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Austin MacGinnis will go down as a Kentucky Wildcats legend

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Kentucky fans should be thankful for having Austin MacGinnis these past four years

Kentucky v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Austin MacGinnis has been a treasure for the Kentucky Wildcats the last four years, and as the senior walks off the field at Kroger Field on Saturday, he will leave as arguably the most decorated kicker in the program’s history.

After committing to play under Joker Phillips while finishing his career at Prattville High School in Alabama as one of the top kicker prospects in the country, MacGinnis red-shirted his freshman year, and took over kicking duties as a redshirt freshman in 2014.

From there, MacGinnis went down a path that has led him to be remembered as arguably the best Wildcat kicker in history.

There is no doubt that MacGinnis will be remembered down the road for his game-winning kicks against Mississippi State and Louisville, arguably two of the biggest kicks in recent program history.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if MacGinnis misses those two kicks, the UK football program probably looks a whole lot different than it does now. There would have been no bowl game last year, instead another 5-7 season. Recruiting probably takes a negative hit and who knows what happens from there.

But from 2014-2017, MacGinnis has been one of the most reliable kickers in the conference.

During his four years, MacGinnis has connected on 70 of 88 field goal attempts, good for a 79.5 percent conversion rate. As of writing, that would place him 10th all-time in SEC history in field goal percentage. That also is the best in school history.

This season alone, MacGinnis is 20-25, with three of those misses coming from 50+ yards. Inside 50 yards, MacGinnis is 18-20 on the year.

MacGinnis holds the UK record for field goals made in a career, is the leading scorer in Wildcats history, and holds nearly every kicking record in the book.

Off the field, MacGinnis has been an example of the type of student-athlete fans should be proud of.

Visiting sick children in the hospital while in Tampa for a bowl game, a service/education trip to Ethiopia to visit prisons, care for orphans and widows, and renovate houses, working with Special Olympics, and serving food at homeless shelters are just a few things MacGinnis has been known for around the Lexington community, and almost certainly there is more that has gone unreported.

I could rave on and on about MacGinnis because I think over the course of these last four years, he has been as critical to the rebuilding process as any player. Mark Stoops and this coaching staff have been blessed to have a kicker as consistent and composed as MacGinnis.

And if we are being honest, MacGinnis’ performance is one of the reasons Stoops isn’t on the hot seat in Lexington. Those kicks against MSU and UofL last year were program-changing plays.

And on Senior Day, I hope MacGinnis receives a thundering ovation from the Wildcats fanbase.

MacGinnis may not have a ton of NFL success, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he finds a ton of success there too. He has all the tools and abilities to succeed at the next level.

As Mark Story wrote in the Lexington Herald-Leader last month, no full-time kicker in Kentucky football history has ever been inducted into the UK Football Hall of Fame.

To be honest, I agree. When the appropriate time comes, I think MacGinnis deserves a spot. Kentucky should honor him for coming through in the biggest of moments on the gridiron, and being a critical piece to the rebuilding of Kentucky’s football program.