Freshman Benny Snell is making the biggest impact by a Kentucky Freshman in school history, but what about in the SEC? Snell is second in the SEC in rushing yards and tied for first overall in rushing touchdowns. There is a very strong case for Snell to win SEC Freshman of the Year, even with a field of strong candidates.
For those that have watched Kentucky over the last ten weeks, it’s pretty easy to see the effect that Snell has had for the Kentucky offense. With Drew Barker going down, the combo of Snell and Boom Williams has alleviated a lot of pressure off Stephen Johnson. With the added carries, Snell has averaged 5.8 yards a touch (12th in the SEC) in seven starts. He has excellent stats and is in the top ten in most categories, but Snell’s campaign for Freshman of the Year could be made for his overall impact on the offense.
With the combo of Snell and Williams, it has opened up Eddie Gran’s offense and allowed Johnson to not have to make as many big throws. In terms of impact on a team, voters could look at what Snell has done for his team and the situation he has stepped into as a freshman. If you are a stats person, Snell is third among freshmen nationally in rushing yards and second in the SEC and is tied for first in rushing touchdowns.
Snell’s biggest competition comes from Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams. Both guys play for top ten teams and will play in big games near the end of the season. Hurts has accounted for 22 total touchdowns as the quarterback for the #1 team in the country. Williams is only 29 rushing yards ahead of Snell and has six touchdowns on the ground. Williams’ stock has dropped as the former four-star recruit has only totaled 100 yards in his last three games. Williams will get more carries as A&M QB Trevor Knight is out for the season, but it will be difficult for him to make up lost ground after rushing for 51 yards in A&M’s two losses.
So what does Benny need to do to win? Another 100 yard game at Tennessee followed by a stat-piling game against Austin Peay would almost make it a two horse race with Hurts. Snell will get over 1,000 yards for the season, despite only touching the ball in 75% of UK’s games. Along with that impressive feat, Snell also has an opportunity to lead the SEC in rushing scores. If he were to win, Snell would join Derick Logan as the only SEC Freshman of the Year in UK history.