Most 19- and 20-year-olds would jump at the chance to walk around a college campus as a starting Southeastern Conference football player and perform in front of crowds of 70,000-plus every Saturday.
While it sounds nice, it's not for everybody.
Paul Warford was living the life. After serving as a nickel back in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2006, Warford was an 11-game starter the following year.
Then Warford hit a funk. First, he had to deal with a painful collarbone fracture suffered in the dramatic 2007 win over LSU that cost him two games. Then he suffered a back injury in May 2008 that hampered him all summer.
Never miss a local story.
"Things started going downhill from there," Warford said. "I really didn't have any desire to do anything."
Not surprisingly, his academics suffered as a result. It all came to a head last August when Warford was ruled academically ineligible for the season and withdrew from school.
UK secondary coach Steve Brown had noticed something wasn't right.
"The one thing about a lot of these young men is you notice when you don't see them smile, especially a guy like Paul," Brown said. "He's always got a smile or a joke, and when he's not smiling you know something's up."
The UK secondary managed fine without Warford. Trevard Lindley continued his emergence on the national scene, and David Jones developed into a reliable second option. Also, redshirt freshman Randall Burden played well in a reserve role in the Liberty Bowl.
Meanwhile, Warford wasn't doing so well.
"I did everything to keep busy so I could keep my mind off it," Warford said. "All of my friends were from football. I didn't watch many games; I couldn't handle it. But eventually I realized that basically I was just being irresponsible and needed to grow up a little bit."
Warford credited his high school coach, Madison Central's Kenny Turner, with helping him get back on his feet.
"I think we all go through some changes where we feel like we're not sure about things," Turner said. "It was just a situation where a young man was going through a transition. I have to commend the UK staff for staying with Paul through a difficult situation. They recognized that the young man needed some time."
Warford did snap out of it and re-enrolled for the spring semester. He had hoped to use spring practice to get his name back in the mix but broke a foot during the first workout. He's back and healthy for fall camp, and while he's not quite in tip-top shape yet, both Brown and head coach Rich Brooks have been impressed.
"He doesn't look like he's skipped a beat," Brown said. "I thought he'd be a little rusty, but he's performing well. It's great to have him back because he adds depth. But it's also good for him. He's back doing what he loves to do."
Warford entered fall camp behind Burden at the corner spot opposite Lindley. Even if he doesn't reclaim his starting job, he'll be prominent in UK's nickel and dime packages.
"No matter what happens, I'm just glad to be back out there," he said. "If I have to sit on the bench and we win, it doesn't matter as long as I'm out there."
Warford said he grew up a lot during his time off, but he'll have to slowly regain Brooks' trust.
"It takes more than a couple of days for someone to show me when they've shown that they're not doing it," Brooks said. "This isn't a sprint as the old saying goes; it's a marathon.
"Right now we're not in school, so I need to see him do everything: on the field, in the classroom, off the field. I need to see him do everything and be the type of person we know he can be at all times rather than in spurts."