A member of the Big Blue Wall is getting some much-deserved recognition for his performance on and off the field. Senior offensive guard Luke Fortner was just named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
Fortner, a native of Sylvania, Ohio, graduated from UK in December 2019 with a degree in mechanical engineering and is currently working on a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He’s a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll and has three times been named to the Dean’s List. In 2019, Fortner was inducted into the school’s Frank G. Ham Society of Character which honors Wildcats who have shown an extraordinary commitment to academic excellence, athletic participation, personal development, career preparation and serving as a role model.
Last week, Fortner was also named to the 2020 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. His list of good deeds is long, but you may remember that he, along with other UK engineering students, played a significant role in helping a team of Toyota Manufacturing engineers design, test and manufacture a specially-built push cart vehicle through a project called “Lift Them Up.” The push cart vehicle provides a Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) patient the chance to both accompany the Wildcats on the Cat Walk and attend a game at Kroger Field. Last fall, he began visiting kids at the Children’s Hospital as part of the “Tuesdays with the Wildcats” program created by former Wildcat C.J. Conrad in 2018. Even during the pandemic, Fortner has stayed in touch with patients, partnering with teammate Max Duffy to create the “In the Huddle with KCH” video series in which they answered questions submitted to the KCH Facebook page. He also Zooms with patients weekly to answer questions and offer words of encouragement.
Entering his fourth season at Kentucky, Fortner has played in 33 career games with 14 starting assignments. In 2019, he totaled 27 knockdown blocks, no missed assignments, allowed only one sack, and had just one penalty in 646 plays. On Saturday, he had one tackle, bringing down Auburn’s Jamien Sherwood, who recovered Terry Wilson’s fumble in the fourth quarter.