There are parts of high school that they definitely miss.
Even though he was excited to start college a semester early and go through Kentucky spring practices, tight end C.J. Conrad found himself thinking of home a lot.
"I came in the middle of my basketball season, so for a little while there I was listening to all the games on the radio," the freshman said.
It's a familiar story for other players who chose to leave high school with one semester to go and enroll in college to go through the 15 spring practices with their new team.
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"I definitely got homesick," said sophomore running back Mikel Horton, who was one of seven players that arrived early last spring. "It's an adjustment being on your own."
Wide receiver T.V. Williams, who came in at the same time as Horton in 2014, was only 17 when he arrived in Lexington from McKinney, Texas.
It wasn't always an easy transition.
"Of course you have regrets," he said.
But none of the players who arrived on campus early said he regretted the decision, all noting that they were able to get a jump on the playbook, college courses, weight training and other things.
"The pros outweigh the cons," said Williams, who said he knows he never would've been able to play as a true freshman if he hadn't come early. "The cons are miss my friends, miss my family. ... But it was a lot of fun, helped me adjust. The plays were mind blowing. The pace of the game was totally different. It really took me a minute to adjust. I'm glad I came early."
Players like Williams, Horton and Conrad are part of a growing national trend.
The first midyear enrollee a Kentucky spokesman could remember was junior-college defensive lineman Mark Crawford in 2009. There were never more than three in a season after that until last year when Kentucky had seven in Williams, Horton, Drew Barker, Thaddeus Snodgrass, Dorian Hendrix and junior-college players C.J. Johnson and A.J. Stamps.
In this latest recruiting class, there were six more.
The trend made head coach Mark Stoops a little uncomfortable at first.
"You're just a little leery of a kid coming here (when) he's not with his whole class," the coach said.
But he's changed his thinking on the movement dramatically in the past year or so, especially when he's seeing the benefits for players like Horton and Williams a year later.
"I really do like it now," Stoops said. "Now we're having more and more so they have a couple guys to turn to that are brand new.
"Our team has done a good job of embracing those guys and making them feel at home so they don't get that homesickness their senior year and feel like they should be at the prom or hanging out with their buddies while they're here working their tail off."
Kentucky has more structure in place to help along the younger players making the leap to college a semester early, too, he said.
Two of this season's mid-year enrollees, Conrad and offensive lineman George Asafo-Adjei, are players likely to see the field this season because they arrived a semester early.
"They're obviously getting a heck of a lot more work and getting acclimated to the college program; they're getting weight lifting; they're getting ahead academically," Stoops said. "There's a lot of benefits to it if you can mentally handle it, and this group has done a great job."
Linebacker Kengera Daniel said even if he is redshirted this fall, which happened with three of the seven early enrollees in 2014, he believes it will be a benefit to be on campus a semester early.
"It's very helpful," Daniel said. "I'm trying to learn the plays, figure out how things work around here, what to do, what not to do, of course, so in the long run I guess it'll benefit me more than anything, being here early."
Sometimes the benefits aren't clear until a couple of semesters later, but they're immeasurable, Horton said.
"If I hadn't come in early, I wouldn't be where I am now, I'd probably still be 240 (pounds)." But it helped me grow up quick. I'm more mature as a man now and the way I think. Coaches see it, too. Coming in early, I advise it for every athlete."
It's not always advisable for every athlete, though. It takes a certain type of person and player, secondary coach Derrick Ansley argued.
But he said it's been hard to argue with the results players playing earlier and changing their bodies more quickly.
"You kind of get a jump on other signees in your class as far as going through spring and being able to get a jump on claiming a position, but it varies" Ansley said.
Asafo-Adjei, who may be the first true freshman offensive lineman to play in his first season under Stoops, said he got everything out of spring he hoped for.
"I wanted to get in here early so I can have a chance to play early and just wanted to get stronger, get in the flow faster and just have a shot," he said. "I'm really glad I came."
'Such a special moment'
It was a special weekend for Kentucky defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who saw two players he's coached get selected in the NFL Draft.
First, he was in Chicago on Thursday to see first-round pick Bud Dupree get picked 22nd overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brumbaugh said it was an emotional night for all of the coaches who witnessed it, including Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot.
"It was awesome," Brumbaugh said Friday. "It was very emotional for me when Bud got picked.
"You're sitting in a room with those guys for 21/2 years now and you're going through things and looking at things. And when you get that opportunity, it's just very emotional."
It took a little bit longer for Dupree to get picked than some analysts projected. It added to the joy in the room when his name was finally called.
"It was a sigh of relief, just sat down and all of the emotions came up," Brumbaugh said. "It was a good feeling, a great feeling."
On Saturday, he saw Za'Darius Smith, whom he'd coached at East Mississippi Community College before they came to Kentucky together, go in the fourth round to the Baltimore Ravens.
Having two of his players move on to the professional ranks was special.
"Anytime you get a guy drafted, you go through emotions," Brumbaugh said. "It's such a special moment. ... I'm happy to share it with these guys because they've worked so hard for this moment."
There hasn't been a massive overhaul of the way things are run day to day for Kentucky's offense despite getting a new offensive coordinator.
But one thing that will be different on game days is the way plays are communicated onto the field. New coordinator Shannon Dawson prefers to call plays in directly to his quarterback. The past few years, various position coaches were relaying plays to their position groups.
"Sometimes it got a little confusing," running back Jojo Kemp explained of the old system.
Now, Kemp continued, "the only person looking to the sideline is the quarterback. ... You don't have 11 guys looking toward the sideline trying to find their position coach or the person giving the signal."
And even though the pressure is on him, quarterback Patrick Towles has seen some advantages to the way the offense talks amongst itself now.
"I like it better because if we're all wrong, at least we're running the same play," Towles joked (maybe). "It's good. It gets everybody on the same page for sure. It demands that I know what everybody's doing and that kind of stuff. It's a lot smoother."
Under Dawson, a play is called into Towles or fellow quarterback Drew Barker, then they relay it to the running backs and wide receivers, then the quarterback gives the offensive line the play.
"It takes a lot less steps," Towles continued. "There's a lot (fewer) places where something can go wrong."