UK senior center Drake Jackson and junior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard have received a lot of praise as we near this coming season.
In the latest edition of preseason honorings, UK Athletics released this morning that both Jackson and Kinnard have been named to the 2020 Outland Trophy Watch List honoring the nation’s best interior lineman.
Kentucky center Drake Jackson has started a team-high 33 consecutive games at the position, as he has led the powerful rushing offense before and after the snap throughout his career. He was also named first-team All-SEC by Athlon Sports and the Associated Press after the 2019 season, and has been named preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele and the preseason most valuable center in college football by Pro Football Focus. He has also been named preseason first-team All-SEC by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele for the 2020 season.
Jackson’s fellow lineman Darian Kinnard started all 13 games last season at offensive tackle, and has been named a preseason fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele as well as preseason first-team All-SEC by Steele and Athlon after finishing the year with 32 knockdowns and just one penalty in 706 snaps.
Altogether, the dominance Kentucky has had with its offensive line lately has led to four consecutive seasons with 2,000 or more rushing yards. In those seasons, former running back Benny Snell Jr. became the school’s all-time leading rusher, and wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. led the SEC in rushing yards as he took over at quarterback in the last eight games of the 2019 season.
So, not surprising to see the offensive line, also known as the “Big Blue Wall,” getting preseason recognition.