VAUGHT: Locke is a "football guy"

Freshman Derrick Locke wants to make one thing clear to every Kentucky football fan. He's not a track athlete playing football. Instead, he's a football player that also runs track.

"That's exactly right. Football is my first love," Locke, who made his debut on Saturday in UK's win over Eastern Kentucky. "I am doing pretty good. A lot of people thought I was just a track guy trying to play football. But I was a football guy who did track. Track was the key to getting me here, but I am a football player."

Locke is an elite long jumper and was offered a track scholarship to Kentucky. He was recruited by a "lot of Big 12 schools" to play football, but also had numerous track offers.

"I really didn't turn down the Big 12 schools, but I didn't talk to a lot of them. I didn't want to take a track scholarship because I knew I wanted to play football," Locke said.

He was talking to his father about trying to do both sports in college when he got a call from the UK track coaches. Locke said he wouldn't take a track scholarship.

"I said, ‘If you can get it to where I can just show the football coaches my film, all I want is for them to give me a fair and honest chance, then I will come up here and play football and then run track," Locke said. "Right now my scholarshipo is in football, but once football is over with, I am strictly track.

"I am not surprised that I am doing well. I did pretty good in high school. Playing football is playing football. I came up here ready to play football and worry about track in the spring. I knew I had to work my butt off so I could get in on the action."

He made an immediate impact as a special teams player because of his speed. However, he quickly proved he had the toughness to be a SEC running back and the decision not to redshirt him was an easy one for the UK coaches.

"A lot of people look at my size and I am not really a big guy. I am in the low 180's and people think I am just a shifty back. I am shifty, but when it is time to bring power, I can bring power, too. That is what I heard my track coach say coach Brooks told him and that it shocked him that I was that tough. (Running backs) Coach (Larry) Brinson was thinking I would come in kind of shy of contact, too, and it shocked him when I didn't. I love football too much to be shy about contact," Locke said.

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