Now, our attention turns to who is coming back for another year and who is on their way to the NFL Draft.
We now know that Mark Stoops will have one of his best playmakers back in 2022, as Chris Rodriguez announced that he will be back for another season.
Rodriguez had another big season for Kentucky, as he used a 107-yard performance in the Citrus Bowl to pass Benny Snell for fifth-place on UK’s single-season rushing list, finishing with 1,378 yards on the season. C-Rod also had 10 rushing touchdowns.
Back in 2017, Snell rushed for 1,333 yards and 19 touchdowns. His 2018 season of 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns is the third-most in a single season, trailing only Lynn Bowden (1,468 in 2019) and Moe Williams (1,600 in 1995). Those are the marks Rodriguez will undoubtedly set as goals to reach during what will likely be his final collegiate season in 2022.
In Liam Coen’s offense, we saw Rodriguez get used a lot more in the passing game as he had 12 receptions for 56 yards and three receiving touchdowns, which are all career highs. Becoming a more consistent pass-catching threat will be a key thing C-Rod will look to improve to become a more complete back and enhance his NFL stock for the 2023 draft.
This is massive news for the Wildcats heading into 2022, and now they have Will Levis and Rodriguez back. The Cats’ offense is going to be stout once again next season, though it will be replacing much of its offensive line, so having the primary QB and RB back will definitely help make this an easier transition into next season when guys like Darian Kinnard and Luke Fortner are no longer here.
Rodriguez joins linebacker Jordan Wright, quarterback Will Levis and linebacker Jacquez Jones as Wildcats to announce they’re bypassing the 2022 NFL Draft for a return to Lexington for one more season.
Game 1 vs. Miami of Ohio can’t get here fast enough.