By LARRY VAUGHT
Benny Snell will make his NFL debut Sunday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers open the season at New England and the former UK running back’s mother, April Snell, is as excited as her son.
“We just feel blessed. So super proud of him and all he’s done,” she said. “I still really don’t know much about the NFL. I am still a college mom. He is living his dream just like somebody else’s son who might have always wanted be an attorney, teacher or anything else. For Benny, it was to play in the NFL.
“We are still really Steeler newbies learning the songs, all about the Terrible Towels and what to do. They take their Steelers very, very seriously in Pittsburgh. It is Steelers all day and all night for the fans. They love their team and we are happy to be part of that because just like we were at UK, we are all-in now with the Steelers.”
April Snell did have some regrets about not being back at Kentucky. Benny Snell had three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons to become UK’s all-time leading rushers before giving up his senior season to turn pro after UK went 10-3 last year.
“I cannot tell you how much I miss Kentucky,” she said. “When Benny put out he was going to be in the draft, I cried. I did not want him to leave. I wanted to stay. Kentucky is home to me. I love everything about it.”
She hopes to be at the Florida game Sept. 14 with her husband — remember before last season she boldly predicted UK would end that horrendous losing streak to the Gators and Kentucky did.
“I stay in touch with some football moms and friends at UK I mad along the way,” she said. “I just wish everybody well. I think again a lot of people have Kentucky underrated. They are just going to fly under the radar and do great again.”
April Snell said former UK linebacker Bud Dupree, a first-round draft pick in 2015, has “taken care of Benny and helped him learn the ropes” in Pittsburgh.
“Bud is taking care of him and making sure everything is good,” Snell’s mother said. “Hopefully going forward when the Steelers pick up somebody else from Kentucky, Benny can return the favor.
“I remember once when we were at UK and Bud walked in and we were all star struck. Now Benny is on the same team with him which just shows that (Mark) Stoops and Vince (Marrow) are doing a wonderful job bringing in recruits and building to get better every year.”