LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Brad Pyatt's topsy-turvy Kentucky career is set to resume on Saturday at South Carolina.
The Wildcats' sophomore wide receiver, who left the team last year partly due to a lingering ankle injury, and was suspended by the NCAA for the first four games of this season, is eager to get back in the lineup.
"I've been looking forward to this for more than a year," Pyatt said. "Right now I'm anxious and excited. My feet are the best they've been since eighth grade.
"The lesson I've learned from all this (injury and suspension) is patience. Don't take anything for granted. Play every play like it is your last one, because you never know when you're going to get to play again."
At 6-feet tall and 203 pounds, Pyatt brings a much-needed physical presence to a UK receiving corps which has struggled this season. The Arvada, Colo., native also brings excellent 4.4 speed to the table. He has seven career starts to his credit and 22 receptions for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think getting Brad Pyatt back is going to help quite a bit," UK coach Guy Morriss said. "He's a little bit bigger guy, a heavier muscle-type guy, who's stronger than (Derek) Abney or (Ernest Simms). Hopefully you'll see a lot of Brad (against the Gamecocks). He'll figure into the plans."
He was a key figure in Wednesday's practice session at the Nutter Center, hauling in a pair of touchdown catches among several receptions on the day.
Pyatt's return coincides with a shift in the Cats' starters on the depth chart. He's expected to start the game at the "Z" position, with Dougie Allen shifting to "H" and Abney remaining at "X". Simms, who had been starting at "H", dropped four passes --- including two potential touchdown receptions --- in last week's 42-31 loss to Ole Miss.
"Since he's overcome the foot surgery, he's moved well," UK receivers coach Harold Jackson said. "Brad was one of our most improved players in the spring. He catches the ball well. He's worked hard to be in shape. We've been counting on him and he can be a shot in the arm for us."
Added UK offensive coordinator Brent Pease: "'From what I've seen in the practices, he gives us a kid who will go up and make the catch in traffic over somebody. He'll make the really difficult catch."