Florida OL pops for UK

Kentucky picked up a verbal commitment from Niceville (Fla.) High School offensive lineman Nicholas Haynes during his official visit to Lexington this weekend. Read more about him in this KyScout update.

To some Florida prospects, making an official visit to Kentucky on a weekend when temperatures hovered in the 20s and 2-3 inches of snow blanketed Lexington might be enough to make them think twice about the Wildcats.

Not the newest member of UK's commitment list.

"I come from a military family, and we've moved around a lot," said Niceville (Fla.) High School offensive lineman Nicholas Haynes, who gave a verbal to Mark Stoops this weekend. "I lived in Alaska for four years, so, no, that wasn't going to faze me. (Laughs) I loved it up there (at UK).

"I really liked how it's a big college town. Everything's about the Wildcats there. I liked the atmosphere and how the whole city is behind the team, even though they're coming off a tough year. They're really excited about the future."

Haynes picked the Wildcats over Central Florida, Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss.

"I really thought I was going to stay closer to home and probably end up at one of the Florida schools, but Kentucky was a great fit for me and a great opportunity," he said. "I really like how they've got a group of coaches who have come together with a vision for what Kentucky can be. It's a chance to build something special in the best conference in the country. I wanted to be a part of that."

Haynes (6-3, 300) says the UK staff projects him as a center or guard, although he played most of his high school career at different positions.

"I was a tight end and a tackle for the most part," he said. "I also played fullback and some D-Line, but no center or guard. Coach Schlarman said they really like me as a center because of my footwork and intelligence. They like how I'm aware of things that other players may not pick up on, and that's very important for the center in their system. He's got to call out a lot of stuff for the rest of the line."

Haynes credits his nice footwork to playing basketball during the offseason. He's a member of Niceville's hoops squad. "I've always been able to run for a big guy," he said.

Haynes is the ninth player from the Sunshine State to commit to the Cats for 2013 and the third this week, joining Orlando wide receiver Jeff Badet and Deland running back JoJo Kemp. Kentucky now has 20 verbals in the class and is expected to sign a full group of 25.

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