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By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown doesn’t mince words when it comes to receiver Javess Blue.
“We thought he was, if not the best, one of the top two or three junior college receivers in the country last year. Signed him at Texas Tech, had some grade issues, went to Butler Community College and led them to a National Championship game,” said Brown. “Last year was very productive. And he’s a smart kid.”
Blue had to finish academic work at Butler Community College until just before preseason practice started and Brown has been “taking it slow” with him in practice. But he ranked as the nation’s No. 14 junior college player by ESPN.com last season and led the Grizzlies in receptions with 65 for 1,064 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 28.8 yards per kickoff return and 11.2 yards on punt returns. He had 88 catches for 1,774 yards and 20 scores his final two seasons at Lake Wales (Fla.) High School.
Blue, who had been timed in 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash, offered these insights on his play and future.
Question: How relieved are you just to be here and ready to go?
Blue: “It took me a while to get here, but I am ready now. It is going full speed when it comes down to practice. I have been working out over the summer, taking classes while I was at Butler. I am pretty much ready to go. The coaches knew I was going to come in a little later. They kept in touch with me so that everything will go smooth.”
Question: Will it hurt you not being here all summer?
Blue: “It shouldn’t be a problem. I am used to the fast offense that we had at Butler Community College. It is kind of the same thing. I am ready and looking forward to it.”
Question: What did it mean to you that Neal Brown and (running backs coach) Chad Scott didn’t forget you after they recruited you for Texas Tech and you did not qualify academically?
Blue: “It means we have a strong relationship together. We are basically like a family. They are like step-dads to me. I really look up to them. I am going to follow in their footsteps.”
Question: Do you feel pressure from those “step-dads” to produce immediately?
Blue: “It is not too much pressure. I am really comfortable with doing what I do best. I can get a feel for it.”
Question: How would you describe what you do best?
Blue: “Make plays, catching the ball, unbelievable catches, making touchdowns, showing off my speed when needed.”
Question: Did you go to Butler because they played a fast-paced offense?
Blue: “It was a great program really. I was looking forward to being with other D-1 athletes. You have to play and practice against the best. We never really huddled there, so it is pretty much like here.”
Question: How much did the Butler coaches help you this summer to get you ready for UK?
Blue: “They put on a lot of work. They had me working out with the team that came in this summer. I was up to speed with them. I was teaching the younger guys the fundamentals of what they are looking for them to do. That’s why I can step in and be ready. I want to make plays and be that guy that comes out here to make plays and win games. They expect me to be that playmaker, so I expect myself to live up to it.”
Question: What do you even know about the other receivers here?
Blue: “Just come in and work for my spot is what I plan on doing. You have to earn time.”
Question: Will you get a chance to return punts and kickoffs?
Blue: “For sure. I want to do that. I am real relaxed doing that. Most likely I am going to go catch the ball and get good field position for my team.”
Question: When someone describes you as fearless, is that accurate?
Blue: “I don’t care how big you are, I will take on the challenge.”