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Darian Kinnard makes ESPN’s list of top 100 players in college football

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The UK offensive lineman is getting some well deserved recognition.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

ESPN just dropped their list of the top 100 college football players list for the upcoming season, and the lone Kentucky Wildcat on that list is senior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard.

The 345 pound tackle went from unranked entering last season to 67th overall, the third-best tackle on the list and the sixth-best offensive lineman.

“A 345-pound senior, Kinnard is a ferocious run-blocker for the physical Wildcats’ offense, and he’s nimble in pass protection — he allowed only three sacks all season while committing zero holding penalties,” ESPN wrote.

The well deserved recognition doesn’t stop there as Kinnard was also named preseason First-Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches and a Second Team All-American by the Associated Press. He’s also been graded by Pro Football Focus as College Football’s top run-blocking tackle for 2021.

After finishing last year as a Third Team All-American, the expectations are high for Kentucky’s senior offensive tackle.

Kinnard has 26 consecutive starts under his belt at right tackle, and with LSU transfer Dare Rosenthal taking over the left tackle duties, this is going to be one of the best offensive lines in the country yet again.

To add to the deck, Kinnard was named a preseason First Team All-American by Athlon Sports, USA Today, Walter Camp and Pro Football Focus, and was a preseason Second Team All-America choice by Phil Steele. Additionally, he was named first-team All-SEC by Athlon Sports, Media, Phil Steele and Walter Camp. He also is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman on offense or defense in college football, and the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

One thing Kentucky shouldn’t have issues with is running the ball behind Kinnard. While the quarterback play is still up in the air, we do know that newly named QB1 Will Levis will have plenty of time to make decisions behind this o-line.