Justin Day didn’t question the move, but there was some doubt.
South Aiken football coach Jeremy West and his staff thought Day’s on-field tenacity and athleticism at defensive line would make for a strong offensive lineman, especially as a tackle.
Any worry was gone in a hurry. The off-season move worked, and Day’s progress culminated on Friday as he committed to the University of Kentucky.
“I didn’t argue or make it a big deal,” said Day, a rising senior. “I just listened. I found out I was naturally good at it.”
Day, who will still play some at defensive line for South Aiken, is 6-foot-8 and 290 pounds. West added Day has the potential to add 20-plus pounds without sacrificing his abilities.
Before the change, Day had been comfortable at defensive end; it was his position going back to middle school.
Even so, his coaches saw the benefits.
“We just how athletic he was and how long he was, too,” West said. “He’s a team player, a coachable kid.”
Day also had an offer from Southern Miss.
Though other schools showed interest, he thought Kentucky would be the best for him.
The Wildcats made an offer in late May, and for the past month, Day realized the city and team worked for him.
“It’s not a big city, it’s more homey,” he said. “You see people walking around the streets, going to stores, going outside. It’s more relaxed. I thought it was going to be a big city.”
Day grew up competing with his brothers, often racing bikes. In the future, however, the competition is going to be a little different, with just a few more watching.
“Honestly, I never thought I would be playing in the SEC,” Day said. “I never thought of it. Now that it’s here, it’s like, ‘Wow.’ I love the SEC.”