By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky receiver Brad Pyatt had not been back to Lexington for years when he recently brought his son, Jaxon Pyatt, to see the UK football facilities.
“That place has really changed,” said Pyatt. “It was nice before but the facilities now are amazing. I thought it was nice back then when I played but it is a whole different deal now. It’s really nice how everything is right there together.”
Brad Pyatt was a two-time high school All-American in Colorado — he had 100 receptions his final two years of high school, 12 kick return touchdowns and 13 career interceptions — and picked UK over Southern California, Miami, Michigan State and over 50 total offers when he signed with Kentucky.
He played at UK from 1999-2001 and had 21 catches and started seven games his freshman season before an injury limited him to only two games in 2000. He caught only seven passes in 2001 before transferring to Northern Colorado. He went on to play three seasons in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played in the Arena Football League for two years and finished his professional career with 165 catches for 1,859 yards and 31 scores. He also returned punts and kickoffs — he had a 90-yard kickoff return against Tampa Bay in 2003
Now his son, Jaxon, is already a big-time linebacker prospect as a freshman. Brad Pyatt is his son’s coach at Arvada West High School in Colorado.
The 6-1, 190-pound freshman is ranked as the No. 9 linebacker nationally in the 2026 recruiting class and No. 83 player overall by ESPN. He’s already got interest from Arkansas, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame and others along with Kentucky. The Pyatts took a trip to Rutgers in the fall.
“He is getting a lot of looks. He’s not a traditional 14-year-old kid. He has my speed but he’s taller,” Brad Pyatt said. “He’s long and fast and more than passes the eye test for college coaches. He started nine games for us as a freshman and our goal is to get him exposure and get ahead of the recruiting stuff.”
Brad Pyatt understands the transfer portal has changed how college coaches recruit high school players. He’s had players good enough to play for a Power Five team now have to go to FCS schools because of fewer Power Five scholarship opportunities.
“We went to Arkansas in December and he started learning about the SEC,” Brad Pyatt said. “I told him then I played in the SEC and he wants to look at the SEC as a potential destination. Kentucky intrigued him. He wants to make his own path. I have a few relationships there still (defensive line coach Anwar Stewart was his UK team and assistant athletics director Marc Hill was his UK strength coach). It was just an easy trip to take. I would love for him to go to Kentucky but this is his journey, not mine. However, he is excited about SEC football.”
Jaxon Pyatt never had any interest in being a receiver. His father joked he never even wanted to play catch with him growing up and was a late bloomer even in Little League.
“We were okay with him not liking football but he always liked to hit,” Brad Pyatt said. “In Little League he was mainly a defensive end. In eighth grade he converted to linebacker. This last season he played outside linebacker and middle linebacker for us. He also played running back but he would rather knock you down than catch the ball.
“It’s actually kind of nice not having him follow my path. He knows who I was but he needs to define his own path. Now I am coaching on offense and he’s playing defense, so we really do not even speak that much in practice.”
Jaxon Pyatt has been timed in 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash which is no surprise since his dad ran a 4.3 in the NFL.
“He has long strides and is running track now. He has the ability to be faster than me because he has those long legs I didn’t have,” Brad Pyatt said. “I think he will definitely be a low 4.4.”
Brad Pyatt said his son really liked the UK coaching staff and now they are trying to “hone” in on which schools have a true interest in him.
“Kentucky would definitely be a school of interest for him if they have genuine interest in him,” Brad Pyatt said. “We really liked everything at Kentucky. As he progresses in his career, we’ll see what ends up happening.”