UK Football

Kentucky wide receiver Aaron Boyd's big day has brother Shane smiling, too

Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Aaron Boyd picks up yardage in the first half. Kentucky hosted Kent State,Saturday, Sept. 08, 2012 at Commonwealth  Stadium in Lexington. Photo by Jonathan Palmer
Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Aaron Boyd picks up yardage in the first half. Kentucky hosted Kent State,Saturday, Sept. 08, 2012 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. Photo by Jonathan Palmer Herald-Leader

There was Aaron Boyd in a crowd of media with the bright lights of television cameras on his face, microphones and recorders up next to his smiling mouth.

Off to the side was his big brother Shane, recording every moment on his iPad with a matching smile.

Shane, the former Kentucky quarterback, has told his baby brother to enjoy each moment that comes.

"I went through some adversity here, but I loved every second that I was a University of Kentucky Wildcat," Shane Boyd would tell a smaller group of reporters Monday afternoon. "That's what I told him even before the season started. I said, 'Whatever happens, enjoy it, every day, being a Kentucky Wildcat. Because it is an honor to put on this jersey whether you're playing or not.'"

Aaron and Shane both wondered whether the youngest Boyd boy would ever get his time in front of the cameras at Kentucky.

Aaron had become the punch line of cruel jokes about top-ranked recruits who were a bust. The highest-rated recruit of UK's 2008 class out of Henry Clay had caught a grand total of six passes for 51 yards during his first three seasons at UK. During the past two seasons, his contribution was almost nonexistent: one catch for five yards.

But now the youngest Boyd has become a bit of a feel-good story this season for Kentucky's rejuvenated offense, leading the Cats in receptions with 14 for 136 yards and a touchdown.

Boyd caught a career-best 11 balls for 100 yards and his first UK touchdown Saturday.

Shane Boyd, he of UK lore (being the first player to score touchdowns running, throwing and receiving in the same game) flew in from Milwaukee to support his brother for the wide receiver's second career start and his first since he was a freshman in 2008.

"Me and him grew up together, came up together, got a lot of the same dreams, a lot of the same goals," Shane Boyd said. "So it's an amazing feeling to see him succeeding right now."

Aaron Boyd admitted there have been times during the past few years that he thought this never would happen.

"That thought was always in my head, but I try my best not to think about negative thoughts," he said. "I always want to keep positive in my mind, doing what I can to help my team."

Shane, who threw for 2,484 yards and 13 touchdowns and ran for 845 yards and 13 more touchdowns, was one of the people helping Aaron stay positive.

"I had to deal with a whole lot of mess while I was here as well, but I continued to push on," said Shane Boyd, who went on to make five NFL rosters and play in the CFL, UFL and Arena league, where he most recently played for the Milwaukee Mustangs. "I pushed through it and I ultimately achieved my dream; I made it to the NFL, I'm still playing pro and just continuing on.

"So it's one of those things you just go through. Everybody has their storms in life. Everybody goes through what they go through. You've just got to continue to push on, especially if it's something you believe in."

Coach Joker Phillips has been watching Aaron Boyd since Boyd was much smaller than his current 6 feet, 4 inches. The Kentucky coach made a motion to show his recollection of the receiver when Boyd was roughly waist high.

So seeing Boyd willing to put in the work to earn the starting spot Saturday made the coach smile widely.

"Nobody's more proud of Aaron than myself," Phillips told the media Monday as UK prepares to play Western Kentucky on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

The coach admitted he sees a little bit of himself as a young receiver when he looks at Boyd. People used to tell Phillips he was too slow to be a Southeastern Conference receiver, too.

"The thing you have to be, if you're not real fast, is a physical guy," Phillips explained. "You have to be a physical guy. And that's the thing that Aaron's bought into. That's the thing that he's bought into, it's being physical."

The coach was as excited to see Boyd put a big hit on a Kent State defender to help La'Rod King gain yardage as he was to see the former Henry Clay star score his touchdown.

"You can't come up and press him, because he's a lot more physical, and then he's doing an unbelievable job on perimeter in blocking," Phillips said. "That's the reason why he's getting an opportunity."

Boyd doesn't plan to let this opportunity slip by him.

Neither does his big brother.

Injury report

Running back CoShik Williams (back) and safety Josh Forrest (hip flexor) are both probable for the WKU game.

■ Running back Josh Clemons (knee) and safety Glenn Faulkner (ankle) will continue to sit out. Offensive tackle Trevino Woods (ankle) and tight end Gabe Correll (hip flexor) will miss the Western game.

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