Talented frosh believes in UK's future

Kentucky frosh Braxton Kelley knew college would be tough. "You have to recognize so many different sets and things that offenses can do," said Kelley. "I had never covered anybody (on a pass route) in high school playing defensive end. For me to come here and have to learn to cover somebody has been a whole different world."

Braxton Kelley thought college football would be hard. He just never knew just how time consuming it could be.

"College football is hard. You have to recognize so many different sets and things that offenses can do," said Kelley. "I had never covered anybody (on a pass route) in high school playing defensive end. For me to come here and have to learn to cover somebody has been a whole different world.

"I thought we put in a lot of time on football back in high school. Now the coaches tell us that professional players watch film for five hours, practice three and then watch another five hours. They are getting paid to do that, but we have to make a huge commitment here, too. The class work is harder, too. Class plus practice and you get exhausted."

Of course, he got a little burst of adrenaline recently when Sports Illustrated picked him as one of the nation's top freshman players based on the impact he's had as UK's starting middle linebacker. He didn't believe coach Rich Brooks when he told him he was featured in Sports Illustrated. "He had to show me a copy. I went out and got three copies, and my mom has a copy, too," Kelley said. "Everybody wants to be in Sports Illustrated. That's a great honor."

It is, but he deserves it. Remember, this is a player who less than a year ago was still playing defensive end at LaGrange (Ga.) High School. Now he's patrolling the middle of the field for Kentucky and getting better each game.

"It is amazing. I never expected this. My goal was to start, but I wasn't expecting to walk in right away and start like I did and I definitely was not expecting to be one of the top freshmen (in the country) when I wasn't really ranked in high school because I was playing defensive end," Kelley said.

Kelley lost only two games during his high school career. He's not used to losing like the Cats have. But he's a believer in Kentucky's future.

"When I looked at all the recruits coming in last year and the athleticism they had, that's what made me commit," Kelley said. "I feel we could rebuild the program and I wanted to be part of that rebuilding process. I still believe we are going to do that."


AllWildcats Top Stories