Thomas ready to settle into life at UK

Two slightly different twists led Alabama receiver Darien Thomas to decide that Kentucky was going to be the best place for him to play college football.

Two slightly different twists led Alabama receiver Darien Thomas to decide that Kentucky was going to be the best place for him to play college football.

First, his brother, Demetrius Thomas, plays football at Marshall, which also offered Darien Thomas a scholarship.

"We were just passing through Lexington on our way to Marshall and we stopped once just so I could look around," the 6-3, 192-pound receiver said. "I talked with my brother when Kentucky did offer. He told me they treat the football players real good in Lexington and that it is a very good school. I am close to my big brother and that kind of helped influence my decision.

"My mother is ready to move to Lexington now. She said when I leave for there, she is coming with me because Lexington is close to Marshall. She is fired up about it as much as I am."

Second, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips told Thomas to continue looking at other schools to make sure UK was right for him. He made spring visits to Auburn, Alabama and Southern Mississippi. He's also heard from Louisville and LSU. "I am going to look around but my mind is made us as of now," Thomas, who had 35 catches for 802 yards and 12 scores last year, said. "Kentucky is where I want to be at. But I do want to look around and make sure.

"It actually kind of shocked me when coach Phillips told me it was fine to do that. It actually impressed me. That made me want to come to Kentucky even more. That's the only school I can think of that has told me anything like that. It's pretty impressive that he is cool with letting you look around to make absolutely sure Kentucky is right for you."

Thomas says both Phillips and receivers coach Tee Martin made him "feel comfortable" and helped give him a "feeling this is where I should be" when he talked to them. "I like their offense and the way the football program is run. I like how the coaches treat players and how the people in Lexington treat players," Thomas said. "It's all about Alabama and Auburn here, but this is my life you are talking about. I have to do what is best for me and my family. That's why when Kentucky offered me after my spring game, I took it immediately. I was already thinking if an offer came, I was ready to take it and I did."

Thomas thinks his versatility is his greatest asset. He also runs track (100-meter dash, 200 dash, long jump and 4x100 relay) and thinks he might play basketball this season as well.

"I feel like my speed and my size are my biggest strengths. I describe myself as a do-it-all player. I can run or screen. I can catch long balls or short balls. I run good routes. I use my speed and size to my advantage," Thomas, who recently ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, said. "I use my speed and ability to break down defenses and break coverages."

What about blocking?

"I actually love it. I think that is one of my strongest things. If you play receiver, you have to be able to block. I love being physical, something else a good receiver has to do," he said.

He expects to add more to his resume this year when he returns kicks and punts and also may possibly play some defense.

"I will be moving around quite a bit, but my main spot is still as a receiver," he said.

Academically, Thomas says he will be fine.

"I am good. I want to keep taking the ACT. I made 19 the first time, which is okay, but I want to keep taking it so I can get the highest score I can. That's just the way I am," he said. + Moderation History


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