By LARRY VAUGHT
Sports Illustrated has Kentucky junior running back Benny Snell ranked No. 66 on its last of the top 100 players in college football going into the upcoming season. Snell is the 10th-rated running back but the top running back in the SEC and 15th-rated player overall in the SEC.
Not bad for a player who was not ranked among the top 50 running backs in his recruiting class.
Athlon Sports has Snell ranked as the 12th best running back going into next season.
Snell finished last season with a SEC-best 19 rushing touchdowns to go with 1,333 yards, third best in the league, when he had seven 100-yard rushing games. He set a school record for most rushing yards by a sophomore and became the first Cat to have back to back 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
He’s already eighth on the all-time UK rushing list with 2,424 yards. He could move to No. 2 past Moe Williams with 910 yards but would need 1,412 yards to move ahead of Sonny Collins as the all-time leading rusher.
So what is a realistic goal for Snell this season?
“With him, there is no telling,” UK junior offensive tackle Landon Young said. “I think it will get higher and higher what he can do every year. He is an absolute monster.
“If we don’t make a hole for a guy, we are going to get a kidney shot (when he runs into us). He is a hard runner and if there is not a hole, he’s going to make a hole so that pushes us even more that we want to make holes.
“It’s sort of a self challenge within the line itself. We have a guy who has the capability to rush for way over 1,000 yards, so for us it is motivation that we helped with that but we want to keep continuing that. We have to be one of the best lines in the country if we have the best back.”