Kentucky signee Kemp preferred Cats' positive recruiting approach

broberts@herald-leader.comFebruary 6, 2013 

He's still a high school kid in Florida, but JoJo Kemp doesn't like people putting down his future Kentucky home.

As one of the best available running backs in the country, Kemp had plenty of big-name suitors trying to secure his commitment before signing day.

Pittsburgh, West Virginia and South Florida were his other finalists. Tennessee, Nebraska and Mississippi State were among those who offered.

Some of them scoffed when Kemp said he was considering the Cats.

"I won't name any names, but some of the schools that were coming after me were doing a lot of negative recruiting," Kemp said.

What did he hear about UK?

"It's a basketball school. They're the doormats in the SEC. They don't have any fans. Stuff like that."

Kemp said he just sat back and listened. And then he made his decision.

"What really stuck out the most is that none of the Kentucky coaching staff did negative recruiting," he said. "And I want to put myself around those kind of people — positive people."

The positivity paid off for the Cats.

In Kemp, they're getting a player that ranks as the No. 10 all-purpose back in the country. He has run a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. He has a knack for catching passes out of the backfield.

And — thanks to the negativity of the recruiting trail — he has one giant chip on his shoulder.

"I want to prove people wrong," he said. "That's one of the things I keep in my head: the negative things people say. I want to change their mind, definitely."

Kemp also has something to show all of those other recruiters who said there weren't any football fans in Kentucky.

Just check his Twitter timeline.

"I get like 100 retweets a day," he said with a laugh. "Sometimes I have to turn off my notifications because my phone won't stop ringing.

"It sounds like the fans can't wait until the football season."

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