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Wherever he goes, Darian Kinnard might need his kettle corn

Darian Kinnard (70) could be a NFL lineman next season but he’ll likely need some kettle corn no matter where he plays. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

If the 2020 season goes the way for Kentucky offensive lineman Darian Kinnard that many expect, he likely will be playing in the National Football League next season rather than returning to UK for a senior season.

The 6-5, 345-pound tackle can be overshadowed in Kentucky by senior teammates Drake Jackson, projected as the nation’s top returning center, and Landon Young, a proven offensive tackle. Both are also in-state players while Kinnard is an Ohio native who moved to Tennessee and then back to Ohio before signing with Kentucky.

That’s why some project Kinnard as the SEC’s most underrated offensive lineman. ProFootball Focus noted he had just one penalty in 706 plays last year and had 32 knockdown blocks.

But one note in his bio jumped out at me. He was asked if he could only eat three foods the rest of his life, what would they be? Two of his choices were steak and chicken alfredo — both choices I could understand.

The other one — kettle corn. Seriously, he said kettle corn and confirmed to me Wednesday that was not a mistake or typo.  Instead, it goes back to growing up in Tennessee.

“My mom and grandma loved going to the flea market,” Kinnard said. “I used to get four bags (of kettle corn) to save for later at the house.

“I also loved those sugar covered almonds and cashews. They were so good.”

Kinnard didn’t try to fool anyone about why he went to the flea market with his mother.

“That kettle corn and almonds and cashews were the only reason I went to the flea market … and the cheap bags of candy,” Kinnard said.  “They would spend hours there at the flea market. I couldn’t do that without the kettle corn and almonds and cashews. That’s why I kept going back with them.”

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