By LARRY VAUGHT
Benny Snell reminds me a lot of former UK basketball standout Tyler Ulis when it comes to using skeptics as motivation to push himself to succeed.
Ulis was told for years that he was too little to play in high school and then college and then the NBA. Each time, he proved the skeptics wrong.
Snell was a three-star recruit from Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. No surprise he was an Ohio State fan and wanted to be a “hometown” hero for the Buckeyes.
“I found myself at camps (in high school) being the best one, but other guys were getting MVPs and all that. From then until now, I have kept the chip on my shoulder and have continued to work hard,” Snell said. “I’m always being downed and don’t get enough credit, and teams are always getting put over Kentucky. That just keeps me motivated to go harder.”
He was just the 56th-rated running back in the 2016 recruiting class but he rushed for 1,091 yards and 13 scores as a freshman and then added over 1,200 yards last season. The other four SEC running backs — Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, Georgia’s Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, and LSU’s Derrius Guice — who went over 1,200 yards are all now in the NFL.
Snell boldly said at SEC Media Days he was the best running back in the SEC. He’s not backing down from that assertion despite being named to the all-SEC first team in preseason voting by SEC media members.
“I always try to make myself as good as I can be off the field, whether it’s film, practice or more reps. What separates myself from other running backs is that I am very durable. I can get 200-plus carries and still be fine for the rest of season,” Snell said. “I broke my rib during a game last year, but I came in at halftime and ended up going back in, scored and finished the game and didn’t miss any games.
“If it’s a nagging injury, I’m in the training room and I’m going to get it fixed. If it’s something to do with pain tolerance, I’m going to play through it. I’m playing through everything.”