LEXINGTON — Patrick Graffree may say the Twitter ban coach joker Phillips instituted for the Kentucky football team is no big deal.
His coach thinks otherwise.
But Graffree said the ban, which is in effect until Aug. 15, is fine with him. He’s too focused on football anyway to worry about anything else.
“Coach Philips said we can’t tweet, so we can’t tweet. It’s football season, you don’t have time to tweet now. Tweeting doesn’t matter when you’re out here on the football field and playing,” said Graffree, a freshman defensive lineman from Elizabethtown. “I’m not a Twitter fiend. I just get on there when I’m bored. And I’m not going to be bored with training camp. There’s going to be a lot of hard work going on around here.”
Graffree —@PGraffree_UK52 on Twitter — may not consider himself a “fiend,” but he is very active in social media.
He has tweeted 7,459 times, has 1,992 followers and follows 1,952 people. He tweeted 52 times, counting retweets, on the Thursday before the tweet ban went into effect. He had eight tweets shortly after midnight Friday.
Graffree said he likes to keep in touch with fans to spread the word about Kentucky football as well as potential future teammates through social media.
“It just feels like somebody knows you and somebody cares about you,” he said. “I talked to (freshman linebacker) Khalid Henderson a lot when he decommitted from Tennessee. I like to talk to some of the younger 2013 recruits.”
But as Graffree said, his focus is not on Twitter or Facebook. It’s on making his mark along the Kentucky defensive line.
The 280-pound Central Hardin product was a second team all-state selection by The Associated Press and The Courier-Journal and participated in the National Guard Border Bowl against Tennessee and the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star Game. He was named one of the top-10 prospects in the state by Rivals.com, 24/7 Sports and SuperPrep, and was the No. 72 defensive tackle in the nation by 24/7.
He’ll be backing up junior starters Donte Rumph and Mister Cobble, and he hopes he can earn his way into the rotation as a true freshman.
“I’m just going to do whatever the coaches tell me I have to do. The older guys are going to teach the younger guys what we have to do”¿Graffree said. “So we just have to learn from them and see what we can do.
“Everybody around here, we’re hungry and everybody is ready to compete on the field, and we’ve been working hard.”
Graffree knows there is also a chance for younger players like him to come in and contribute, which a real motivator for him.
“A lot of freshmen, we want to play, but it’s up to the coaching staff. I’d love to get out there. It’s my dream. It’s why I came here,” he said.
Graffree said he’s cut “a lot of baby fat off” and has put on about four pounds while getting stronger, which he said is a must to play in the Southeastern Conference.
“It’s the SEC. This is the best league. I know it’s going to be hard. I knew that coming in, so we’re just working hard,” he said. “This is the closest thing to the NFL. If you playing good here, you’ve got a chance to go to the next level.”
So for now, that’s the only thing on Graffee’s mind. Twitter can wait.