By LARRY VAUGHT
Butler Community College offensive coordinator Tony Haynes has heard plenty about the excitement the arrival of coach Mark Stoops has created over Kentucky football.
He thinks the additions of 6-1, 195-pound receiver Javess Blue is only going to that excitement, too.
“Javess did a great job for us. He is a kid that is very easy to coach. He does a very good job learning whatever you try to teach him. He always knew what his job was and never made mistakes,” said Hanes. “What he did really well is that he has great speed. For us, he was our get behind the defense guy. He was our deep threat because he could run past you. Once he got the ball in his hands, I don’t know if I ever seen just the kid get tackled. I have seen him tripped or run out of bounds, but he is very hard to corral.
“He has really good balance that makes him really special when he gets the ball in his hands. He has great agility and makes some really good moves in the open field and great cuts.”
He had 65 catches for 1,064 yards — 16.4 yards per catch and 88.7 yards per game — and 12 touchdowns last season. His longest reception went for 66 yards.
Blue had numerous scholarship offers from West Virginia, Arizona State, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss and more before giving his verbal commitment to UK last month. He was also a Texas Tech target, but that was before offensive coordinator Neal Brown and running backs coach Chad Scott left for Kentucky.
Hanes said Scott had recruited Blue at Lake Wales (Fla.) High School and never gave up on him.
“A lot of other schools fell off because he did not qualify (academically), but Chad stuck with him. He helped place him at Butler and did a great job continuing to recruit him,” Hanes said. “He has a great relationship with Chad and Chad has a great relationship with Javess’ parents.”
Blue was one of the recruits visiting Texas Tech the weekend that Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville took the head job at Cincinnati.
“The reports that he (Tuberville) was at a meal with recruits and just left, they are true because Javess was at that meal. Javess really got turned off by Tuberville during that visit,” Hanes said. “Luckily, it all worked out at Kentucky. As soon as they (Brown and Scott) landed there, one of the first calls Chad made was to us. He wanted to make the deal work out with Javess.
“I think Javess was a little leery. He still had a bad taste in his mouth from Texas Tech. But he went on the visit and I remember speaking with him and how excited he was. He came back from the visit just bleeding blue.”
Hanes said Blue had never gone through the “heavy recruiting” that some junior college standouts experienced coming out of high school.
“He had never been on an official visit anywhere until last semester. This was all a new experience to him,” Hanes said. “He is the kind of kid that does not want to disappoint coaches. On the phone, he would tell coaches what they wanted to hear.
“That’s why I really grilled Javess about Kentucky when he came back. I tried to play the devil’s advocate but I knew he was serious when I asked him what made Kentucky the real deal. Was it girls, basketball games, uniforms or what? He told me, ‘Coach, those boys are about to win.’ He’s all in with Kentucky.”
Hanes said Blue will have all his academic work completed soon and will have no trouble be eligible next season.
“Our academic coordinator here does a great job with the players. We had the best GPA in the conference and about the best academic record in junior college football,” Hanes said.
Hanes also thinks once Blue gets to Kentucky, his best days are still ahead of him.
“When he came to us he was a defensive back. He came out of high school as a highly touted DB. Once we got him in here and worked him some at receiver, we found out how good he was with the ball in his hands,” Hanes said. “He’s not the best technician, but he has amazing speed and balance to make up for the lack of technique. He could have started at cornerback, safety, tailback. He’s that phenomenal an athlete.
“His offense in high school was a Veer option. He did not really get to play receiver in high school like a lot of skilled kids do. He has a ton of learning let in terms of route running and catching that he has time to develop. He made his career with us based on great athletic ability and doing whatever it took to do what job he had. But I firmly believe his best football lies ahead.”
Hanes hopes to see more of Stoops and his staff at Butler in future years.
“Stoops is a class act. He met all our coaches and introduced himself to everyone of us. When head coaches come in, we try to cater to them. But he was just a regular guy and was fun to be around. He really impressed me,” Hanes said. “Coach Brown is a great offensive coordinator. I would love to have him back to pick his mind more. Chad Scott has done a great job with us. He recruited Javess the right way. Kentucky has a good name running through this building and we definitely want them back looking at more of our players.”