After completing his second year of basketball at the University of Iowa, a thought lingered in the back of Ahmad Wagner’s mind. The former four-star football prospect still dreamed of the gridiron.
“I didn’t want to live with any regret,” Wagner said at UK Media Day. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do in my mind for a while. I do love basketball, but I have a love for football and it’s something I wanted to pursue.”
Wagner had enough talent to pursue football straight out of high school. A four-star talent, the 6’6″ wide receiver was the No. 284 player in the 2015 recruiting class according to the 247 Composite Rankings. He quickly caught Vince Marrow’s attention.
“I went and watched him in the (Ohio) state championship game. Eight other guys on that field went to Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and he was the best player on the field,” Marrow said.
It’s been a few years since he returned a kickoff for a touchdown and caught another score in the Ohio Division I State Championship. Wagner has to kick off some rust, but he’s excited to be back.
“It’s a good feeling. I’m excited. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’m excited to get back in the swing of things and just keep working.”
Wagner’s goal this season was to show the coaches he is good enough to play. He did that in the first practice.
“So far, he’s done really well,” Mark Stoops said today. “Yesterday he made two really nice catches as well. Those catches he was completely covered and he came down with the ball….guys were draped all over him. He’s a big target, so hopefully he’ll continue to do that for us.”
A look at one of those big receptions:
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 4, 2018
Today he caught a third down pass with a player on his back, but struggled to consistently get open. That’s the rust Wagner must kick off. It will take some time to redefine his fundamentals and learn the nuances of the position, but he’s confident he will be a fast learner.
“I’m bigger, stronger, faster and more mature. I feel like I’ll be able to pick up things a lot faster and use my IQ and maturity to help me on the field.”
Wagner is 100 percent focused on the field, not the court. Even though he’s playing at a so-called basketball school, he hasn’t given the roundball a second though.
“I haven’t touched a basketball at all. It’s all football. Some of the guys (on the football team) hoop but I don’t play anymore. I’m retired.”