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Darian Kinnard still gathering info before making call on NFL Draft

Kinnard was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press on Monday.

Mississippi State v Kentucky Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats are getting ready to face off with the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday in the Gator Bowl.

However, a lot of attention is on the NFL Draft decisions that some of these players have to make.

One of the most important decisions is going to be from junior right tackle Darian Kinnard who has racked up All-SEC and All-American honors since the season ended.

On Monday, Kinnard was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press and was named to the AP and Coaches All-SEC teams.

If the Cats can get Kinnard back for his senior season, he would provide a massive boost to an offensive line that is going to look completely different in 2021 after it likely loses 3 starters.

In a press conference Monday, head coach Mark Stoops broke down the process of Kinnard’s decision and what the next steps are.

“Darian receiving All-American honors, no surprise there,” Stoops said. “I think he should be even higher. I think he’s really had a good year. If he decides to come back, in my opinion, he could be a consensus All-American. But where he’s at in that decision, he’s just gathering information. Darian’s been very thorough. He’s trying to talk to as many people as he can. I’ve tried to get him as much information as I can. I’m waiting to get back the official written documentation from the NFL and I believe Darian will lean heavily on that information. But I’m not sure. Like I said, we’ve had talks. I’m not going to constantly try to persuade Darian one way or the other.”

Stoops went on to note that it is his job to get Kinnard as much factual information he can from NFL people to help him make a decision.

“My job is to get him as much actual facts that I can from real people, from NFL people and not people just telling him everything he wants to hear. Because that’s one of the problems that happens with juniors. Everybody on the street and all the agents wants to tell him everything he wants to hear. Every player deserves that opportunity to play in the NFL. I want them to, and if the time is right, then we give them every blessing. So, I don’t know. I don’t know where it’s at. I want to get more information. I want to get the accurate information from the NFL, give him that feedback and have him make an accurate decision for him and his family. I love Darian either way. I think he’s going to be a pro, either way. That’s his decision and it’s my job to help get him real clean information.”

Over the last three seasons, Kinnard has started 25 games for Kentucky including 23 consecutive at right tackle. It would be nice to have Kinnard back for a 4th season in Lexington and add experienced talent to the offensive line but ultimately, he has to make the best decision for him and his future.