Snell Jr. named to Walter Camp POY watch list

Published 1:45 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2018

LEXINGTON — University of Kentucky junior running back Benny Snell Jr., has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2018 Walter Camp Player of the Year award. College football’s fourth-oldest individual honor is awarded by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Snell Jr. led the Southeastern Conference in rushing touchdowns (19) and ranked third in total rushing yardage (1,333) and rushing yards per game (102.5) in 2017. His 1,333 rushing yards set a school record for most rushing yards by a sophomore. He also became the first player in school history to record 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

The 5-foot-11, 223-pounder also is a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back, and the Maxwell Award, given to the college Player of the Year. He recently was voted first-team Preseason All-SEC by the league’s media.

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Snell, who already ranks eighth on the UK career rushing list (2,424 yards), is only the third player in SEC history to have at least 2,424 yards and at least 31 career rushing touchdowns before his junior season, joining Georgia’s Herschel Walker and LSU’s Leonard Fournette. He also holds the school records for total rushing touchdowns (32), most rushing touchdowns in a season (19) and most points in a season (116). In just 26 career games, Snell has climbed up to No. 7 on UK’s career scoring list.

Snell is one of 50 players on the watch list for the Walter Camp Award, including 38 offensive players and 12 from the defensive side of the ball. The list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists in November with the winner voted on by 129 NCAA FBS head coaches and sports information directors and announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6 on ESPN.

Another Wildcat has also gained national attention during the preseason. Kentucky sophomore wide receiver/return man Lynn Bowden, Jr. was named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list. The Hornung Award recognizes the most versatile player in college football.

Bowden, who hails from Youngstown, Ohio, is expected to be a force for the Wildcats both as a wide receiver and kickoff returner in 2018. Despite a slow start to his freshman season, Bowden ultimately set three school freshman records for kick returns and was named to the Coaches’ All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team as a return specialist.

In 2017, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder caught 17 passes for 210 yards, rushed 12 times for 37 yards and returned 37 kicks for 869 yards, an average of 23.5 yards per return. He also completed 3-of-4 passes for 92 yards, showing off the skills that made him a star quarterback at Warren Harding High School.

Bowden set UK freshman records for most returns in a season, most returns in a game (seven, vs. Louisville) and most kickoff yards in a season. He was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 9 after piling up 128 all-purpose yards in a 40-34 win over Missouri. Late in the season he had UK’s longest kick return since 2009, a 93-yarder in a win at Vanderbilt that was part of his career-high 192 all-purpose yards that day.

The Hornung Award honors College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, who is considered one of the most versatile players in football history. He won the 1956 Heisman Trophy as Notre Dame’s quarterback and was the top pick in the 1957 National Football League Draft.

The Award is given annually by the Louisville Sports Commission and was created in 2010. Previous winners include Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU, 2013), Christian McCaffrey (Stanford, 2015) and Saquon Barkley (Penn State, 2017).