CRESTVIEW — Former Crestview High School football player Denzel Ware’s emotions run deep this week as he embarks on his football career at the University of Kentucky.
Ware, who left for Lexington, Ky., Sunday, starts classes Thursday.
“My emotions are mixed up because I’m ready to go play college football, but I’m not ready to leave my friends and family behind,” he said after Friday morning’s graduation rehearsal. “This year I made great bonds with people I should have met a long time ago.
“...A lot of people don’t know my situation, but the people I feel comfortable sharing with are the ones I’ve become close to because they really understand where I was coming from and what my pressure was.”
Choosing the Wildcats
Ware originally committed to play for Florida State during his junior year before switching his pledge to Kentucky. Ware struggled with his commitment to the Wildcats for a brief time last spring, but early last summer he declared he was all Kentucky.
Ware said firming up his decision early allowed him to enjoy his senior year.
“Instead of being harassed about where I wanted to play college football I could just live the life of being a student,” he said. “Working hard in the classroom is something I did this year and I figured out what success I can have.
"I am going to try and keep up with the same thing (at Kentucky).”
Ware is more intimidated by opponents he’ll face on the college football field than the college classes he’ll be taking.
“Can’t nobody blindside you in the classroom,” he said. “You have to blindside yourself.
“Playing on the field I’ll be playing in front of 100,000 people going to Death Valley (Louisiana State) and the Swamp (Florida). Playing on the field is going to be the great intimidation factor for me because I haven’t played in front of big crowds like that before.”
Much to prove
Ware, a four-star recruit, said he feels the pressure of being among this Kentucky class' highly rated prospects.
“Nobody wants to go into college and be a bust,” he said. “My being a four-star doesn’t give me as much pressure as it does for a five-star.
“It’s still going to be a lot trying to prove; because they think I’m ready to play now, so I have to be ready to play now, and not next year.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.