timmons was a dynamic playmaker at multiple positions.
He rushed for 1,306 yards and 25 scores as a senior and 62 times for 1,382 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. He had 33 catches for 1,004 yards and 16 scores in 2012 and 38 receptions for 1,100 yards and 18 scores in 2011. All three times he returned a kickoff, he scored his senior season, including on the final play of the game to beat Anderson County.
That versatility had him ranked as the nation’s No. 23 running back by 247Sports.com, the No. 28 athlete by ESPN.com and the No. 46 wide receiver by Scout.com. That’s why Kentucky running backs coach Chad Scott said the UK signee will continue to play multiple spots for the Wildcats.
“He will play some in the backfield. We will motion him back there just to get the ball in his hands,” said Scott. “That’s the good thing about this offense. You can be so multiple in a variety of ways to get different guys involved in the offense and get certain guys the ball in space and let them make plays. So he will be in the backfield.”
“He’s a guy that’s been running this offense since the seventh grade. He knew the offense. He knew that he could come in here and have a chance to compete early,” UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown said. “He’s a guy that’s versatile. We’re going to move him around. We’ll play him some in the slot, some at outside receiver, and then we’ll hand him the ball from the backfield some also. And at kick returner, too. He’s a guy that’s going to bring a lot to the table early in this program.”
Brown says he would love to see Timmons turn out like former Florida star Percy Harvin, a player Timmons says he admires.
“He likes Percy a whole lot. He better gain some weight. Percy’s about 215, so he better gain some weight. But he’s a guy that, sort of like how Florida used Percy, he can do a lot of things. So we have to put him in position where we can get a lot out of him — as a true freshman, hopefully,” Brown said.
Timmons will have a big advantage over high school signees Alex Montgomery and Jeff Badet of Florida as well as junior college transfer Javess Blue because he has played in a system similar to what Brown uses for five years.
“The good thing with him is that is this is really a unique situation. We are installing our offense and quarterbacks are learning off video now and others will learn it in the spring. Other guys will have 15 practices in it (during the spring),” Brown said. “When he gets here in June, he will have had five years in it. It is really unique situation.
“Some of the verbiage is different, some of the terminology is different. Obviously we are bit more complex, but he has had five years training in the system and the players here will have had only 15 practices. So he is going to have more of a working knowledge when he gets here in June than guys have been in college three or four years.”
Brown knows just from a perception standpoint how important it was to sign Timmons, a four-star player with offers from Florida and Ohio State.
“I thought it was huge for us. That was a great day for us (when Timmons committed). We were huddled around in the staff room watching that,” Brown said. “I thought he did a great job, thought he handled it well. His high school coach, Chris Tracy, they put on a great event there at the school. But that was big for us. He’s a guy who really showed other in-state recruits in classes to come to have faith in us.”