The Wildcats have been receiving a good deal of praise from some major media sources this football offseason, which is a promising sign for this upcoming season. From the running backs to the wide receivers and tight ends, this Kentucky team is being complimented quite a bit.
First off, the running backs have been viewed by ESPN as some of the best in the SEC. Here’s what Edward Aschoff had to say about the backfield.
Stanley Boom Williams and Jojo Kemp aren't exactly household names, but they combined for 1,410 yards last season, and Kemp averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Mikel Horton rushed for 318 yards last fall. All three have looked good in camp, and freshman Benny Snell is pushing for the third spot.
The Wildcats have great depth, and you can tell by his comments that Aschoff agrees. Cats Pause went on to add that the Cats’ top four backs racked up 1,855 yards lasts season, which shows that they got a lot of production from the entire depth chart. And with a healthy Boom Williams and more backs on the list, it’s likely that the back production will only get better this season.
ESPN and 247 Sports weren’t the only news companies to talk about just how deep the Wildcats are at running back, as USA Today has taken note as well. Here’s what they had to say about the depth in Kentucky’s backfield.
In addition to Horton, the Wildcats return All-Southeastern Conference contender Stanley "Boom" Williams, 1,000-yard-career-rusher Jojo Kemp and spring game star Sihiem King. Freshman Benny Snell has been a consistent target for praise from UK coaches during preseason camp, and his classmate A.J. Rose has also received positive reviews.
On top of people praising the depth at that position, there have been no shortage of compliments directed at the star of the backfield, Boom Williams. Southbound and Down of FanSided recently named Williams the best player on Kentucky’s team.
Williams is averaging 6.9 yards per carry over his the life of his Kentucky football career and his 2015 was even more impressive. While he only had 121 carries, Williams still managed to average 7.1 yards per carry. Expect that to remain close to the same as his rush load increases on the way to attaining a 1,000 yard season for Kentucky football in 2016.
It’s not just the running backs that are getting attention, but the pass catchers are getting national recognition as well.
ESPN ranked the Wildcats receivers and tight ends as the 6th-best pass catchers in the SEC. Here’s what Sam Khan Jr. said.
The Wildcats have a nice collection of talent here with their top five pass-catchers from 2015 all returning: receivers Garrett Johnson, Dorian Baker, Jeff Badet, Blake Bone, and tight end C.J. Conrad. Ryan Timmons, who has also seen significant playing time, also returns. They provide a good mix of size, speed, and playmaking ability for quarterback Drew Barker to target.
Getting all five of the top receivers back, along with a new wide receivers coach means there will likely be an upward trend in receiving yards and receptions from this group this season.
With Kentucky football still working on their rebuild process, it’s great to see that some of the better players and star position groups are getting recognition for their abilities. We hope to see more deserved media recognition as this preseason continues.