After a disappointing season sophomore season, former Texas A&M transfer JaQuay Savage ready for breakout season

After a disappointing sophomore season, University of Louisville wide receiver JaQuay Savage has refocused and has turned in a big spring. Savage is ready for a breakout junior season with the Cardinals.

JaQuay Savage didn't have the kind of season he expected.

A high-profile transfer from Texas A&M, Savage sat out the 2014 season with the University of Louisville football team and was expected to be a major weapon in 2015 for the Cardinals.

Savage finished with 12 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown, all coming in the first four games of the season as he was moved down the depth chart and saw limited playing time in the final six games.

"At first when something bad happens you act immature," Savage said. "I went through that. It was tough."

But Savage had a talk with head coach Bobby Petrino and several other coaches after the season and said he knew he "had to grow up," before he could put the past behind him.

So, the talk has paid off. Savage has refocused and has been performing well in the spring.

"He’s really matured," Petrino said. "He understands what he’s doing and he’s really fast. I think he's learned a lot."

Savage said he's matured and is now focused because of his renewed Christian faith, noting he's been reading the Bible every night, talking to his mother about it and also chatting with U of L chaplain Chris Morgan.

"It's just a different focus I have right now," Savage said. "I've basically matured as a person with my situation of last year and getting benched. It made me mature more as a person, not just going back on my God-given ability.

"I've studied my playbook, have been a better teammate and just a better person."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Savage can be a "very key" cog to the U of L offense, according to Petrino. Savage is a big, fast receiver who was ranked as one of the top prep school players in the country before he went to Texas A&M.

"He’s not just going out there with his talent (in the spring)," Petrino said. "He's had some of his best practices. This has been the first time his speed has really shown up out there."

Savage said he knows he's a "long way" from getting back to where he wants but is just hoping for the chance to prove himself. And that will start on Saturday at the Spring Game for the Cardinals.

"I just want to win," Savage said. "Whatever the coach tells me to do, whatever they need me to do, that's what I will do.

"I just want to do whatever they need me to do."

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