By LARRY VAUGHT
Sports editor Randy Dickson of the Crestview Bulletin in Crestview, Fla., watched future University of Kentucky defensive end Denzil Ware play for Crestview High School. Ware is considered one of the top players in the recruiting class that coach Mark Stoops has put together and is expected to be one of the first players to sign his national letter-of-intent Wednesday with UK.
Dickson offered these insights on Ware.
Question: What impresses you the most about Ware as a player?
Dickson: “This is the easy one to answer. Denzil has great athleticism that allows him to get off the blocker and get to the football. He also plays basketball and he’s only about 6-3, but weighs in the 230-240 range. He plays the low post and dominates most players on the boards. I really believe if he was 6-7 or even 6-6 Kentucky would like him as a power forward. It also impresses me that he has been a four-year varsity starter in basketball and football.”
Question: Is he talented enough to be SEC-ready as a true freshman?
Dickson: “I believe there is a difference between having the talent and the strength to play in the SEC as a freshman. If it were strictly based on his athleticism I would say yes, he could battle for a starting job. But I know the offensive tackles in the SEC are big, strong and athletic as well. Denzil didn’t face anybody as good as he was the last two seasons and a lot of people ran plays away from him.
“I think he could play as a freshman, but if Kentucky has enough bodies at defensive end I think Stoops would be smart to redshirt him so he can get in the weight room full time and bulk up a little. I can see Denzil easily carrying 260-270 without losing his speed or athleticism. But being a two-sport guy he hasn’t, to my knowledge, been a weight room rat.”
Question: Have you seen him mature in the last year with all that went on with him?
Dickson: “That’s hard to say. In my dealings with Denzil has always been a laid back, good-natured kid. He’s one of those guys I sometime have a hard time reading. I think he has matured. I think a large part of his previous problems came from Crestview’s former football coach giving him bad guidance. The fact that he seems to have stuck with his commitment to Kentucky indicates to me he is maturing.”
Question: Any surprise to you that he stuck with his commitment to UK/Stoops?
Dickson: “Not really. I think Denzil just needed someone to make him feel wanted and needed and Stoops and Kentucky have done that. I don’t know a lot about his home life, but I do know it hasn’t been the Cunninghams from Happy Days. He has bounced around and lived with different family members and friends through high school. I know every coach and school tries to make a top prospect feel loved, but I believe Stoops has done the best job in figuring out how to handle Denzil’s situation.”