By LARRY VAUGHT
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown made Ryan Timmons a priority recruit as soon as he joined Mark Stoops staff at Kentucky and was able to persuade the Franklin County star to sign with UK.
Timmons had a solid freshman season in 2013 while learning to be a full-time receiver after playing a variety of positions in high school.
Brown wanted to see him to “take a step” forward during spring practice and thinks he has.
“I’ve been talking to him a lot about a kid we had at Troy named Jerrel Jernigan that plays for the Giants now. He was a lot like Ryan coming in — hadn’t played just a ton of true wideout,” said Brown. “Jerrel had actually been a quarterback — an option quarterback — in high school. Came in, we used him — use Ryan very similar to how we used Jerrel at Troy in 2007.
“Then from the end of the season in 2007 through spring practice, into the start of the season in 2008, Jerrel changed his body, really learned how to play receiver, and he was a first-team all-conference player, a third-round draft pick, so on and so on. So that’s kind of the guy I’ve been talking to Ryan about. I’m pleased with where he’s at. His practice habits are a lot better. He’s catching the ball more consistently. And he gives us a big-play threat.”
Timmons played three sports in high school and, like most multi-sports standouts, wasn’t in the weight room an abundance.
“And he had that shoulder surgery about this time last year, so he didn’t get to go through any of our offseason stuff. So his body looks a lot better,” Brown said.
Coach Mark Stoops feels Timmons is in “great shape” and says he’s even looked “more comfortable” returning kicks this spring.
“He’s not as indecisive about the catching. He’s going and making good decisions and going and getting it. So he’s getting more comfortable,” Stoops said. “He’s more consistent of being a complete wide receiver. We know he’s good with the ball in his hands and he’s got to learn to get open, it’s not just screens and fly motions and handing him the ball and all that. He’s improving, he really is. He’s making some big plays. He’s been more consistent; he’s stronger. I like the way he’s playing.”