By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky’s annual Blue-White Game will be Friday and will give fans a chance to how quarterbacks Gunnar Hoak, Terry Wilson and Danny Clark look as they compete to become UK’s starting quarterback.
But the best player on the field for UK will continue to be junior running back Benny Snell.
He’s rushed for 2,424 yards and 32 scores his first two seasons and he holds the school records for points in a season (110), touchdowns in a season (19), rushing touchdowns in a season (19) and carer rushing touchdowns (32). He’s the first UK player to have 10 100-yard rushing games before his senior season.
Even more impressive, he’s just the third SEC play to have at least 2,409 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns prior to his junior season. The other two — Georgia’s Herschel Walker and LSU’s Leonard Fournette in this category.
“He’s just exceptional,” said former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard, who is now a UK Radio Network football analyst. “He refuses to be tackled. He practices scoring on every play because he expects to score every play. He’s a player I really like because he has a chip on his shoulder the size of Black Mountain back in Harlan County because he was only the 73rd ranked running back coming out of high school.”
Maggard hopes UK will find a dependable backup running back — and maybe a third back it also trusts — to keep from wearing Snell out. The junior won’t complain or ask out, but Maggard says he needs to be able to take breaks at times.
“(Offensive coordinator) Eddie Gran was a wizard last year. He had to change his offense and scheme around (Stephen) Johnson not being able to throw deep,” Maggard said. “They’ve got to find a way to give Benny a break at times.”
Maggard has no doubt Snell will leave for the NFL after his junior season based on what he’s already done.
“The real question now is who would you compare Benny Snell to? Myself, I have never seen another running back do it better than Benny Snell. He’s just unbelievable and I hope Kentucky fans realize how lucky they are to get to see him one more year,” Maggard said.