Most of the talk right now revolves around prospects who have signed with the University of Kentucky and also prospects who have agreed to walk-on at Kentucky. But those are the only players who could see an opportunity to be a part of the SEC program.
2009 Bryan Station High (Ky.) graduates Muhammad Saifullah and Jesseray Childrey have both made it their goal to be Kentucky Wildcats, albeit in an unconventional way. They plan to work out on their own and try out for the team in the fall.
"(Working out) is probably the most important thing I am able to do," said Childrey. "I can't watch the film they watch or have the discussions with the coaches, so working out like them is the best thing I can do. It's the only thing that's going to get me on the team," he continued.
For Muhammad Saifullah, it's more of the same.
"I believe these workouts are essential to making the team," said Saifullah. "We both know we can't go in there playing games."
Ultimately Saifullah (5-foot-9, 165-pound receiver) and Childrey (6-foot-1, 305-pound lineman) want to play for Kentucky. But they realize that they are fighting an uphill battle. Because of that, they are using every bit of motivation and outside help they can get to be best prepared to get on the roster.
"I go to sleep every night, thinking about what I did that day and how I can improve my skills and get better," said Saifullah. "Right now I just need to watch more film and study coverages. I've put a strong emphasis on watching film," he said.
Childrey uses a different method of motivation, although it is driven indirectly by the coaching staff.
"I see the coaches all over TV and the internet. I'm tired of seeing them like that," he said. "I want to see them up close and personal with a UK jersey on my chest," he said. "I want them to be my coaches. I look up videos on them to push me to be on the team. A lot of it is self-motivation. I don't have anybody that's pushing me except for myself," he continued.
Neither player can contact the coaches about workouts, but they are using the resources available to them to better prepare them for what will be required to make the team.
"I had a trainer in high school who also played for Kentucky, (former receiver Dougie Allen). He gave me the workout he did when he signed with the (Indianapolis) Colts," said Saifullah. "I've been on that and another workout from J.T. Haskins, a former Louisville player," he said. "I know one player, (corner) Cartier Rice. I talk to him when I have questions. The main thing he tells me is to come in with crazy work ethic," he continued.
Both Childrey and Saifullah see themselves as hard working players who are willing to put forth the efforts necessary to reach their goals. They both went to lower level colleges when they came out of high school. Childrey went to Lindsey-Wilson before coming back to Lexington. Saifullah initially committed to Butler, before eventually enrolling at Centre College. Things didn't work out for them and the found themselves back in Lexington.
"(Muhammad and I) had talked about it and decided we wanted to pursue our dreams and try to play D1 football," said Childrey. "The Wildcats seemed to be the perfect fit for us."
Both young men moved into Childrey's home and have since enrolled in school at Sullivan University and also work full-time, in addition to working out to get ready to play for Kentucky. So it's obvious that hard work is an asset for both young men.
"I would describe myself as dedicated, hard-working, motivated, focused, determined and a team player," said Childrey. "I would say that I know how to grind," said Saifullah. "I learned that just by having parents that work hard all the time. If I'm focused on something I love to do, I'm going to give it my all."
Each player feels that reaching that goal of playing for Kentucky will be the culmination of several years of dreaming.
"I can't even put it into words," Saifullah said. "I've always wanted to play for the big blue. I have always wanted to be a part of the tradition," he finished.
Childrey echoed his friend's thoughts and took it a step further.
"I'm not doing everything I'm doing for no reason. I want to make my parents, friends, family, school, community and peers proud of me," he said. "I want my moher to be able to see me play on Saturdays since I can't see her," he finished.
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