Every year, the lead-up to bowl season ends up being a tad controversial when it comes to star players and their NFL Draft stock. In several instances, namely with Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Jaire Alexander, and Derwin James, among others, players decide to skip the bowl to avoid potential injury.
And for the first time in school history, Kentucky has several players with serious decisions to make when it comes to their upcoming bowl appearance.
Whether it be due to injury concerns or worry of hurting draft stock, Josh Allen, Benny Snell, CJ Conrad, and Mike Edwards are all players that could potentially hold out. Luckily for the Big Blue Nation with their hearts set on making the trip to see their favorite Wildcats one last time, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops believes they will all be playing, regardless of the destination or opponent.
He’s out recruiting in Louisville right now with his coaching staff, but when he gets back, he’ll get a definitive answer.
“I do, I’ve been on the road since after the game basically, and I’m gonna get back tomorrow, ” Stoops said on his weekly radio show this evening. “I do, but if some don’t, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. All indication I’ve had from the guys just talking to them about their future (shows they’ll play).”
In fact, Snell, Conrad, and Allen have actually talked to Stoops about game planning for the bowl game, an obviously good sign.
“All indication I have is that they’re coming back and playing in the game,” he said. “I think Benny mentioned that, and I think CJ has mentioned it to me. I talked to Josh Allen and he and I talked about the game and what was going on with the game. Every indication I have is that they’re going to play. I’ll get back, and if it’s any different from that, we’ll talk about it. ”
After the Louisville game, Snell said he “(wasn’t) done yet.”
“As of now, I’m playing in the bowl game. I’m not done yet,” he said. “To add on to this, it’s not really important, but I keep it in my mind. The all-time rushing record, I got 100 tonight, so I need 100 more, and the bowl game would help me with that.”
Stoops said all of the focus has been on game prep, but now that the regular season is over, he’ll help with any agent or draft decisions the eligible players have.
“I try not to get to much into that because I’ve been wanting everyone to stay focused on what we had to do, and that was winning our last game,” he said. “That was all of our attention, and I don’t like diverting from that much. I have a great relationship with these guys and have a good idea what they’re doing, and I want to be there for them to help them with agents and the decisions they have coming up.”