Football is right around the corner and KSR is getting you ready with in-depth profiles of the team’s top players. First, we profiled Za’Darius Smith, one of the leaders of the defense, and now, we’re switching to offense and UK’s leading receiver last season, Javess Blue.
When Mark Stoops took over the UK Football program, he knew he needed to get talented players as soon as possible, preferably with some experience. Like Za’Darius Smith, a fellow JuCo star, Javess Blue had an immediate impact in his first season at Kentucky, a lone bright spot in a very thin wide receiving corps. Here are eight things about our boy Blue to refresh your memory heading into next week’s opener.
1. He is the Cats’ top returning wide receiver
Blue led the Cats in receiving last season with 43 catches for 586 yards and four touchdowns. He was 14th in the SEC in receptions per game (3.9), 15th in receiving yards per game (53.3), and 13th in all-purpose yards per game (103.2). UK has six freshmen wide receivers on deck to finally give the QBs some targets, but Blue will still be the go-to guy.
2. Blue’s 88-yard TD grab against Miami is the fourth-longest in UK history
And it was glorious.
3. That shoulder is ready to go
Blue injured his shoulder during offseason workouts and had to sit out spring practice. The staff has been cautious with him so far in camp, but yesterday, he was in full pads for the first time.
4. He’s one of UK’s cover boys this season
Blue and Bud Dupree grace UK’s double-sided schedule posters this season. One side shows the players going through Erik Korem’s training program and the other how it will translate to their performance in games.
5. He’s looking forward to the Cats picking up the tempo this season
Last season, the Cats just had to make do with what they had on offense. With another year for players to learn Neal Brown’s system, more receivers, and Patrick Towles taking over quarterback, Blue is looking forward to things picking up on offense. At today’s practice, Blue told Larry Vaught that he wants more touchdowns like that 88-yard grab vs. Miami:
“That is something I am looking forward to getting done this year. A lot of those 88-yard touchdowns or going longer than that,” he said. “Coach (Neal Brown) told us we are going to be picking up the tempo this year.”
6. This summer, he lost all of his belongings in a fire
7. He says he’s much more comfortable in his second year
Blue was one of the few things working in UK’s offense last season, and he admits that being thrust in the spotlight was a bit abrupt. However, he told reporters today that he’s much more comfortable this season, and ready to make his final season count:
“I am more comfortable right now. I can say that. Last year it was like more of an iffy situation. Iâ€ˆknew I was being put on the spot, but at the same time I had to locked in and get everything down pat because I knew I was going to be that guy and they needed me to make plays and be that player,” Blue said. “Now I really needed to focus up. Now Iâ€ˆam more focused and I take things more comfortable, which makes it easier to play.
8. He’s still flipping, it’s still impressive
An accomplished tumbler, Blue showed off his skills at the UK Gymnastics complex last month. If that doesn’t impress you, the video of him flipping in the snow has to. Good lord.