1. The Cats leading rusher returns. Last year’s offense didn’t WOW too many people, but true freshman Jojo Kemp brought brought the Mojo every time he took the field last season. He finished his first year with 482 yards and 3 touchdowns on 100 carries, becoming the first freshman to lead Kentucky in rushing since his coach Chad Scott did it in 2000.
2. He was a freshmen phenom with a bum ankle. We knew Jojo was playing “banged up” last year, but it was difficult to gauge how “banged up” he was until Neal Brown broke it down in detail earlier this week.
The Cats’ primary run play last season was a middle zone read, requiring the running back to attack the double team before making a cut to the open hole. Unfortunately for Jojo, his cut to the hole was a step slow because his ankle wouldn’t allow him to make the cut in one step, it required two. That extra step can make a HUGE difference in yards, making him an extra step quicker this Fall.
3. He’ll do literally whatever it takes to get on the field. It’s no secret the Cats have a good problem at running back with five suitable playmakers at the position. Jojo isn’t letting that intimidate him one bit. Early in camp he told reporters that he didn’t care what position he had to play, he’d play it to be on the field. He’ll learn to snap and play center or play nickelback on defense, whatever it takes. Luckily I thinkJon Toth and Blake McClain have already locked up those spots.
Gameday BONUS: Jojo makes football an art form. One of Jojo’s hidden passions is his love for art. During down time between classes in the offseason, he’ll often visit the art museum at the Singletary Art Center on campus. I caught Jojo off guard after practice when I asked him why he took such an interest in art. After talking for a few minutes, we decided that the football field was his personal canvas, “I’m like Picasso with the rock in my hands.”