1-on-1 with Joker led to UK commit

Once Blake Terry got a chance to look eye-to-eye with Kentucky coach Joker Phillips, he knew he wanted to play football for the Wildcats.

Once Blake Terry got a chance to look eye-to-eye with Kentucky coach Joker Phillips, he knew he wanted to play football for the Wildcats.

"I have seen a lot of schools and nice facilities. I came to Lexington to visit when we were just passing through going to Indiana to visit family," said Terry, 6-1, 235-pound linebacker from Texas who verbally committed to UK last week. "What turned my decision was the determination I saw when I met Joker Phillips. I looked him eye-to-eye and he asked me right then if I was ready to work out. I said, ‘Yes, sir.' That told me he was determine and wants to win.

"Winning is what I like. I am not a loser. I am not satisfied with a loss. I want to win and I could tell coach Phillips wants to win."

He had 135 tackles at middle linebacker in 15 games last year to go with three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery to earn him unanimous first-team all-district honors. As a sophomore, he was all-district at outside linebacker. However, this season Denton Guyer coach John Walsh is moving him to defensive end, a move Terry initially resisted.

"I could leave him at middle linebacker, but so many teams we play are running one-back or no-back (offenses) and that takes the middle linebacker out of the game," Walsh said. "I want to put him where he can help us win games. He's too good a player not to have where he can help us.

"At first he did not like the move and to put his hand on the ground. Once I explained why and showed him how he could be more effective on the edge, he understood and embraced the move. He's not a selfish kid.

"He is high character. I have two daughters and they are always around him. He's a good student. He has no character flaws."

Still, Terry admits he was worried the move might cost him a Division I scholarship. "I want to get my college paid for. I am the first one in my family to get a college scholarship. But once I understood the move would help me learn new techniques, get to the ball quicker and learn different reads and also help us win, I was fine with it," Terry said. "I am ready to take a stand and start dominating. I like the position now, but not as much as I like middle linebacker." Terry, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds, can power clean 300 pounds and bench press the same amount.

"Sometimes a guy that strong is not flexible and cannot move," Walsh said. "But he's very intimidating on the field. He won't be intimidate in college. He will be physical from the start. You don't have to coach him on playing physical. He is a big kid with no real weakness. He finds a way to get to the football and when he gets there, it is pretty damaging."

"I have been told I have a college body already," Terry, who gave up basketball as a sophomore to concentrate on football, said. "We work like a college program. I just spend my time in the weight room or running on the field. I do what it takes to be a winner." Walsh isn't sure what will be the best position for Terry, who will have a brother playing football at Sam Houston State next year, in college.

"It will depend on how he grows. If he stays around 240, he stays at linebacker. But sometimes kids add weight when they grow into men and if he carries 265-270, he could be an end," Walsh said.

However, one thing is certain — he will go to Kentucky.

"My family loves my decision. They all congratulated me and then we went out and had steak," he said. "It's a big relief off their shoulders. They know where they will be watching me play because when I said I am going to Kentucky, I am going to Kentucky. No one is going to change my mind."

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