It seems like forever ago even though it has only been almost two weeks, but search your brain and hearken back to the Louisville game. If you remember it like I do, the most explosive player on the field for Kentucky wasn’t even a starter. It was backup freshman running back JoJo Kemp. Watching the game I found myself waiting for Kemp to come running in from the sidelines, and when he did he did not disappoint. On Twitter, there was a clamoring for Kemp to get more touches (shout out to Wildcat Corey) and Mark Stoops even said JoJo would see more playing time. Earlier in the week Kemp was named as the number one running back along with Raymond Sanders. As a result, he will now get even more touches come Saturday, something Kentucky will need to utilize against a speedy Gator defense.
Against the dirty birds, Kemp had only five carries but was able to break for eighty yards on the ground. That kind of speed and elusiveness is something that Raymond Sanders has been lacking, and with the freshman getting more touches he could soon take over the starting job. On Saturday, Kemp will need to use every ounce of that SEC speed as he faces the Gators in Commonwealth. If Jalen or Max can rely on JoJo for a check down under pressure, that will be a key to avoiding turnovers as well as sacks. Kemp has the kind of ability that he could take one of the check downs for a first down and a big gain. Against Western, Kemp had just one carry for nine yards, but stepped up against Miami putting up seventy-eight yards on twelve carries, rushing for an average of six and a half yards per carry. Against Louisville, he posted an eleven yard reception to go along with the eighty yards I mentioned previously. Kemp also put up a 1,500 yard season in his senior year of high school in Deland, FL. Seeing a trend? Kemp has a knack for busting open his carries for big yards and boasting high yards per carry averages.
JoJo may be easy to overlook seeing as he is only 5’10, but if the Gators overlook him on Saturday they will be in for a world of trouble. Kemp was one of Mark Stoops’ biggest recruits he brought with him to Kentucky and if he plays like the three star running back he was heralded as, he will be the X-factor. If Kentucky pulls off the upset in Commonwealth and ends the streak, the defense will have to be huge and the quarterbacks will be given a ton of credit. But, don’t forget about the offense’s most dynamic weapon, JoJo Kemp. If Kentucky beats Florida it will mean JoJo shows out like we know he can and everyone in the Big Blue Nation will know his name, so keep an eye trained on JoJo.