Forget the team record for a second and let’s bask in some of the brilliance of Kentucky’s individual performers.
A handful of Wildcats were given shoutouts by two different media outlets, Saturday Down South and Pro Football Focus, for their efforts this past week as some of the Southeastern Conference’s top players.
Starting with SDS, they tabbed linebacker Jamin Davis, the do-it-all man on defense for the ‘Cats, as the eighth-best SEC player through six weeks of action.
Power ranking the top 10 players in the SEC after Week 6 https://t.co/D2Mw0CAtLV
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) November 3, 2020
Here’s what Neil Blackmon had to say about the 6-foot-4 junior:
Speaking of relentless players, Davis does everything for a salty Kentucky defense and is very quietly one of the SEC’s best.
Jamin Davis today:
– Double-digit tackles for 4th game in a row
– Blocked a Field Goal
– Forced a Fumble
– Recorded a Pass Break-Up.
Guy has done nothing but put in work for the past month.
— Braden Ramsey (@braden_ramsey) October 31, 2020
The above was his game against Georgia, quite an afternoon for a player who contributes for 4 downs. Davis enters Kentucky’s bye week near the SEC lead in a number of categories — tackles (2nd), interceptions (2nd) and forced fumbles (2nd). Kentucky has the league’s best linebackers outside of Tuscaloosa and Athens, and Davis is their anchor.
But the praise didn’t stop there; Davis was also named the top linebacker among all SEC teams through six weeks of conference football by PFF. Along with Davis, offensive tackle Darian Kinnard and running back Chris Rodriguez were listed as the best at their respective positions. PFF graded Davis with a rating of 79.8 while Kinnard graded at 90.5 and Rodriguez at 87.5.
QB: Mac Jones, Alabama
RB: Chris Rodriguez Jr, Kentucky
Highest-graded SEC player at every position??https://t.co/Oqa41BvbeJ
— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 3, 2020
Here’s what Zach Tantillo had to say about the Kentucky Football trio:
RUNNING BACK: CHRIS RODRIGUEZ JR., KENTUCKY — 87.5
Rodriguez has made the most of his opportunities while not necessarily holding on to a typical bell-cow role. Rodriguez is handling 38% of all rushing attempts for the Wildcats, while fellow running back Asim Rose and quarterbacks Terry Wilson and Joey Gatewood combine for 55% of the team’s carries.
Despite splitting carries with two dual-threat quarterbacks and another running back, Rodriguez ranks as one of the more efficient backs in the SEC. The redshirt sophomore has recorded either a first down or touchdown on 40.0% of his carries, the highest rate among all SEC running backs. Since Week 5, 55% of his carries have gained 5-plus yards, and he has averaged an SEC-leading 6.1 yards per carry.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE: DARIAN KINNARD, KENTUCKY — 90.5
Darian Kinnard leads a Kentucky offensive line that grades as the top offensive line unit in the SEC and seventh nationally. Kinnard has been consistent while pass blocking, giving up only one sack on 156 pass-blocking snaps this season.
LINEBACKER: JAMIN DAVIS, KENTUCKY — 79.8
In his first season starting full-time at linebacker, Jamin Davis has proven that he belongs among the conference’s best. The redshirt junior ranks first in PFF grade and run-defense grade while ranking third in coverage grade among SEC linebackers.
Davis contributes to all facets of the game for Kentucky. He has picked off two passes in coverage, recorded 15 defensive stops and ranks second in total tackles among SEC linebackers.
Despite the result of Saturday’s game against Missouri, we can at least take solace in knowing that not everything is as bad as it might seem.