"I want to be a go-to guy. That's the kind of player I came here to be," Lyons said. "I have the opportunity to earn a playing spot. But I know I have to do better. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe that has messed up my concentration. But whatever it is, I have to step up before the spring ends and show what I can do."
Lyons still believes he can be a productive receiver and live up to the billing he received when UK signed him after a stellar prep career in Louisiana.
Rough path back to playing field
"I have three years left here, but I would like to step up right now just to get things going," Lyons said. "I don't want to wait too long to be on the field. I want to play now.
"Last year with the hamstring pull, I missed the first three games and then they asked me to redshirt when I was about ready to come back. That was the hardest decision I've had to make. I wanted to be out there playing, but I redshirted because I thought that would be best for me and the team. But now it is my time to show I can play."
It has not been an easy path back to the playing field. He needed hernia surgery and dropped 15 pounds "of fat" from last year and gained muscle back in its place.
He's had shoulder surgery as well as hernia surgery since his arrival at Kentucky. Plus, he has rolled both ankles and had muscle strains.
"I was living the college life my first year and not working out as hard as I should have. I was skipping out on workouts," he said. "My freshman year I was playing at 170 pounds. I should have been at least 185. My body was weak. You can be tough, but your bones will still break."
Has his speed back
Now he says he is UK's strongest wide receiver. He could bench press 315 pounds when he came to Kentucky. He increased that to 375 last summer when he was trying to gain weight and strength, but that slowed him down too much. Now he's back to a bench press of 315 to 330 pounds and has his speed back.
"I gained too much weight. Now I have found a medium that works," Lyons said.
He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds at UK's pro day. "When you put a ball in my hands, I can run past anybody. That's just the way I feel," he said.
He wasn't sure he would even have a football in his hands this spring. Brooks suspended him for part of winter workouts, a "wakeup call" that Lyons says he needed.
"I realized then no one man is bigger than the team. That's the way I was acting. That was my fault. It was a reality check after coach Brooks suspended me. You don't realize how much you have until you lose it like I did," he said.
"I wasn't doing terrible things. I was just enjoying college life too much and not taking care of things that I should have been."
Father says he needs mental focus
His father, a former UK standout, has told him he has to improve his mental focus. He recalls how his father got cut from the Atlanta Falcons in his first year in the NFL before going to the New Orleans Saints and having a productive career.
"He started fourth string when he went to the Saints, but when people didn't know the plays, he jumped up and got a starting job because he was mentally prepared," Lyons said.
Kentucky finishes spring practice with the Blue-White game Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. Lyons says the team attitude is a "hell of a lot better" than last year and he expects the Cats to have a more potent offense.
"You have to have a triple threat. You have to have a quarterback, running back and go-to wide receiver. It helps when you have three go-to wide receivers, and that is what we can have," Lyons said. "I want to be one of those receivers. I know I can do it. But I also know it's time for me to start proving it."