LEXINGTON — Farrington Huguenin was not your ordinary football defensive lineman during his high school track career.
Like many linemen, he did throw the shot put and discus. But he also ran the 200-meter dash and was on the 4x100-meter relay team, an event normally reserved for a team’s four fastest athletes.
“I did run the 200 and the first leg of the 4x100,” the 6-4, 263-pound Huguenin said. “I ran the 40 (yard dash) in 4.56 (seconds). I usually was the biggest guy running in the sprints, but I had a good 4x100 team to back me up and the 200 I mainly ran that for practice for the 4x100. But I didn’t come in last. I wasn’t ever going to be last.”
He was also a high school wrestler.
“I like contact,” the South Carolina native said. “Brute sports is my thing. I was good. I won a couple of tournaments. What I¿liked about it were the techniques and maneuvering and finding out ways to move the human body. It is all hands, eyes and coordination, and then how to maneuver somebody’s else weight.”
Now Huguenin is trying to maneuver his way up the UK¿depth chart at defensive end. He’s got extended playing time during spring practice because an injury has sidelined starter Collins Ukwu, who has spent time helping the redshirt freshman learn what coach David Turner demands.
“Collins has been helping me a lot. Pulling me aside to help me learn the playbook. Coach Turner, I¿have been soaking up all his coaching. It’s all good,” Huguenin said.
Turne has been pleased with Huguenin’s consistency and ability to practice even when he’s not been totally healthy.
“That is what I shoot for every day. We have to come out here and work. I work the hardest I can whether I come hurt or not,” he said. “I appreciate the chance and that’s also the way I was raised. Just do it and get it done.”
Huguenin was a prep standout and had 121 tackles and four sacks as a senior when he played linebacker. He signed with UK¿in 2010, but had to spend a year at North Carolina Tech Preparatory Christian Academy to improve his grades. He had 17 quarterback sacks his one season at the prep school.
“That built my work ethic and made me work even harder. A lot of good players that couldn’t make it academically went there, so the competition was still high. I¿had to work my way through there, too, to come out. But I wanted it so bad,” he said. “I have been doing great here in the classroom.
“Prep school was good for me even though I didn’t want to do it. It was good for me. I¿had to learn.”
Now he says he’s putting all his training together to try and earn a spot in UK’s defensive rotation.
“I always had the same mindset to make it, but I¿would say skill-wise I¿have changed. Looking at schemes and blocks different. My mind is getting older and growing,” he said. “There are some fast defensive ends out there, but speed means a lot. You have to be a versatile defensive end here and stop runs and also have speed to get past the tackle and pass rush.
“I¿am just keep working and letting it all play out for itself. I am going to do my best to be out there helping my team.”
Huguenin says it is not hard to describe what he does best.
“I would say passing rushing. I¿love getting to the quarterback,” he said. “That is what I¿like best, but I¿have really been working on stopping the run. That is what coach Turner has been most pleased with that I¿am becoming more of a run stopper. Collins Ukwu is a great run stopper and has been helping me a lot with that. If I can do that well, then the rush will take care of itself and I will help the team a lot more.”