CRESTVIEW — Former Bulldog football and basketball star Denzel Ware is home for the holidays after finishing his redshirt freshman football season at the University of Kentucky.

Ware finished the year with 39 tackles, and even scored on a defensive 2-point conversion Sept. 12 at the University of South Carolina, racing 98 yards for the score.

After appearing in all 12 games for the Wildcats, and starting 11 of them, he expressed just one complaint about the 2015 season.

"The experience was really great," he said. "I had a lot of fun this season. I just hate that we didn't go to a bowl game."

"But just the chance to get out there and play in the Southeastern Conference — the best conference in college football — and to actually start, is a great experience to have."

Ware said the biggest thing he's learned since arriving at Kentucky is you must earn your playing time every practice.

"I expected it to be a challenge," he said. "Nothing is given to you. Every day is a battle.  

"My spot, anybody else's spot, is not guaranteed. You just have to go out there and compete every day. To know I went out there and won the competition (to start) every day felt good."

Ware said Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium was the best opposing stadium.

"My favorite place has to be Mississippi State with the cowbells," he said. "Just the atmosphere is probably the best I've experienced."

Ware said he learned some lessons as a freshman.

"What I learned this year is really just that you have to overcome adversity in the SEC," Ware said. "No game is guaranteed in the SEC. Everything is a battle.

"You just have to walk in the house and give it everything you have."