Jones, Snell placed on watch lists for individual regular season awards

Linebacker Jordan Jones #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a tackle during the first half of the TaxSlayer Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at EverBank Field on Saturday, December 31, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Chase Campbell

On Monday, two UK football players were placed on watch lists for prestigious individual awards. Junior linebacker Jordan Jones is in the running for the Chuck Bednarik award, while sophomore running back Benny Snell Jr. is on a list for the Maxwell award.

The Bednarik award is granted to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player. Last year, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen earned the award after accumulating 69 takes and 10.5 sacks last season. If Jones won the award, he’d be the first Cat to do so, and would join the likes of Manti Te’o and Ndamukong Suh as winners of the award.

Jones earned his spot on the watch list by ranking 16th nationally in solo tackles last year and third in total tackles. He also led the Cats in tackles for loss, easily making himself the star of the UK defense, while defining himself as one of the more dominant defenders in the nation.

The Maxwell award is granted to the nation’s most outstanding player, and it was last granted to Lamar Jackson of Louisville. If Snell were to win the award, he’d surely be in elite company. No Cat has ever won the award, but players like Peyton Manning, Tony Dorsett and Cam Newton have previously walked away with the Maxwell.

Snell’s spot on the watch list is due to his explosive freshman year, where he played as the counterpart to veteran running back Boom Williams in the backfield. Even while sharing time with Boom, Snell broke six freshman UK records, including most total touchdowns by a freshman (13) and most rushing yards in a single game by a freshman (192).

He was named a Freshman All-American by several news sources, including ESPN, and is looking to dominate for the Cats in only his second season.

A third Wildcat has also been nominated for an award due to his actions off the field, as it was announced Monday that linebacker Courtney Love would be one of the 146 nominees across all of college football for a spot on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes outstanding community service in college football.

Love leads UK in total community service hours (115) despite only being with the team since 2015. He’s volunteered with the UK Children’s Hospital, Read Across America and Amachi Central Kentucky, an organization that helps mentor children that have one or more parents affected by incarceration.

Love, Jones, Snell and the rest of the team are set to kickoff the new season on Sept. 2 at Southern Mississippi.