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How Benny Snell helped Kentucky land Jemal Singleton

Snell continues to pay dividends for Kentucky.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky vs Penn State Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, Kentucky held a Pro Day for Benny Snell.

Obviously, Snell ended by being selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his career is off to a great start. But it seems that his presence continues to have an impact on Kentucky football.

There was a scout there that day named Jemal Singleton, and that visit to Lexington planted a seed that ended up with him deciding to join the Kentucky coaching staff.

Singleton was the running backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals at the time, and he has experience in Liam Coen’s style of offense. So he is obviously a perfect fit for what Kentucky needs as a running backs coach right now. But what led him to accept the job?

“I remember waking through these facilities, and I really didn’t realize Kentucky had what they had going on here,” Singleton said Thursday. “A lot of really good things that made me want to come down here. It’s going to be the easiest move I’ve ever made in coaching. Talking to Stoops, it was definitely something I wanted to come be a part of.”

Singleton was apparently blown away by Kentucky’s facilities as the talent that was in the locker room when he visited for Snell’s Pro Day. After that, Kentucky football was on his radar and he started to learn more about what the program was about. Singleton seems really encouraged by the talent he will be coaching from day one.

“I got to see some of the guys in the room, got to watch them play in the bowl game and some other games, as well,” Singleton said. “That was an intriguing part of it, knowing the room is pretty solid.”

Singleton went on to talk about how he looks for skill sets instead of build in a running back and how he believes you have to look at more than measurables.

“I like to think of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, drafted in the first round to the Kansas City Chiefs,” Singleton said. “You want to base it off of his 40-time, you probably don’t touch him. He ran a 4.6-plus 40-time, but he can make a guy miss in a phone booth. That’s the part, how do you make guys miss and do you have the skill to do that? It comes in a lot of sizes and shapes.”

I know a couple of guys, Chris Rodriguez and Kavosiey Smoke, that complement each other well and definitely know how to avoid getting hit. But that is just the beginning for the type of talent that Singleton things he can bring to Lexington. Since he was sold on the program after a single visit, why shouldn’t elite running backs be? Welcome to Lexington, Coach Singleton.