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While Jason Hatcher waited until Wednesday to make his commitment to Kentucky, Clay County defensive lineman Jacob Hyde was the first member of UK’s recruiting class for then coach Joker Phillips and his staff.
New Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Wednesday he was glad to have Hyde in his first recruiting class.
“Absolutely, very important to keep Jacob. Big, strong guy I love his accent,” said Stoops. “Just a great person to be around. Big, strong guy and very excited to have him in our program.
“We worked extremely hard to get some big guys. You need some size, you need girth but you always need size in this program because those guys take a bit of time to develop as well. Some guys come in ready to go and other guys need a couple of years to develop and get bigger and stronger.”
Kentucky’s other in-state signee, Franklin County receiver Ryan Timmons — who made his decision Tuesday — was called a “dynamic player” as well as a “high priority” for UK.
“He’s a home‑run threat every time he touches the ball. He’s very versatile, and, again, tremendous family, great person, great student, joy to be around and was very high priority for us,” Stoops said. “I had to play catch‑up on him being that I was on the defensive side of the ball (at Florida State) and it wasn’t my area. I wasn’t familiar with him.”
It didn’t take long for him to realize he was a “big-time important” recruit for UK.
“Ryan was the first school we went into, this new staff, myself, or the assistants. First guy we went to see was Ryan Timmons, so that’s the priority we had on him and, of course, that was on the way to go see Jason Hatcher,” Stoops said.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky now officially has in-state products Ryan Timmons and Jacob Hyde on the signee list along with Florida defensive end Alvonte Bell and junior college receiver Javess Blue, who could be the biggest steal in the recruiting class.
Ryan Timmons, Athlete, 5-10, 185, Fr-HS, Frankfort, Ky. (Franklin County) – Dynamic playmaker who was all over the field offensively in high school … Played running back, wide receiver and returned kicks … Produced eye-popping numbers … First-team all-state as a junior and senior by the Louisville Courier-Journal … Also all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and a member of the Lexington Herald-Leader “Class of the Commonwealth” … Rushed for 1,306 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior season, averaging an amazing 15.7 yards per attempt … Caught 33 passes for 1,004 yards and 16 TDs, averaging more than 30 yards per reception … Opponents kicked off to him only three times and he returned them all for touchdowns … Had equally incredible numbers his junior season … Rushed 62 times for 1,382 yards, averaging 22.3 yards per carry, and 20 touchdowns … Also had 38 receptions for 1,100 yards, a 28.9 average, and 18 touchdowns his junior campaign … Versatility makes him difficult to define as he ranks as the nation’s No. 23 running backby 247 Sports.com, the No. 28 athlete by ESPN.com and the No. 46 wide receiver by Scout.com
Alvonte Bell, Defensive End, 6-5, 255, Fr-HS, Miramar, Fla. (Everglades) – Explosive defensive end at Everglades High School in Miramar, Fla., where he was coached by Rodney Rumph … The nation’s No. 24 weakside defensive end by Rivals.com … The No. 34 overall defensive end according to Scout.com … “Bell is a raw athlete with speed, length, and quickness that attracts attention his way. He has long arms to get into passing lanes, he can move well in space, and he really pursues the ball well,” according to Scout analyst Chad Simmons … Was timed at 4.88 in the 40 with a 27-inch vertical … Made 40 tackles as a junior, with his 18 total tackles for loss including 11 quarterback sacks … Helped led the team to the Florida Class 6A regional quarterfinals his freshman and sophomore seasons … Missed much of his senior season because of injury … Began high school career as a basketball star before making the move to football … Name is pronounced “al-VON-tay.”
Jacob Hyde, Defensive Lineman, 6-2, 330, Fr-HS, Manchester, Ky. (Clay County) – Was Kentucky’s first verbal commitment of the 2013 signing class … One of the nation’s top-50 defensive tackles by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com … First-team all-state as a senior as chosen by The Associated Press …Comes to Lexington from Clay County High School, where he played for head coach Shannon Arnett … Played defensive tackle and offensive guard in high school, but is projected on the defensive side for Kentucky … Helped Clay County finish 8-4 his sophomore season en route to an appearance in the Class AAAAA state playoffs … Helped lead Kentucky all-stars to a 29-27 win over Tennessee in the National Guard Border Bowl … Played for the USA national team in the International Bowl on Feb. 5 in Austin, Tex. … Named All-SEKC by MaxPreps.com … Also chosen first team on the All-Mountain squad.
