By LARRY VAUGHT
One of the best moments of Kentucky’s season will be have to when senior receiver David Bouvier caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the opening win over Central Michigan. Or maybe it will be his touchdown catch against Florida last week when the Wildcats ended that 31-year losing streak to the Gators.
He came to UK as a walk-on from Lexington Catholic where he led the team in career receptions (215) and career yards (3,156). Before this season, he had played in just six games with one catch.
However, he started at both receiver and punt returner in game one and did so again against Florida.
Bouvier said he was happy for his parents when he became a starter this year.
“I was a walk-on. They made sacrifices for me. It’s a good deal to repay that with a scholarship and bring them joy on Saturdays,” he said.
He admitted there was a little bit of “disbelief” when he saw his family after the first game.
“I think we were all still kind of shocked that I started and then also had a touchdown catch,” Bouvier said. “We knew we had come a long way. It was really cool and a special moment with all of them after the game.
“I have got such a great group of people that support me and being from Lexington, I already knew a lot of people here. I want to play the best for my family and friends.”
His mother, Jeanne, admits as time went on, she wondered if he would get to play regularly at UK. Now he’s caught a touchdown pass in two straight games and been part of ending the streak against Florida.
“I had seen him play and knew what he could do but I know the coaches know more than I do. I know who the other players are and wonder when my son can be the best of that category he’s in,” she said. “You have to trust the coaches. He did. But I won’t lie. We are delighted to see him playing. It was a dramatic change from not playing much except in the spring games. Then to be starting at two positions was a little surreal.”
His mom, a semi-retired nurse at UK, knows returning punts is not an easy task and can result in the returner taking big hits from tacklers. She says she watches and believes he can survive whatever is thrown at him.
“I have seen him do it in high school. Pound for pound he is kind of a rock. He just has a way of taking a hit,” she said. “He says it does not really hurt that much. I do not know if he is just saying that so I do not worry or not. He would take a hit in high school and pop right up. I don’t know if he was doing that for me or not but I appreciate it. I do realize in high school he was not playing against SEC athletes. This is a little different. I watch, but I try not to think about what could happen to him.”
Bouvier doesn’t want his mother to worry, especially when he’s returning punts. However, he did lie to her about the hits he sometimes takes.
“It is kind of a mental thing to get back up quick and not let those guy think they can hurt you. I can’t lie. I have had hits that hurt in previous years but as long as I get back up I feel fine and the adrenaline gets going again,” he said.
Does his mom know that?
“Don’t tell her because I’m not. If she knew it hurt, she would worry,” he said.