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By LARRY VAUGHT
Jeff Badet doesn’t have many worries on the football field. That’s why the Kentucky freshman receiver from Florida is not the least bit superstitious about wearing No. 13.
“No superstition at all on my part,” said Badet at UK’s Media Day Monday.
Instead, he thinks it could be lucky since current Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson wore the same number at Kentucky.
“I heard a lot of people saying lucky 13, but I really don’t know why. Then people started sending me videos of him (Johnson) saying this could be you. Stevie Johnson had the winning touchdown (catch) against Louisville one year. That is significant.”
Badet’s play could be significant for Kentucky, especially since coach Mark Stoops has emphasized the need to find playmakers. The 6-0, 170-pound Badet has a quick burst, field awareness and body control to both separate from cornerbacks or make difficult catches in traffic. he caught 63 passes for 881 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and made 46 catches for 718 yards and 11 scores in 2011.
Badet, who finished fifth in the long jump at the Florida state track championship, talked about a variety of other things Monday — the last time he’ll be available to media members until he plays in a game this season.
Question: How did your summer go?
Badet: “It was busy. I was doing summer school and having workouts every day. Busy, lot of hard work and getting better as a person.”
Question: What have you thought of the UK offense as you’ve tried to learn it and is it perfect for you like you thought?
Badet: “Oh yeah. I still feel that way even more. Before they were just coming up and telling me about the offense, but with me being here and seeing how the offense is has been great. Just knowing every receiver is going to touch the ball. It’s not like one receiver is going to be singled out and they get all the passes. They spread the wealth and everybody is getting to touch the ball.”
Question: What concerns do you have, if any, going into practice?
Badet: “I don’t really have a concern. Right now, it’s just learning the plays. I have to get the plays down pat and then everything else is pretty much good.”
Question: What can you tell me about new UK commit Garrett Johnson, who predicted UK fans will love you this year? What did you tell him about UK?
Badet: “That is my guy. I got him (to commit). I would keep in his head about this is the place you need to be because me and him are the same type of receivers. We were on the same 7-on-7 teams back at home. I wanted him here. Kids need to know if you are a receiver, this is the place you need to be. If the coaches give you an opportunity to come, you should take it. You are going to get an opportunity to play and the quarterback is going to spread the wealth and everybody is going to get an opportunity to touch the ball.”
Question: Did he put too much pressure on you saying you could be an immediate playmaker?
Badet: “He knows what type of player I am and if I keep working hard and the coaches see that, then of course I will be a playmaker. With the competition here, there is no guarantee I am going to start. If I go out there and do what I can do, then I will get an opportunity to play.”
Question: What do you do best?
Badet: “Just one-on-one matchup. That’s all we did back home was just practice one-on-one matchups. In the SEC, the corners are like the best in the nation. So we are just working on getting off the line and creating separation from the corner, and that’s what I am really good at.”
Question: Have the other new receivers impressed you?
Badet: “To be honest, I can’t single out one. We are all working hard. Like the coaches said, we are going to have an opportunity to play, so we all came in hungry. Me, Ryan Timmons, Alex Montgomery have all worked hard every day. I think the older guys see what kind of guys we are and that pushes them more knowing what type of players these freshmen are. It is just all competition. Everybody wants that starting position. Everybody is new to these coaches, so we can push each other and create competition.”