Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby defensive back De'Eric Culver did not anticipate leaving Lexington this weekend with a scholarship offer in hand, but that's what materialized during his visit to Kentucky's Junior Day.
"I wasn't expecting it at all," he said. "I knew they liked me because I had been hearing from their DBs coach, coach (Derrick) Ansley, when he was at Tennessee, and he stayed in touch with me after he got the job up at Kentucky. But I thought this would just be to get to know each other a little better and for me to see what the campus was like. The offer came out of the blue. I was like, 'Thank God.' It's a great opportunity."
Culver (6-0, 180, 4.5) has picked up early scholarship offers from UK, Louisville, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He is also hearing from Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, among others.
As a junior, he recorded 54 tackles, eight pass break-ups, five sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions to help lead Godby to the Class 5A state championship. He was accompanied by teammates Jacob Pugh, a linebacker, and Deion Singleton, a safety.
"The (Kentucky) coaches told me they really like my combination of size and speed and versatility," Culver said. "They like how I play aggressive. They think I'd be a good fit for the defense they're going to be running up there, doing all kinds of things like coming off the edge and hitting the quarterback."
His trip north to Lexington for UK's Junior Day had some other pleasant surprises in addition to the scholarship offer.
"For starters, it was just a really nice place, really clean campus and nice people," Culver said. "Everyone there treated us like we were part of the family.
"But the thing that really surprised me was how much they stressed their academics, too. They had a good bit of time set aside for that. I learned that they have a real nice sports science program and one of the best law programs in the country. Those are things I'm starting to think about."
Culver also enjoyed the experience of going to Rupp Arena for the Wildcats' basketball game against Auburn.
"It was fun," he said. "A great atmosphere. Their fans are really supportive of their teams. They were showing us a lot of love at the game. I like that a lot."
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