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Flyer fans go wild for newest Cat

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Franklin County High School football coach Chris Tracy warned Ryan Timmons he would cry Tuesday when he publicly announced where he will play football next year, but Timmons didnt believe him.

He made it through thanking his family his mother, his two sisters and his grandmother.

His voice remained strong as he thanked his coaches.

But as he began to mention Tracy individually, he choked on the words.

Coach Tracy told me I would get emotional, but I didnt pay attention to him, Timmons said.

But you have that moment where it just comes out, and you cant really stop it.

It took a few tears, a comforting rub on the back from his mother, Melinda Watts, and encouragement from the audience before he could continue.

We love you Ry-Ry, one student shouted.

He continued to thank his teammates, his friends, his teachers the community in general before rushing through the one sentence the packed gym was waiting for: Next year Ill be playing for the University of Kentucky.

The public announcement was the first time Timmons grandmother, Carrie Watts, heard his final decision. But she wasnt surprised.

I still knew because I helped bring him up, she said.

I knew when he didnt talk to me that he might be going my way, which is Kentucky.

Timmons discussed the decision Monday evening with his mother and sisters, but did not trust his grandmother to keep it secret.

He knew Im so excited that I would probably tell it before he announced it, Watts said.

But even the crowd had a feeling Timmons would pick UK many were dressed in blue and immediately began chanting.


In the audience, participating in the chants, was Jana Sturm, leader of a Twitter campaign to recruit Timmons to UK.

Sturms children have grown up with Timmons, and her husband coached him and his sister, Raven, in various sports.

For 64 days, Sturm has been using the hashtag #GetTimmonstoLexington to organize a list of reasons why he should choose UK over other schools.

Go Big Blue is a better cheer than gatorbait she tweeted on day 58 of the campaign.

It just got to be fun, Sturm said.

Everybodys telling Ryan the good things about other places, so I thought someone needed to tell him whats great about UK.

She checked with Timmons first to make sure he was OK with all the tweets.

I told him, Ill stop if you want. Youre an 18-year-old kid, and I dont want to put any extra pressure on you, she said.

But he thought they were funny.

Once news broke of Timmons announcement, other Twitter users joined in the conversation enough to make Timmons trend nationally.

Trending topics are the most mentioned words or hash tags on Twitter, meaning Timmons was among the 10 most talked-about topics in the nation Tuesday afternoon.

Part of Sturms incentive for the campaign was her loyalty to UK she graduated from the school and has been a fan of the football program for many years. But first and foremost, she is a Ryan Timmons fan.

Its just been a relationship that you cant help but watch him, hes such a good kid, she said.

You want to be a part of that, to surround yourself with people that have integrity like that and are just good kids.

Sturm wasnt the only person to use the word integrity to describe Timmons. FCHS Principal Buddy Sampson also commended him on his character.

While the community and this school will be proud of his achievements on the football field, we are more proud of his achievements as a young man and the integrity of his character, Sampson said.

I like to think people will say, Franklin County High School, thats where Ryan Timmons went to school. I think thats going to happen.