Last week, Benny Snell Jr. set a new milestone in his final game as a Kentucky Wildcat, where he became the school’s leading rusher in school history.
Snell came into this game needing 107 yards for the record and there was no way he wasn’t going to break the record. Benny ended up finishing the game with 26 carries for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns, just something light for the arguably best back in this upcoming draft.
Benny has been everything Kentucky could’ve ever asked for, breaking record after record during his tenure as a Wildcat. Here’s a list of milestones Benny has accomplished during his time at Kentucky.
- Started in all 13 games as a freshman
- Led the team in carries (262), rushing yards (1,333), rushing TDs (19) and rushing yards per game (102.5)
- Ended the regular season leading the SEC in rushing yards (1,318) on a league-high 256 carries with an SEC-high 18 touchdowns
- Ranked third in the SEC in rushing yards per game (102.5), third in scoring (8.9), second in scoring TDs (8.9) and fifth in all-purpose yards (107.1)
- Ranked fifth nationally in rushing TDs (19), ninth in total TDs (19), 23rd in total points scored (114), 18th in scoring per game (8.9), 25th in rushing yards (1,333), and 26th in rushing yards per game (102.5)
- In the last five regular-season games, totaled 777 yards and 12 touchdowns on 123 carries (6.3 yards per carry) … the only other SEC players to ever accomplish those numbers or better in a five-game span are LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Auburn’s Tre Mason
- In just 26 career games, has 2,424 rushing yards which ranks eighth all-time in program history … Needs 71 yards move up to No. 7 with Boom Williams (2,511 from 2014-16)
- Ninth player in school history to reach 2,000 in his career
19th player in SEC history to reach 2,000 career rushing yards prior to his junior season
- First player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons … Ran for 1,091 last year and had 1,333 this season
- Holds the school records for points in a season (116), TDs in a season (19), rushing TDs in a season (19), rushing TDs in a career (32) and rushing yards by a sophomore (1,333)
- Just the third player in SEC history to have at least 1,000 rushing yards and at least 13 rushing TDs in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, joining Herschel
Walker (Georgia, 1980-1981) and Knowshon Moreno (Georgia, 2007-2008)
- Only the third player in SEC history to have at least 2,424 yards and at least 31 career rushing touchdowns before his junior season, joining Georgia’s Herschel Walker and LSU’s Leonard Fournette
- Only SEC player since 2000 to have at least 116 rushing yards and at least three rushing TDs in three consecutive games
- Had seven 100-yard games this season (tied for second in school history with Moe Williams) and 12 in his career (fourth in school history)
- First player in school history with at least five 100- yard rushing games in back-to-back seasons
- First player in school history with 10 or more career 100-yard rushing games prior to his junior season
- Named SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week by the league office and SEC Offensive
- Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for his play vs. Tennessee2016- freshman season
- Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-American
- True Freshman All-American by ESPN and 247Sports
- Freshman All-SEC by the league coaches and Athlon Sports
- Second-team All-SEC pick by ProFootballFocus.com
- Two-time SEC Freshman of the Week
- Leading freshman scorer in the SEC with 78 points
- Set six UK freshman records, including most rushing touchdowns in a game (4), most rushing yards by a freshman (1,091), most rushing touchdowns by a freshman
(13), most total touchdowns by a freshman (13), most 100-yard rushing games (5) and most rushing yards by a freshman in a single game (192)
- Finished the season with 1,091 rushing yards, a UK freshman record … Moe
Williams held the previous record with 928 yards in 1993
- The 1,091 rushing yards ranks sixth on the UK single-season rushing list
- First freshman in school history to top 1,000 yards rushing
- Had 13 rushing touchdowns (a UK freshman record) and tied for second-most in school history … Moe Williams set the record with 17 rush TDs in 1995
- Had five 100-yard games which is the UK freshman record, breaking the previous record of four held by Chris Jones in 1979 and Moe Williams in 1993
- Tied for second in the SEC and ranked 30th nationally in rushing TDs (13)
- Second on the team and ninth in the SEC in rushing yards per game with 83.9
- Became the first UK player with a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games
since Derrick Locke in 2010 (Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee) … The first freshman to do so since Randall Cobb in 2008
- Became the first freshman in school history with 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games
- First freshman with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games since Derick Logan on Oct. 26 – Nov. 9 – Nov. 16, 1996
- Averaged 10.9 yards per carry against Austin Peay, the best average for a Wildcat with at least 14 carries since Mark Higgs averaged 13.7 per attempt vs. Ole Miss in 1987
- Made his first career start vs. Georgia, rushing 21 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns
- His 192 yards rushing yards at Missouri set a school record for most rushing yards by a freshman in a single game … The previous high was Derick Logan’s 186 yards against Mississippi State on Nov. 9, 1996
- The 192 rushing yards tie for the ninth most in a single game in school history and the most since Rafael Little rushed for 198 yards vs. Vanderbilt on Nov. 12, 2005
- Had a career-high 38 carries at Missouri, the most since Derick Logan had 41 attempts vs. Mississippi State in 1996
- Led UK in rushing with 19 carries for 128 yards and one touchdown in the win over Mississippi State
- Rushed 20 times for 94 yards in the win over Vanderbilt … On the last drive of the game, had 44 yards on eight carries
- Rushed a game-high 16 times for 73 yards and the game-winning TD in the win over South Carolina
- His four touchdowns vs. New Mexico State tied the school record for most rushing touchdowns in a single game, joining four previous Wildcats to reach that mark …
- He is only the second freshman to do it, tying Don Phelps’ four scores vs. Michigan State on Nov. 2, 1946 sophomore season
Too much? Sorry, I got a little carried away there.
Benny has been an absolute force of nature for this Kentucky team and now its time to bring that game to the big stage. He is very capable of being a workhorse back in the league.
Not only does Benny’s game show how much of a difference maker he can be, but I think most of his success comes from the way he carries himself. Benny isn’t the type of guy to say, “I this, I that.” He shows great loyalty to his teammates by praising them for his success. Snell isn’t just playing football, but he’s is genuinely having fun whenever he steps foot on the field, which is important.
Really quick, have you ever hear of Saquon Barkley? Of course, you have. The Heisman nominee who is now one of the top candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Now I’m not saying Snell is going to be better, but here’s a comparison of two’s college careers.
- 3,843 rush yds
- 5.7 YPC
- 43 rush TD’s
Benny Snell Jr.
- 3,873 rush yds
- 5.3 YPC
- 48 rush TD’s
Obviously, Saquon is the better player by far, given his dynamic ability as a runner and receiver. However, when you look at both conferences (Big 10 and SEC), Benny does have a slight edge regarding the competition and defenses he went up against. It’s just intriguing to look at how both fared on the ground.
This was a huge year for Snell, as he was the leading rusher in the SEC with 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 5 YPC. There are some teams out there who are looking for a run game and I would recommend Benny to all of them. I can’t wait to see where he ends up in this upcoming draft.
Photo: John Raoux / Associated Press