He might be living in Georgia now, but receiver DeMarcus Sweat has a lot of ties to Kentucky and felt right at home when he visited UK. That’s why he continued the Stephenson High School pipeline in Stone Mountain, Ga., that sent three players to UK last year and verbally committed to play for the Wildcats just as teammate Shawn Blaylock, a cornerback, also did when he got offered this week by the Wildcats.
Stephenson sent running back Raymond Sanders, tight end Ronnie Shields and linebacker Jabari Johnson to Kentucky last season. The program already has six players committed to sign with Southeastern Conference teams in February.
“All those guys made me feel at home and like I was already up there with them when I¿went up for camp,” Sweat said. “I liked the coaches, too. It just had a home feel for me, and that made it a lot easier to make my decision.
“I have a lot of family up there and family that is from there. I knew I probably would go to Kentucky or Louisville, but I just liked Kentucky. Once you are a Kentucky fan, you are always a Kentucky fan. I knew all about Kentucky football. I have family in Richmond, Berea, Lexington.
It didn’t hurt that his cousin, Jeremy Jarmon, who now plays for the Washington Redskins, was a standout at Kentucky.
“I found my spot. I found a home at Kentucky,” said Sweat, who had only 12 catches for 295 yards in a run-oriented offense last year. “With everybody being in Kentucky and my family there, Kentucky came first. That’s why I drew the line and knew it was right for me. Raymond just told me how much he liked it and there was a lot of stuff going on and it would be good for me. He loves it there, so I figured I would, too.”
Sweat said he was impressed that coach Joker Phillips made it clear he had plenty of time to talk to his parents about his commitment without worrying about Kentucky withdrawing the scholarship offer.
“Not every coach would do that,” said Sweat, who also had scholarship offers from Indiana, Purdue and Florida International.
He says offensive coordinator Randy Sanders and receivers coach Tee Martin were his primary recruiters. He says he doesn’t remember anything about Martin being a national championship quarterback at Tennessee, but he knows plenty about him as a coach.
“Both him and coach Sanders were down to earth, along with coach Joker,” Sweat said. “When they tell you things to work on to get better as a player, it comes so natural. You just get it right there and understand what they are saying it will take to get better. It comes so easy.
He says he is a “go-get-it type of person and player” who believes in winning.
“It is not any one set thing about my play. I have things in my game I cannot even explain. Wherever you put me on the field, I will go get it. I am a physical, aggressive player,” Sweat said.
“I have speed. I can jump. I am a tall guy (6-2). I can snatch the ball out of the air. I can burn you deep, but I can also beat you with curls and hitches and then get up the field. My route running has got better, but I know it has to be better in college. There are a lot of things different about me. I will block, too. I am aggressive and will get in your face.
He says Blaylock is capable of playing cornerback or receiver.
“He has great ball skills. I¿knew he liked Kentucky as much as me. I knew when they offered him, he would commit,” Sweat said.
Blaylock did exactly that when Randy Sanders called.
“I knew I wanted to play for Kentucky already,” Blaylock said. “It was like being a kid in a candy store for the first time on my visit. I just loved it.”
Blaylock runs the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, has a 37-inch vertical jump and completed the shuttle run in 4.29 seconds at UK’s camp.
“The football facilities are really nice and the environment is great,” said Blaylock, who plans to be back at UK for a June 12 camp. “The guys I know there love it. It also helped that DeMarcus had already committed.”