All-SEC honors was a goal for Hairston

Published 7:04 pm Thursday, December 28, 2023

Sophomore cornerback Maxwell Hairston admits becoming an all-SEC player was a goal he set for himself this season. He reached that goal when SEC coaches named him a second-team all-conference pick.

“I am  very excited that I did accomplish that but I can’t stop here. I have got to keep going and accomplish something bigger than this coming up,” Hairston said.

He has five interceptions — fifth most in the nation — going into the TaxSlayer Bowl Dec. 29th in Jacksonville against Clemson. His five interceptions, including four in SEC, are the fifth most in a single season at UK and most Sam Maxwell had six in 2009. He returned two touchdowns for interceptions in a win over Vanderbilt and had 131 interception return yards.

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Hairston also is third on the team in tackles with 64 and has a team-high six pass breakups and a forced fumble.

His numbers certainly would make him an attractive target for a lot of schools if he put his name into that transfer portal but he never considered that.

“I am very happy and comfortable here. I chose to come here out of high school, so this is the place I want to be,” Hairston said. “I am glad I had a good season with  my teammates. I am happy here. I love it here.”

He’s glad coach Mark Stoops is also still at UK after being pursued by Texas A&M.

“It all worked out in the end. At first it caught me off guard (when the rumors started),” Hairston said. “But rumors are rumors and coach Stoops let us know he was staying, so that was all that mattered.”