Javess Blue, Wide Receiver, 6-0, 190, Jr-JC, Babson Park, Fla. (Lake Wales/Butler Community College) –Second-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American during his sophomore season at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas … Also was named first-team all-conference … Ranked as the nation’s No. 14 junior college player by ESPN.com … Led the Grizzlies in receptions with 65, receiving yards with 1,064 and receiving touchdowns with 12 … Ranked in the top-10 nationally in each category … Averaged 28.8 yards per kickoff return and 11.2 yards on punt returns … Helped the team to a 11-1 record in 2012, winning the Region VI Championship before falling in the Graphic Edge National Championship Bowl … Grizzlies were the Region VI Champions, KJCCC Champions and played in the Citizen’s Bank Bowl his freshman season … Great freshman season with 27 receptions for 586 yards, a 21.7-yard average, and three touchdowns … Coached by Troy Morrell at Butler Community College … Big-play receiver at Lake Wales (Fla.) HS … Caught 88 passes for 1,774 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging 20.2 yards catch, during his final two seasons at LWHS… Helped team advance to the Class AAA state semifinals his junior season with an 11-2 record … Clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Coached in high school by Rod Shafer … Name is pronounced “JAY-vess.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Clay County defensive lineman Jacob Hyde got a bit worried when Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was named Kentucky’s new coach. Hyde was the first in-state player to verbally commit to Kentucky and didn’t know if his commitment would be honored by Stoops.
“Not knowing what was going to happen with the coach was hard,” said Hyde, who will play in the National Guard Border Bowl Jan. 12 against the Tennessee all-stars. “I did not commit to a coaching staff. I committed to the university. When coach Stoops was hired, I was freaking out. I didn’t know if he would honor my scholarship or not.”
That was quickly taken care of when Stoops called to assure Hyde that he had a future at Kentucky and kept Hyde from having any reason to panic Sunday at Stoops’ introductory press conference when he said only commits that were the “right fit” for his system would have scholarship offers honored.
“It’s all good for me,” Hyde, who talked to Stoops 48 hours after he was hired, said. “Like he said, you have to fit his system to keep the scholarship offer and just knowing he believes so strong in me and will honor my commitment so that I can fulfill my childhood dreams. It is a blessing for me.
“Coach Stoops seems like an upfront guy. He doesn’t beat around a bunch. He is the type of coach Kentucky needs. Someone to grab the bull by the honors and turn the program around. I am excited that he can do that.”
Hyde figures he’ll get to meet new defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot when he takes his official visit next month.
“It shocked me that a coaching change had to be made. It hurts seeing coach (Joker) Philllips leave, but I’m glad he got another job (as receivers coach at Florida),” Hyde said. “I have known him since my sophomore year. He was a big reason I wanted to be part of the team. It hurts that he is gone, but you have to go on.
“The fans around here can’t wait to see me in this program and see what coach Stoops does. Everything around here is very positive about UK football right now. I know it will be good playing there. Things have changed, but I’m still excited about playing at Kentucky and excited to have coach Stoops as my coach.”
By LARRY VAUGHT
Defensive lineman Jacob Hyde of Clay County, the only in-state commitment for the University of Kentucky in the 2013 recruiting class, was one of 12 players named today to play in the Jan. 5 National Guard Border Bowl in Williamsburg against an all-star team from Tennessee.
“This is a huge honor,” said Hyde. “I know how big this game has become, especially in eastern Kentucky. I am honored to be chosen already and very proud to be playing in this game.”
Lexington Catholic quarterback Kyle Bolin, a Louisville commit, was also named to the team. So was versatile athlete Ryan Timmons of Franklin County, who has numerous offers, including one from Kentucky but seems to be favoring Ohio State.
