Who Are The Top Players From The Last Decade?
When the 2010’s began the Kentucky football program was coming off a fifth straight bowl game. However, things went downhill quickly in the early part of the decade. Now under Mark Stoops the future is as bright as it’s ever been. Four straight bowl games and two victories. You can see there are a lot of talented players that went through Lexington as we present Kentucky’s All-Decade Offense.
A Formidable Backfield
Quarterback- Stephen Johnson– Quite frankly the first position we did was the most difficult. Johnson or Terry Wilson, who guided Kentucky to a 10 win season last year. Or what about Mike Hartline, who starred in the early part of the decade?
In the end we went with Johnson, who took over in the third game of the 2016 season leading the Cats to two bowls. He threw for over 2,000 yards and rushed for 300 in each of his two seasons. In addition he orchestrated only the second win over Tennessee since 1984. Furthermore he led Kentucky to an upset of the Lamar Jackson led Louisville team in 2016.
Running Back 1- Benny Snell– When you think of Kentucky running backs, Benny is the name that comes to mind. During his three years in Lexington Snell ran for a school record 3,873 yards. He also set the school scoring mark with 48 touchdowns which puts him third all-time in SEC history. When he left school he either owned or shared 14 school records. Drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers Snell ran for 426 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season.
Running Back 2- Stanley “Boom” Williams– Going back to 2016 the “Boom and Benny Show” were quite the tandem. Both ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cats that season. For his career Boom ran for 2,513 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also averaged 6.8 yards a carry while at Kentucky.
Now that we’ve gone through the backfield, let’s move onto the receivers in our look at Kentucky’s all-decade offense. You’ll notice these first two have a lot of similarities.
The Receiving Corps
Wide Receiver 1 – Randall Cobb– Though he only played in the first year of the decade Cobb put up some incredible numbers. He had 84 catches for 1,017 yards and seven touchdowns. His reception total put him second in the SEC behind Alshon Jeffery.
Cobb actually came to Kentucky as a quarterback where he played his freshman year. However he moved to receiver while still lining up many times under center in the “Wildcat.” As a result he ran for 424 yards and five more scores. He only completed five passes in 2010 however three of them went for touchdowns.
As if he didn’t do enough Cobb also returned kickoffs and punts for Joker Phillips‘ team. In the process he racked up almost another thousand yards. Cobb was taken by Green Bay in the second round of the 2011 draft. He had his best year in 2014 with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a result he made the Pro-Bowl that year. After eight years with the Packers Cobb now plays for the Dallas Cowboys.
Wide Receiver 2 – Lynn Bowden– As the highest rated player in Kentucky’s 2016 recruiting class big things were expected from Bowden. However, no one could have predicted what happened during his junior year. With both starting quarterbacks injured Stoops and Eddie Gran turned to the former quarterback to run the offense.
What happened next is one of the best stretches in UK and for that matter SEC history. During the final eight games Bowden ran for 1,468 yards which ended up tops in the league.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) January 14, 2020
In addition his 7.9 yards per rush was the tops not only in the SEC but in all of college football. Bowden capped off the season by winning Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. Running for 517 yards in his last two games he finished his career with a touchdown pass to Josh Ali to win the Belk Bowl for the Cats.
Wide Receiver 3 – Garrett Johnson– During his four years at Kentucky Johnson hauled in 156 passes which ranks him fifth all time. In addition his 2,056 receiving yards put him fourth in school history. Johnson led the Cats in receptions his final two years with 87 total and seven touchdowns.
Tight End- C.J. Conrad– While Conrad put up great numbers while in Lexington it seemed as if the UK quarterbacks could never get him the ball enough. Even so Conrad racked up 80 receptions for 1,015 yards and twelve touchdowns. He wasn’t chosen in the 2019 NFL Draft. However he signed as a free agent with the New York Giants and recently inked a futures contract with the Giants for next season.
Moving ahead let’s look at the guys up front who opened the holes for the Kentucky running attack.
The Big Blue Wall
Center- Drake Jackson– This one was also very difficult but we chose Jackson over Jon Toth. The Woodford County native was named first team All-SEC last season and is returning for his senior year.
Guard- Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings- Stallings went from an unknown to an all-american in 2018. He was a big part of the success of Snell and others. Stallings signed with Jacksonville following his UK career.
Guard- Larry Warford- Another local product Warford played at Kentucky from 2009 to 2012. Even on a really bad team Warford was named an all-american by the Associated Press. Taken in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions Warford became an immediate starter. He didn’t give up a sack his entire rookie season and has been named to the Pro Bowl twice. Warford signed with New Orleans after the 2017 season.
Tackle- George Asafo-Adjei– During the 2018 season he was twice named the SEC offensive lineman of the week. He was chosen in the seventh round of the 2019 draft by the New York Giants.
Tackle- Landon Young- At the time Young ranked as the highest rated player ever at Kentucky coming out of high school. He’s been instrumental in building the “Big Blue Wall.” Coming off an ACL injury in 2018 he helped Kentucky to finish first in the SEC in rushing and fourth in the nation. Like Jackson, Young has also decided to come back for his senior year.
Honorable Mention- Jon Toth, Logan Stenberg, Darrian Miller, Nick Haynes, Zack West
Wrapping up our look at the Kentucky All-Decade Offense let’s look at the best kicker in memory at Kentucky.
Kicker- Austin MacGinnis– He’s the school’s all-time leader in made field goals with 72. However it was his game winners in 2016 against Louisville and Mississippi State which helped him reach legendary status. While many True Blue Fans wonder why an NFL team hasn’t picked him up the Dallas Renegades of the new XFL did select him.
Honorable Mention- Craig McIntosh
Kickoff and punt returns– You can’t go wrong with Bowden and Cobb.
There’s our list for Kentucky” All-Decade Offense here at Last Word On College Football. Do you agree or disagree with our picks? Drop a comment below or respond on Twitter. Next time out we’ll look at the all-decade defensive team.