Chris Rodriguez Jr. is Racking Up Preseason Recognition

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Chris Rodriguez Jr. is Racking Up Preseason Recognition

Kentucky Wildcats running back Christopher Rodriguez Jr. (24) cut away from Mississippi State Bulldogs cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (13) as Kentucky defeated Mississippi State 24-2 on October 10, 2020. Photo by Mark Cornelison

Kentucky junior running back was a menace in the backfield for opposing teams last season, rushing for 785 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games due to Covid-19 protocols. He ranked fifth in the SEC with 87.2 rushing yards per game and led the league with 6.6 yards per carry, as he was a wrecking ball running through the line of scrimmage.

What do those kind of numbers lead to? For Rodriguez, they have led to national attention. The powerback has now been named to the Maxwell Award Watch List (nation’s best player) and the Doak Walker Award Watch List (nation’s top running back) as experts file in predictions for this coming season. Not only that, but he was an honorable mention for the Preseason All-American teams set up by Pro Football Focus.

Rodriguez will no doubt get the chance to show off his talent and hard work again this season as the featured back in offensive coordinator Liam Coen’s playbook. Even with a scheme that includes a much more balanced attack, UK Head Coach Mark Stoops said at SEC Media Days that establishing physicality will be key.

“It’s going to be different, but I always want to have a strong physical presence and want to be able to run the football,” he said.

According to Stoops, that will include new looks in the run game also, but Rodriguez will definitely be getting the touches necessary to have a big season. Even with a more electric passing game, the running back may see holes open up that he did not see this past season.

39 days til kickoff.

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