The day has finally come for former Kentucky star running back Benny Snell to show the world what he’s made of against all of the top prospects in the draft.
The NFL Combine officially opens its doors for competition today, with the running backs rolling at 1:00 p.m. ET. The offensive line and special teams will also participate in testing throughout the day.
Let’s take a closer look at everything that has happened up to this point for Benny at the event and his schedule for this afternoon.
Benny Snell kicks off the NFL Combine
From a pure measurement standpoint, Snell came in with official testing numbers of…
- Height: 5-10 3/8
- Weight: 224 pounds
- Hand: 9 3/8 inches
- Arm: 31 inches
- Wingspan: 74 2/8 inches
On the bench, Snell completed 16 reps, tied for 20th among all participating running backs.
He tied or beat the likes of Damien Harris of Alabama (16), Alex Ingold of Wisconsin (16), Devin Singletary of FAU (15), and Nick Brossette of LSU (15), among others.
RB Benny Snell: 16 reps on the bench #Kentucky
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 28, 2019
“You can’t measure a person’s heart.”
When the media session opened up, Snell did what he does best, stealing the show yet again in front of both local and national reporters.
The most important narrative he was trying to punch home? No matter what happens during the testing process or during drills, you’re never going to find a more passionate player with a will to win like him. His impact extends well beyond the pure numbers.
“When you need me in critical times, I make things happen,” he said. “I usually make something out of nothing. I just see myself as a productive player, a real passionate player. You can’t measure a person’s heart. … There’s things behind football you can’t measure.”
Third-person Benny is back
During SEC Media Days prior to last college football season, Snell took the world by storm by announcing he’s the best running back in the SEC. In front of rival players, coaches, and media members, the former Wildcat wanted everyone to know just how confident he is in his craft.
And you better believe he used his platform at the NFL Combine to do the same thing yesterday.
He told the world this is the moment he’s been waiting for his whole life before slipping into a little third-person…
“I’m very excited. I’m very ready,” he said. “This is what I’ve been dreaming for ever since I was a young one. I’m excited. I don’t want to overthink it. I just wanna be Benny Snell on the field. He’s great when he just plays football, so I wanna play football and have fun.”
When asked if he goes third-person with the NFL personnel and media, the former Wildcat didn’t hold back.
“I go third person with whoever it is,” he said.
B-B-B-Benny and the Jets (or Bears)?
Snell didn’t want to show his hand too much about which teams are the most interested and who he has been in contact with, but he did let two teams slip: the New York Jets and the Chicago Bears.
With the Jets, he admitted to that one because his great uncle, Matt Snell, was a standout in Super Bowl III when he rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown in the victory over the Baltimore Colts.
“You got lucky with that one,” he laughed. “I did meet with the Jets. We talked history. We talked about Matt (Snell), what I would bring to the team, and we talked about how great Jamal Adams is. I would love to be with a great player like him.”
With the Bears, he said he has been talking with them, going as far as to say he has been training in Lexington with Chicago star running back Jordan Howard.
“I’ve been learning from Jordan,” he said. He comes back and trains at Kentucky. My strength and conditioning coach, Coach Hill, was at Indiana, and that’s where Jordan Howard was at. It all worked out. I’ve got to talk to Jordan a little bit. It’s all cool.”
Former Kentucky target Damien Harris has high praise for Benny
At one point, former five-star Kentucky high school standout Damien Harris was UK’s biggest target in the class of 2015. After choosing national titles at Alabama over local celebrity status at Kentucky, Harris could not be more complimentary of the player that ended up being his replacement in blue and white.
A mighty fine one, at that.
“Benny Snell is a great player,” he said. “Nobody can deny that, nobody can take that away from him. His accomplishments, along with the rest of the team, have been remarkable over the last three years he’s been there.
He continued to praise Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football program.
“Coach Stoops has done a really great job, I still maintain a pretty close relationship with him even though I decided to go to Alabama,” he said. “The success that he’s had, Benny had, guys like Josh Allen, all those guys, it’s truly remarkable.”
Check out the full clip:
— Lee K. Howard (@HowardWKYT) February 28, 2019
In response to Harris’ comments, Snell said he’s glad things worked out the way they did. Harris got to become a national champion playing for one of the greatest college football coaches in history, while Snell became a superstar in Lexington, shattering every rushing record placed in front of him at Kentucky.
“I do remember Damien was going to come to Kentucky, but it worked out for both of us,” he said.
Snell will begin his on-field testing at 1:00 p.m. ET today.
Other Wildcats at the Combine
While Benny Snell will be the only player participating in on-field testing, defensive backs will be going through registration, interviews, and exams, while tight ends, wide receivers, and quarterbacks will participate in the bench press, the Wonderlic, and speak with the media.
This means we should hear news/updates from Derrick Baity, Lonnie Johnson, Mike Edwards, Darius West, and CJ Conrad throughout the day.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) February 28, 2019
“The Journey” is back
What has become one of the BBN’s favorite post-victory traditions, the folks at UK video have released yet another edition of “The Journey” for your viewing pleasure.
This time, they give us an inside look at some of the pregame discussion, slow-motion footage of Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and several other Wildcats making big plays, and some postgame soundbites from Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
Take a look:
Down 15. Without one of our key players. And our opponent was on fire from behind the arc.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 1, 2019
It never gets old.
Sacha Killeya-Jones is going pro
On February 13, North Carolina State head coach Kevin Keatts announced former Kentucky forward Sacha Killeya-Jones was “no longer on the team.”
Last night, the former Wildcat officially made the decision to leave the school and pursue his dream as a professional basketball player.
Killeya-Jones made the following announcement on Twitter:
— sacha killeya-jones (@SKJ) March 1, 2019
Sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, the former Wildcat never played a minute at NC State.
In two years at Kentucky, Killeya-Jones averaged a combined three points per game on 58 percent shooting, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in just over 10 minutes per contest. He finished with a career-high 12 points against UT Martin in 2016.
Kentucky football commit Richie Leonard: two-sport star?
Richie Leonard, a 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive tackle out of Cocoa, FL, may be committed to Kentucky for football, but right now he’s turning heads for something he did on the basketball floor.
Leonard, who committed to Kentucky over offers from Florida State, Miami, Oregon, Tennessee, and Louisville, among others, threw down this ridiculous self-toss alley-oop slam in his Cocoa High School gymnasium:
— Richie Leonard IV™ (@Rhl4Richie) February 28, 2019
315 pounds getting off the floor like that? Mighty impressive.
We’ll have more on Snell and the other participating Wildcats throughout the day.
Happy Friday, BBN.