Snell faces different offseason decision than last year’s juniors


Kentucky Wildcats running back Benny Snell Jr. (26) walks over to the stands to meet with some fans following the game against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 34-23. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

On Saturday, Kentucky football honored its 16 seniors who played their final game in Kroger Field, but the seniors might not of been the only players to have played their final game in Kroger Field yesterday.

Kentucky’s star running back Benny Snell is one of UK’s juniors who could go pro after this season, meaning yesterday’s game would have been his final in Kroger Field.

“I made sure I enjoyed it, every bit of it,” Snell said of yesterday’s game.

Snell said after the game that he has yet to make a decision, and plans to talk with those close to him soon on what path he should take in the offseason.

“Maybe after this game or after the bowl game, I’ll go home, talk to my ‘Snell Yeah’ company, my family will be there, we’ll all sit down, have some coffee and talk about it,” Snell said.

Last offseason some of Kentucky’s star juniors, Josh Allen, Jordan Jones and Mike Edwards, decided to come back to Kentucky for their senior season and push back their NFL dreams one year. Those decisions proved to be good ones for those players, especially Allen, who is almost a lock to be a first round pick this year compared to a mid-round pick last year. 

Some might believe that head coach Mark Stoops will deliver a similar speech to Snell this offseason, telling him what he could accomplish with one extra season. However, according to Stoops, his advice for Snell will be completely different compared to the defensive player’s advice. 

“What he’s done, and the upside, he stands some to lose by coming back where other guys, they all gained by coming back,” Stoops said. “That position’s really different.” 

One of the things that drives Snell this season is the goals he sets for himself, and the big one on the list is Sonny Collins’ career rushing record for UK.

“That’s one of the records that I have in my room, but I take it game-by-game and I keep those goals in my mind,” Snell said. 

Snell needs 207 yards in the final two games to break Collins’ record. If Snell successfully achieved that mark, it would seem like Snell has nothing else to return for besides bigger and more difficult records.

However, that is Snell’s decision to make, and he likely won’t make any officially announcements till at least after the regular season finale. Snell could decide to skip the bowl game and go pro, as some top college football athletes have done in years past.

If Snell goes, he would be handing the running back keys to A.J. Rose, who has proven capable at times this season. Rose has 321 yards on the season while rushing for four touchdowns this season. 

“If he was to go to the NFL, there won’t be any lack off,” Rose said. “It’ll be the same thing and keep it going. I feel like I can do a lot.”

Stoops will have a conversation with Snell when it’s time to decide what his future will be, but he isn’t planning to have a lengthy discussion with his star running back.

“I don’t think it will be a long conversation,” Stoops said.