Kelley deserves huge Senior Day ovation

Kentucky has won 22 games, including two bowl games, the last three years. The Cats figure to go to a third straight bowl this year and still have a chance to win eight regular-season games. Braxton Kelley, who made the final tackle in last year's upset of eventual national champion LSU, plays his final regular season game at Commonwealth Stadium Saturday and deserves a huge ovation for his role.

It seems only yesterday that I first met a then somewhat shy Kelley and was enamored with his passion for the game and youthful honesty. Not long after that, became enamored with his playmaking ability.

That's why I couldn't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, he didn't at least have a few regrets over not being redshirted that first year, especially when he missed four games with an injury, so he would have another year left to play.

"I don't have any second thoughts about that. I came into a situation where I was able to play," Kelley said. "Maybe I did need another year of development or whatever, but I can't say it would have made me better down the road. I just had to jump in the fire as soon as I got here and that made me mature a lot faster as a player and person knowing I had a responsibility to my teammates.

"I won't regret playing as a freshman. I learned a lot about football my freshman year. Maybe if I had learned that as a redshirt and then played, maybe it would have been better for me but my four years are about up and I'm fine with that."

Still, he almost got a little misty-eyed last week when he was given an information sheet to fill out for Senior Day.

"It has gone by very fast. I've only been here four years. A lot of people get five years and they are ready to leave. I have not been here five years. I feel like I just got here," he said. "There are things I want to accomplish in these next two games before my career is over here.

" I want to give it my all each and every week. My career went by too fast, but I don't regret any moments of it. I love UK football and I am going to love it forever."

Just like UK fans should love the effort, determination and big plays this Georgia linebacker has made for four years. He's been a special player and deserves an ovation every bit equal to what Wesley Woodyard, Keenan Burton, Jacob Tamme and Andre Woodson got last year because he's been just as instrumental as they were in turning around the UK football program.

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