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Darian Kinnard is primed to be the SEC’s best offensive tackle

The massive offensive tackle is Kentucky’s best NFL Draft prospect since Josh Allen.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The most important position groups in football, especially in the SEC, are the offensive and defensive lines. It all begins and ends in the trenches.

Well, the Kentucky Wildcats return arguably the best offensive line, and best offensive lineman, in the entire conference—Darian Kinnard.

A lot of Kentucky fans might think of Kentucky natives Drake Jackson and Landon Young when they think about the Big Blue Wall, but Kinnard is the best of the bunch, and UK’s best NFL Draft prospect since Josh Allen.

So, let’s get to know why he’s so good and so important.

Darian Kinnard

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • Class: Junior
  • Measurements: 6-5, 347 lbs.
  • Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee
  • School: St. Ignatius (Ohio)
  • Recruit Rankings: No. 314 nationally, No. 22 OT via 247 Sports Composite Rankings

The former four-star recruit and US Army All-American was a highly sought-after recruit coming out of high school. He held offers from the Penn State Nittany Lions, Tennessee Volunteers, and UCLA Bruins, among many others.

Despite growing up in Knoxville, Kinnard was born in Youngstown, Ohio (Mark Stoops and Vince Marrow’s hometown), which is why the relationship between him, Stoops, and Marrow flourished quickly. And with the help of John Schlarman, he’s become Kentucky’s and the SEC’s best offensive lineman.

Kinnard played in nine games as a freshman, including starting two of the last three. His insane talent was apparent from the start as he had no penalties or missed assignments and did not allow any quarterback sacks.

However, Kinnard didn’t really show how amazing he was until last year, his sophomore season. During this time, Kinnard started in all 13 games. He had 32 knockdowns and only one penalty in 706 snaps. Even more impressive is in those 706 snaps, Kinnard only allowed one sack.

Kinnard has been named Preseason First-Team All-SEC by multiple media outlets, and projected by some to be a high NFL Draft pick.

According to PFF, the massive offensive tackle is the highest-rated returning offensive lineman in the SEC. Young is second for offensive tackles, but there’s a huge gap between the two, and another big gap between Young and third place.

Kinnard will be a force this year in Lexington. The only bad thing is this will probably be his last season rocking the blue and white, as Kinnard is widely expected to turn pro following what’s looking to be another monster season.

But all Kinnard cares about is how much he can improve each day.

“Just need to keep improving every day,” Kinnard told Larry Vaught. “Not saying I know the keys (to being the best) because it is up to other people’s opinions. I am going to keep improving and show I am one of the most dominant players in the league.”

Regardless, he’s here now and guys like Darian Kinnard are the reason Kentucky football has changed so much since Stoops took over. Not only is he apart of the best running game and offensive line in the country, but he’s the best player of the bunch.

Enjoy his last season, BBN. And watch him dominate.

Go Cats!