By LARRY VAUGHT
Here’s more with Woodruff, S.C., receiver Blake Bone, one of the players in UK’s 2014 recruiting class.
Question: Did you grow up just playing football?
Bone: “I grew up playing baseball for the most part and then basketball slid in the mix. In football, I was actually a quarterback in middle school but I thought I never really had a knack for football because I could not throw a spiral and my arm strength was probably less than other middle school kids. Football didn’t play much of a role in how I group up and then my middle school coach moved me to receiver and I caught a few balls. It seemed easy to me and I just played it ever since. My freshman year I started making plays on varsity and here I am now.”
Question: Could you dunk a basketball in middle school?
Bone: “My first dunk was at a pep rally in eighth grade. Coach Lane told me first time he saw me in middle school, he had to have me because of that athletic ability. It was nice to know coach Lane had that confidence in me to throw me in the mix and let me eventually become a go-to receiver.”
Question: Growing up what were your ambitions?
Bone: “It was a dream growing up to be an athlete. I watched NFL, college players. But I never thought I could see myself playing at that level because it never really came easy to me until later in life. I always knew I would be around the game somehow. If not coaching, on the medical staff or something. But I never thought I would have the opportunity I have today. It is a great feeling knowing that I came from being a lanky, goofball back in middle school to a pretty developed athlete now. I am glad things changed for the best and I got to sign with Kentucky.”
Question: Have coaches/family members had to stay on you about academics or have you always taken academics seriously?
Bone: “I have always really done it myself, but I have never turned down help. As school goes on, it gets tough. I love coaches — even though some players don’t like coaches always on them — pushing me in things I need pushing. That’s good for me.”
Question: Do you also work?
Bone: “I work part-time to make a little money on the side. It ain’t easy, but I can do it and that’s all that matters.”
Question: Does everybody in Woodruff know you?
Bone: “I mean, our whole town comes to games. They know me. They are happy for the opportunities I have had and the colleges that recruited me and stuff, but we live in South Carolina. It is split between Clemson and South Carolina (fans), but they didn’t care where I went but they did try to persuade me. I had to look out for what was best for me. It was hard not listening to people and them getting in my ear and everything, but I think I made the best decision if you look back at the coaches, player progression and the recruitment UK has had. I think I am in the right spot especially with Louisville’s head coach (Charlie Strong), which was one of my top four schools, out of the mix. Ole Miss been having problems recruiting and South Carolina dropped four receivers in recruiting. So I made the right decision.
“I will be up in Lexington in June (for summer school) but I also hope to be at the spring game. I want to see that, too.”
Question: What are you planning to work on between now and June, or will you take a bit of a break now that basketball is over?
Bone: “It is not the time to take off knowing that I want to get in there and make some noise as a freshman. I am taking the weight room real serious right now in the offseason. In this offense, you run a lot of plays and need to be in great shape. And my speed coming off the line and starts and getting out of breaks … there are a lot of little things you have to do to go from being a dominant high school receiver to dominant in college.”