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Kentucky’s running back success in recent years is worth appreciating

Mark Stoops has created a legacy of exceptional running backs.

Chris Rodriguez Chris Humphrey Photo

As another Kentucky Wildcats season is coming to a close and some uncertainty about who will play in the bowl game, it’s worth noting something that has been obvious to fans, but is truly impressive when you think about it.

Kentucky’s recent success with running backs is worth appreciating.

As senior Chris Rodriguez’s career comes to an end, Rodriguez sits at third on the all-time rushing list with 3,643 career rushing yards, only 230 yards away from passing his predecessor Benny Snell for the program record.

Think about that for a second. Kentucky’s last two featured running backs have the opportunity to be the school’s top two all-time leading rushers.

Kentucky Football fans have been blessed to have two exceptional running backs over the last several years between Snell and Rodriguez, and it’s also worth noting that neither came to Lexington as high-profile recruits.

Rodriguez came to Lexington as a three-star prospect, ranked as the 64th-best running prospect in the 2018 class and the 114th prospect in Georgia by the 247 Sports Composite rankings.

At the time of his commitment in July 2017, none of the major recruiting services really didn’t even have an evaluation of him, although he picked Kentucky over offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

As for Snell, he was also a three-star recruit, ranked as the 56th running back in the class and the 38th prospect in Ohio, choosing Kentucky over offers from Iowa, Boston College, and Cincinnati.

Those three-star prospects who came to Lexington with little to no fanfare turned out to be two of the most beloved Kentucky Football players in a long time, and two of the best running backs to ever don the blue and white.

As Kentucky prepares to move on without Rodriguez next year, we may see another running back step up and take the reins, and continue on the legacy that has been set forth, but Cats fans should also realize how fortunate Kentucky has been with its recent string of success.

Not to mention guys like Boom Williams, AJ Rose, and JoJo Kemp, all of whom rank in the top 20 in school history in career rushing yards.

What Mark Stoops has done with Kentucky’s running game during his tenure has been remarkable, and the running backs that have come through deserve a ton of credit for what they’ve done for the UK Football program.