CRESTVIEW — Denzel Ware, Crestview High School’s top dog defensive end, became a Wildcat on Wednesday signing a National Letter of Intent to play football at the University of Kentucky.
The 6-foot-3 inch, 230-pound Ware said he is happy to see the recruiting process end.
“It feels pretty good,” he said. “All the recruiting is over and everything is done. I don’t have to worry about no other schools.
“All I have to focus on is my school work and football. So it’s pretty great having that feeling.”
Ware originally committed to Florida State last year, but when Mark Stoops, who was the FSU defensive coordinator, was named the Kentucky head coach, the Wildcats jumped to the top of teams Ware was considering.
“Really what it was that came into play was knowing that I had two guys (Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot) that put everything on the table and didn’t sugarcoat nothing from the start,” Ware said. “They was the main reasons I went with Florida State and then they went to Kentucky.
”I really made a bond with them two and the players that had committed to Kentucky.”
Crestview head football Coach Tim Hatten sees a very bright future for Ware.
“Denzel is a very talented young man,” he said. “He’s got good statue and he’s built well. He’s a good looking high school athlete that’s going to bring a lot to the table.
“I think he certainly has the ability to come in and make an immediate impact at the University of Kentucky. I think the future is his. How hard he works, how much effort he puts into the classroom and what he needs to do on the field all depends on Denzel.”
Crestview Principal Bob Jones had reasons to be doubly happy that Ware signed with Kentucky as he is a former Wildcat football player himself.
“Any time we can have an athlete sign Division I, especially SEC, it’s a big deal for the school because it encourages the other athletes to feel like they’ve got something that they can do if they work hard like Denzel did,” Jones said. “It’s very good for the school. It’s great publicity and it’s great for encouraging the other students.
“For me it’s a win-win situation because I get to help my school get a great athlete and I get to help Denzel go to a great school. For me it’s very special. I look forward to getting up to a lot of games and getting to watch Denzel play.”
Ware said Kentucky plans on him playing defensive end or linebacker. The Wildcat coaches think he can play as a freshman.
“They talked about me coming from the back side as a pass rusher and also playing some linebacker just depending on the situation,” he said. “I think that’s a pretty good fit for me. I’m going to try and play to the best of my ability.”
Ware, who also plays basketball at Crestview, reports to Kentucky on June 12 and in the mean time he’ll be preparing for life as a college football player.
“Once I get to Kentucky there is no more basketball,” he said. “It’s just football so I have come with that football mode every day of the week.”
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Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.