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Walk-on receiver Ryan Kendall had unique path to make it to Kentucky

Ryan Kendall photo courtesy Ryan Kendall.

Ryan Kendall photo courtesy Ryan Kendall.


Receiver Ryan Kendall of Waxhaw, N.C., didn’t take the normal path to Kentucky for a preferred walk-on football player even though offensive coordinator Neal Brown pleaded all spring that UK needed more help from walk-on players to bolster numbers at receiver.

Instead, Kendall is coming to Kentucky thanks to his brother, highly-touted sophomore quarterback Austin Kendall. But it’s not because his brother did anything intentional to make that happen.

“My brother is already a highly recruited quarterback and we were on our way to Ohio when he stopped to check out Kentucky,” said Ryan Kendall. “But they (UK coaches) didn’t even know I played. They were breaking down his film and liked me and reached out to me after that.”

Ryan Kendall was going to play Division I lacrosse at Mercer University before he got the call from Kentucky asking him if he would be interested in playing football.

“I built a relationship with coach Brown. I went for a visit and really liked it,” Kendall said. “I had been committed to playing lacrosse for eight months, but I realized I really might want to play college football.”

He never mentioned he played football when he was at Kentucky with his brother.

“It was his visit, not mine. They just knew I was committed to play lacrosse,” Kendall said. “But once they saw me on film and reached out, it came together pretty quick in the last three or four weeks.”

What makes the story more unique is that the brothers didn’t play together in 2013. Instead, Austin Kendall transferred to another school while Ryan stayed put with his friends and teammates. That meant UK coaches had to notice the older Kendall when watching 2012 film of Austin during his freshman season.

“When I was a junior, he led the county in passing yards and I was a top-ranked receiver,” the 5-10, 183-pound Ryan Kendall, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, said. “It was a little weird having him on a different team last year and not having him to throw to me, but it worked out better for both of us. He fit in better as a transfer and I wanted to stay with my friends.”


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  1. Larry Pup

    This was a very interesting story. Looking forward to seeing Ryan in the Blue and White, and maybe his brother. Things happen for a reason.

  2. Ira

    You are here now young man, make the most of it. Welcome to the BBN. Earn that spot on the field so your little brother can throw to you again!

    1. RJ

      If Ryan has talent, it will become quickly apparent because he will no doubt get a chance to play. We are just too thin at receiver. Ryan could be a real sleeper.

  3. Love SEC F-Ball

    We are glad to have you as a part of BBN, Ryan.
    You will enjoy the University and Lexington.
    You will be playing for a great Coaching staff with an improving offense.
    We are happy that you will be a part of this rebuilding effort.
    Good luck to you! We will follow your progress.

  4. Edward

    Ryan, We, the Big Blue Nation, welcome you to the Commonwealth and to our University of Kentucky football team. You are needed here ahd we appreciate your commitment. We hope to see ya on the field.

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