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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was elated to have Florida freshman defensive lineman Reggie Meant back at practice today.
“He missed about the first seven days. He’s been impressive. He’s a big – a grown man. He’s going to be a good player, very physical, good player,” said Stoops.
He says Meant’s “pit bull mentality” is something he noticed immediately.
“The other day before he was cleared, we were doing board drills and getting after it and everyone’s getting hyped up and he was standing behind me, looked like he was going to hurt me if I didn’t let him go. So I think he’s got that mentality, which is good. But we’re getting more and more of it (on the team),” Stoops said.
He says Meant is the kind of pleasant surprise a team needs.
“There’s a perfect example of it. Again, we want to recruit at a high level. We want – shoot, for what it’s worth for you all – we want five-star guys, four-(star). We want to recruit the best players there are. But there’s a perfect example. Great. Going to be a very, very, very good football player. I don’t care. I don’t know what he was rated. I know he was rated low, but we love him,” Stoops said.
“I loved him all along, wanted him, and we were in a fight for him. He was a low-rated guy or whatever, but we were in fights for him, to get him, to sign him out of high school. We knew all along how important he was. I didn’t care how many stars he had by him, we wanted him and sure enough he’s going to be a good player.”
Stoops offered some other tidbits after practice:
— Junior college cornerback Nate Willis is in Lexington after getting cleared academically earlier this week. “Nate Willis is here, by the way. I forgot to mention that when I started. Nate’s here. I said that yesterday, that I hoped to get in there and have that information that he was cleared. And he’s here. He’s on campus, flew in this morning. He’s doing his physical and compliance and he’ll be out here this afternoon,” Stoops said.
— Zach Myers, who is competing with Zach West at center, left practice with a foot injury. “He twisted his foot. It was a foot injury. The initial diagnosis we got after he went in – I already got it back from our people – it looks like it’s nothing major, which is good news,” Stoops said. “There’s a real fine line that we’re always trying to toe. I said it from the very first day I was here: It’s a very physical league. You have to be tough and you have to be physical, but yet we’re not very deep. So we’re still going about our business, trying to find that balance. But we’ve been very physical. (Myers) got hurt on a physical drill at the beginning of practice, but we need that. We can’t slow down.”
— Cornerback Cody Quinn, a sophomore and expected starter, has been out with an ankle injury allowing true freshman Jalell Hytchye to take reps at the No. 1 spot. “Cody got the ankle. I don’t know if I’ve addressed that with you yet, Cody twisted an ankle as well and that doesn’t help matters at that position,” Stoops said.