It’s the Year of the Basketball School in college football, led by Kentucky. The Wildcats beat Kentucky for the first time since 1986 and, after knocking off then-No. 14 Mississippi State 28-7 on Saturday, are off to a 4-0 start, their first 2-0 start in SEC play since 1977 and appear in this week’s AP poll at No. 17, their first such appearance since Nov. 11, 2007.
And leading the charge for Kentucky has been running back Benny Snell. A 3-star recruit from Westerville, Ohio, Snell didn’t play until the third game of his true freshman season, but he’s been Kentucky’s best player ever since. He led the SEC in scoring as a true freshman, earned First Team All-SEC honors as a sophomore after piling up 1,333 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore, and is on track for All-America honors this year.
Through four games, Snell ranks third nationally in rushing (540 yards), fourth in touchdowns (seven), and his 6.21 yards per carry average is the most in the country for all players with at least 80 carries. Keep this up over a 12-game season and Snell will rush for 1,620 yards and 21 touchdowns, which would set Kentucky’s single-season rushing record and break his own UK single-season rushing touchdown record.
In fact, should Snell keep this pace up and stay for his senior season, Snell has a great shot at challenging Herschel Walker’s SEC career rushing record and Tim Tebow’s SEC career rushing touchdowns record. Walker ran for 5,259 yards, Tebow had 57 touchdowns; Snell’s at 2,964 yards and 33 touchdowns with (in theory) at least 21 games ahead of him.
But that’s a conversation for another day. In the here and now, Kentucky is on fire, and on fire in large part because of Snell.
So Kentucky has launched a Heisman campaign for its star running back, led by this 45-second video that’s as good as anything Nike makes.
That videos leads to the best-named website on the internet — SnellYeah.com.
The website is a pretty simple landing page with splashy photos under neath graphics of Snell’s exploits through his career and to date this season.
The Heisman, for better or worse — okay, for worse — has essentially become an award reserved for players in the College Football Playoff hunt so, unless UK makes a miracle run, Snell probably isn’t bringing home the stiffarm trophy no matter what he does. But that doesn’t mean Kentucky’s efforts are a waste. Such a push gets him in the conversation, which could lead to a trip to New York and/or to becoming the first Kentucky player to win the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.
That’s a heckuva consolation prize.