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Jarmon at home on field or stage

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Offensive linemen should beware if they
see Kentucky end Jeremy Jarmon limp up to the line of scrimmage out
of breath, shoulders slumped and seemingly in no shape to rush the
quarterback.
The budding actor may just be rehearsing his latest role.
"Sometimes I get to the line and act like I'm exhausted,"
Jarmon said. "Then I just blast off the ball. Body language says a
lot. You can psyche people out with body language."
Creativity on a football field is usually reserved for the
crafty quarterback, shifty running back or acrobatic return man,
not a bruising 277-pound pass rusher. But as the team's resident
actor, the junior defensive end adds a new dimension as the leader
of a defensive line largely considered one of the best in the
Southeastern Conference.
In the spring, Jarmon honed his acting skills with the lead role
in the UK theater department's production of "Weak/Side/Help." He
portrayed a black high school quarterback who blamed his backup
role on institutional racism.
Jarmon, a native of Fort Knox, Ky., who attended high school in
Germantown, Tenn., said he was just playing a part - not making a
social statement. In fact, he said he found his own experiences
didn't at all mirror some of his character's world views.
"It was difficult because you have to make the audience believe
that's the way you feel," Jarmon said. "If you don't feel that
way about something, it's a lot harder than if you believe it.
There were times I began to question what I was actually saying."
He may have questioned it, but director Rick St. Peter said he
sold it on the stage.
St. Peter said the drama department became aware of Jarmon's
talents when a television camera captured one of Jarmon's pregame
locker room pep talks last year. He recited Jack Nicholson's famous
monologue as Col. Jessup in "A few Good Men," which includes the
memorable line, "You can't handle the truth."
It wasn't the first time Jarmon had said the line, either. In a
high school production, Jarmon played Jessup. His other high school
role was a part in MacBeth.
So St. Peter laughs at the idea that Jarmon got the role of a
football player just because he is a football player. When St.
Peter watches Jarmon on stage, he says he sees a young James Earl
Jones.
"He's got that kind of presence, that kind of voice," St.
Peter said. "Were he to dedicate himself, he could do Shakespeare
and play Othello for the next 20 years. But, he'd make about one
percent of the money he'd make in the NFL."
Those aren't Jarmon's only two options, either. He's a political
science major and French minor and is hoping to turn that training
into a future job in diplomacy - perhaps a position with the FBI or
CIA in an African country.
"Those agencies like people who have actually lived and
experienced things other than just being in the classroom," Jarmon
said.
And, just as he uses his acting skills on the football field, so
too does he use his diplomat tools. He's vocal, albeit less this
year than in the past, he says - but seldom will you hear Jarmon
trash talk.
"When you don't give a guy any extra incentive to block you
besides the fact that he's supposed to, sometimes it's a lot easier
for you to make it harder for him," Jarmon said. "If a guy begins
to dislike you because you're making negative comments to him,
that's going to give him extra incentive to try to beat you every
play."
Defensive tackle Corey Peters says Jarmon's political stripes
often come through in team meetings as he often wants to settle
disputes through civilized debate. And, as for the acting side,
Peters says the jokes during practice are inevitable, albeit
good-natured.
"Some of the linebackers call him 'actress' all the time, but
it's all in fun," Peters said. "We're all proud of Jarmon. It's
good to see athletes doing things people on campus aren't
necessarily used to seeing us do, showing them we have other
sides."
St. Peter said he also noticed during play rehearsals that
Jarmon was a diplomat, with strong political views but no ax to
grind.
"He's not one of those guys who is going to broadcast it from
the tallest building," St. Peter said. "He'll pick and choose his
battles."
Jarmon, who last year shared team MVP honors with departed
Wesley Woodyard, was picked by league coaches in the preseason as
second-team all-SEC. With nine sacks last year and the potential
for much more this season if the rest of UK's line is as good as
advertised, the NFL could well be waiting.
Jarmon says he'd likely put off his diplomacy career a few years
to pursue professional football. As to the future of his acting
career, he's hoping to continue that too, and got renewed
inspiration from the late Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in
the summer blockbuster, "Dark Knight."
"That wasn't who he was, but from what I heard, he locked
himself in a room so he'd come into that role," Jarmon said.
"Somewhere along the line in being portrayed as crazy, he became
crazy."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights


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