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Kentucky Enjoys Successful Signing Day Eve

Kentucky’s day of good news started with a commitment from wide receiver Ryan Timmons from Franklin County High School in Frankfort, Ky.

Timmons chose Kentucky over offers from Florida, Ohio State and Illinois. It was the chance to play for offensive coordinator Neal Brown that gave Kentucky the edge.

“Coach Brown wants to score touchdowns, wants to score points,” Timmons told CatsIllustrated.com. “That’s what I like to do. I like to score touchdowns. He wants to score every time he gets a chance. Me and Coach Brown have a good relationship. We hit it off the first day we talked.”

Timmons displayed plenty of emotion throughout his press conference at Franklin County on Tuesday. Ultimately, he decided to play for the in-state school rather than join a higher profile program like Florida, where he visited last weekend.

“I think it would mean more for me to help build something instead of something already being built and following along in their success,” Timmons said.

It looks like Jason Hatcher will join Timmons in the attempt to build Kentucky’s program.

Hatcher, a defensive end from Louisville (Ky.) Trinity, decommitted from Southern California with the intention of signing with Kentucky, according to ESPN RecruitingNation. It was again Kentucky’s coaching staff that made the difference.

“He really liked the coaches,” Hatcher’s mother, Donna Hatcher, told ESPN. “They’re really passionate to turn things around at that program.”

Jason Hatcher’s opinion of the Kentucky program appears to have improved greatly since he committed to USC in July.

At the time, Hatcher chose USC over Louisville and Tennessee. It was actually Tennessee’s loss to Kentucky in 2011 that hurt the Vols in their attempt to land Hatcher, who called Kentucky a “bottom of the barrel” program.

“I told (Tennessee’s coaching staff), ‘You lost to the University of Kentucky. You lose to UK, you lose to everybody because UK finishes last in the SEC every year,’” Hatcher told ESPN in July.

Here’s guessing Hatcher no longer expects Kentucky to finish last in the SEC — at least while he’s on campus.

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Hatcher: ‘You Lose To UK, You Lose To Everybody’

Tennessee’s loss to Kentucky in November has been a common topic of conversation in Knoxville this offseason.

It was Tennessee’s first loss to Kentucky since 1984. Tennessee fans were understandably unhappy.

And prospects on the recruiting trail noticed. Questions about coach Derek Dooley’s job security filled up the “hot seat” columns during the offseason.

That’s why defensive end Jason Hatcher, who committed to Southern California last week, expressed concern about the loss to Kentucky with Tennessee’s coaches during the recruiting process.

“I told them, ‘You lost to the University of Kentucky. You lose to UK, you lose to everybody because UK finishes last in the SEC every year,” Hatcher told ESPN RecruitingNation.

Hatcher, who attends Louisville (Ky.) Trinity High School, committed to USC last week over Louisville. Tennessee had been in great shape with Hatcher before it lost to Kentucky, he said.

It’s a reminder that Tennessee’s loss to Kentucky and the Vols’ two losing seasons during Dooley’s first two years in Knoxville have negatively affected the Vols’ recruiting. A successful 2012 season for Tennessee is a must if the Vols plan to catch up in recruiting with the 2013 class.

Hatcher’s comments also shed light on the perception of Kentucky football versus Louisville among in-state prospects.

Hatcher, ESPNU’s No. 4 player in the state of Kentucky for the 2013 class, views Kentucky as a “bottom of the barrel” program. Meanwhile, Louisville continues to make a favorable impression on prospects in the state of Kentucky.

“I don’t think Louisville needs to do anything (better in recruiting nearby prospects),” Hatcher told ESPN. “They’re doing good. I’ve just known my whole life that I didn’t want to stay home, that I wanted to explore.”

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