Kentucky football is getting a good deal of preseason attention, as several Wildcats have made their way onto preseason award watch lists.
Defensive back Mike Edwards (Jim Thorpe Award), linebacker Josh Allen (Butkus Award) and Benny Snell (Doak Walker Award, Maxwell Award) have all been named to preseason watch lists in the past week.
Edwards, on the Thorpe Award watch list for the best defensive back in college football, is one of a few stars on the defensive side of the ball for Kentucky. He considered skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft, but elected to return to UK. He led the team in total tackles last year with 96, and also led the team with four interceptions.
Allen, on the Butkus Award watch list for the best linebacker in college football, is likely to the biggest star on this year’s defensive unit. A potential first-round NFL Draft pick next year, Allen also considered skipping his senior season, but decided to return as well. Allen led the team in sacks and tackles for loss last year, with seven sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He’ll be the leader of this year’s defense, and if he lives up to expectations, he could see himself on the semifinalist list at the end of October.
Snell, on the Walker Award watch list for the best running back in college football and the Maxwell Award watch list for the most outstanding player in college football, is without a doubt the star of Kentucky’s 2018 team. The rising junior holds Kentucky’s single-season rushing yardage and rushing touchdown record, as well as the career rushing touchdown record, and could have the program’s career rushing yardage record by the end of his junior year.
These three will lead the Wildcats into the 2018 season, a year in which Kentucky hopes to make its third consecutive bowl game.