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Despite recent success, Ahmad Wagner has no regrets about playing basketball first

Ahmad Wagner (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Senior receiver Ahmad Wagner has certainly turned out to be one of Vince Marrow’s biggest recruiting steals at Kentucky. A three-year basketball player at Iowa, Wagner has become a big-play receiver at UK.

The 6-5 Wagner drew a key pass interference penalty in the last-minute game-winning drive at Missouri last year. This season he has a 54-yard touchdown catch — even though defensive pass interference was called on the play — against Eastern Michigan. The first 14 passes thrown his way at UK, eight led to defensive pass interference calls. He drew two more pass interference flags against Florida last week and had a phenomenal touchdown catch. He now has nine catches for 198 yards — 22 yards per catch — and two scores this year to go with the pass interference calls.

He’s been so good for Kentucky that I had to ask him why he played basketball at Iowa instead of just going with football immediately because he had a list of impressive options for football despite playing just his senior year in Ohio when he had over 1,000 receiving yards.

“I love basketball. I made a commitment (to Iowa) and wanted to stick to my word (after signing early),” Wagner said. “At the time, I wasn’t going to change my mind. It was set in stone then that I would play basketball in college but things change.”

His playing time decreased his junior year at Iowa and he thought why not make the move to football. When he did, Marrow was waiting because he managed to keep tabs on Wagner even while he was at Iowa.

Any regrets about not playing football immediately?

“Not at all. I am so happy I played basketball and made great relationship at that school and now I am really happy I am playing football and making new relationships at Kentucky. So no regrets at all. I consider myself luck,” Wagner said.

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