Other players named to the team this morning during a press conference at the Kentucky National Guard headquarters were Logan Woodside of Franklin County, Jeffrey Canady of Knox Central, Boston Bryant of Whitley County, Michael Jones of Danville, Kentayvus Hopkins of Bourbon County, Joey Bloomfield of Ballard, Tony Messer of Belfry, Jake Middleton of Harlan County and Domonick Brown of John Hardin.
Being picked for the game had special significance for Jones, a lineman, because his father is a former Marine who was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, during the Vietnam war.
“I was really hoping to be invited to the game, but never thought about it coming this early,” Jones said. “I thought maybe it would be at the end of the season if I had a good year. I am just honored to think I will be part of this game and am already looking forward to it. The military’s commitment to this game just makes it even more special for me to be in it with my dad being a former Marine. And representing the state of Kentucky in a game like this is big, too.”
This is the first year the Border Bowl has named an early list of players to participate in the game. Coach Tom Larkey of Harlan County and his staff will work with the Border Bowl committee to complete the roster after the season ends.
By LARRY VAUGHT
During his 18 days practicing and playing with Team USA in the Under 19 World Championships in Austin, Texas, University of Kentucky commit Jacob Hyde of Clay County did his best to share all the good news he could about the Wildcats.
“We had a lot of good players on our team. It was surprising how much talent there was surrounding me,” said Hyde, a defensive lineman and UK’s only in-state commitment in the 2013 recruiting class. “I talked all I could about the university. Most guys were interested in what I had to say about UK. I was trying to do all the recruiting I could.”
Team USA beat Samoa 27-6 in its first game and routed Austria 70-7 in the semifinals before falling 23-17 to Canada in the championship game.
“Jacob had his best game and totally controlled the middle of the defensive line. It was a great honor for him to represent Team USA and the quality of coaching was outstanding,” family friend Jeff Garrison said. “All of their daily meetings were in the suites of the UT (University of Texas) football stadium. He will be a much better player and person for the 18 days he spent in Austin. Meeting all these teammates from all over the U.S. and the other players from all over the world has given him a new perspective.”
Hyde said he met a lot of new friends and created new, family-type relationships, including some with players bound for other SEC schools.
“I just told them all I would see them in the years ahead and to look out for Kentucky,” Hyde, who roomed with Notre Dame commit Hunter Bivin of Owensboro Apollo, said.
Hyde was one of the players picked for the team who did not have to try out. He was so impressive during a ESPN camp in Charlotte that all he had to do was pass an interview with the Team USA coaching staff to secure his spot on the team.
“I guess I was just one of the lucky ones to get picked,” Hyde said Sunday night after returning to Manchester in time to start preseason practice Monday. “Hopefully being on the team will get me more respect than anything. I am not worried about recognition, just respect. I am satisified with where I am going to school, but it was a great honor to be on this team and be just one of two players from Kentucky on the team.”
There were also teams from France, Sweden and Japan playing in Texas.
“I learned a lot about how other countries play ball and their style,” Hyde said. “The other teams were a little bit slower than mosst American teams, but they get the concepts of the game. I had good games. I learned a little bit from each of our coaches. Just being part of this will make me a better player in the long run and also a better person because of all the people I was exposed to.”
Hyde is active at Manchester Baptist Church and helps with God’s Closet, a clothing ministry.
“I just love helping the community and helping people in need. I guess I am just a kind-hearted guy,” Hyde said. “I have always been active in the church like that. I have got to give a little back of what the good Lord gave me. Doing that kind of stuff helps keep you level headed. You see some people come through there and that lets you know you are blessed with what you have got every day.”
Hyde knows he’ll have to show he’s “blessed” on the field this season after making his early verbal commitment to coach Joker Phillips and Kentucky.
“I know I have to be a better leader on and off the field and be a better player,” Hyde said. “I know more is expected of me, but that does not bother me too much. If anything, I kind of like it.”
He also feels confident that his future team is going to have a better 2012 season than many expect.
“I keep up with other recurits and it looks like we are going to be okay,” Hyde said. “I really think Kentucky is going to shock a lot of people this year. I am going to be there a lot to watch them play and I think they are really going to suprise people with how good they are.”