When Benny Snell’s name is mentioned, what comes to mind? Heart, toughness, power, competitive fire, the fact that he’s just as great off the field as he is on it. Kentucky fans have become extremely familiar with all of these attributes and descriptions. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention his “angry” running style, he really is a beast.
Once you boil it all down it’s really easy to see that Benny Snell has earned respect. This isn’t just respect from Kentucky fans, it’s also respect from opponents, media and opposing fan bases. We’ve all sat and watched him achieve all of these rushing milestones at UK with our own eyes and it’s still mind-boggling to process at times. For me it started to sink in as Kentucky was in the process of defeating Vanderbilt 44-21 on Nov. 11.
— Vinny Hardy (@VinnyHardy) November 11, 2017
Yes, the great Sonny Collins, the man who put his stamp all over the Kentucky rushing record book, the man who gained his last yard at UK before I breathed my first breath on this Earth. The man who, in my opinion, is probably still every bit as cool now as he was when he was playing.
Let Benny’s accomplishments sink in for a minute.
This why Louisville defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon told the Cards defenders that they wouldn’t face another running back that ran as hard at the end of the season as Snell. This is why SEC Network analyst Andre Ware heaped glowing praise on Snell when he was the lone bright spot for the Cats against Louisville. This is why I got a text from a Tennessee fan who said that Benny had earned their respect by continually and relentlessly running hard in the second half of the Georgia game.
These numbers are astounding especially when you consider that he didn’t play the entire season as a freshman and overcame a slow start by his standards as a sophomore. He deserves all of the respect and accolades that he’s getting.
Kentucky football as a whole seeks similar respect. They have notched consecutive 7-5 seasons and gotten back to where they were in the late 1990’s under Hal Mumme and earlier 2000’s under Rich Brooks. They’re not bottom feeders and SEC laughingstocks anymore and are now looking to climb up to where the big boys reside. This is the really tough part, it’s never easy.
They are looking to move from the “hey 7-5, that’s nice” perception that outsiders and opposing fan bases and even some Kentucky fans themselves have of them, and move to the position of having to be taken seriously on a consistent basis by everyone.
One thing is certain, they couldn’t have a better running back to help them get there.