Catching Up with the Commits: Richard Lyons, Jr.

It was the middle of June, and the Kentucky Wildcats had just settled in on their fifth verbal commitment for the Class of 2004. The staff was excited. The Big Blue Nation was elated. And most importantly, the Brooks' naysayers had gone quiet for the time being.

8 months later, while Kentucky's recruiting class has only improved, only one name actually still remains committed.

A name that still remains unknown among recruiting experts across the nation, but is literally etched in stone at Commonwealth Stadium. And for those that witnessed the summer camp this past Summer: a man who lived up to every whisper of the legend's name.

"As soon as he met Joker Phillips, he said, 'Hi, I'm Richard Lyons,' Lyons Sr. told the Lexington Herald Leader. "And Joker said, 'Well, you know what? Here at Kentucky, we're going to call you Dicky.'"

Whichever version you may have heard or how amazing the performance was made out to be, does not deter from the simple fact that no one earned his scholarship more then the son of UK's legendary athlete, on one particular day in June.

The elder Lyons was UK's flanker, halfback and kick returner from 1966-68, earning first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors his junior and senior seasons. Dicky Lyons' claim to fame, even today, is being the first player in SEC history to compile 1,000 career yards rushing, 1,000 returning punts and 1,000 returning kickoffs.

Junior, however, was more famously noted for a competitiveness that saw him lose his cool on more than one on occasion, then his on-the-field performances, claiming several game suspensions for his antics.

But their was no doubting his play or his ability when the younger Lyons, out-ran and out-performed his counterparts in Brooks' summer camp, wooing the crowd of on-lookers with his dazzling display of hands and heart that ultimately earned him a scholarship offer. An offer that became more and more glorified each and every passing week, as Lyons finished his senior season leading his respective area in recieving with 53 catches for 946 yards.

"I'm a big, big fan of Abney, and Dicky does a lot of things like Abney," Lyons Sr. said. "He's got a world of talent, he's competitive, and he didn't start playing competitive football until the eighth grade, so his best days are ahead of him."

Lyons' may not have the stellar rankings or accolades that some in-coming recruits may enjoy, but make no mistake about it: Lyons will be under the microscope, immediately.

He won't have to look too far for inspiration and advice along the way.

"It feels great to be going where my dad played," Lyons said. "I've always loved Kentucky. The coaching staff made me feel at home, like they really wanted me. It didn't take me long to realize (Kentucky) is where I needed to be."

And Kentucky needs him. With all the talk of heart, commitment, and competitiveness in the locker room last season among the leaving seniors, Richard Lyons, Jr. will be more then just a welcomed addition to the Cats.

The view expressed in this article are those of the author and not those of Big Blue Nation. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at WldcatMan32@aol.com


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