Six Wildcats Earn Preseason Coaches All-SEC Honors

Six Wildcats Earn Preseason Coaches All-SEC Honors

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Six University of Kentucky football players earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference teams, it was announced Wednesday by the league office. Junior linebacker Jordan Jones and junior defensive end/linebacker Denzil Ware were named second-team defense, while junior tight end C.J. Conrad and sophomore running back Benny Snell Jr., were third-team offense, junior safety Mike Edwards was third-team defense and senior kicker Austin MacGinnis was third-team special teams.
Jones, of Youngstown, Ohio, earned first-team defense honors last season after leading the SEC in solo tackles per game (5.7). Overall, he led UK and ranked third in the league in total tackles per game with 8.4. He finished the season with 109 tackles and led the Wildcats with 15.5 tackles for loss. 
Jones is currently on the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. He was a third-team Preseason All-SEC pick by the media.
Ware, a native of Opp, Alabama, returns as one of Kentucky’s leading pass rushers as he ranked second on the team in total sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12.0) last year. He has started in 24 of 25 career games for the Wildcats, including 19 consecutive. He also was a second-team Preseason All-SEC selection by the media.
Conrad, a native of LaGrange, Ohio, ranked fourth on the team in receiving in 2016 with 19 catches for 262 yards and four touchdowns. He had a career day vs. New Mexico State, catching five passes for a career-high 133 yards and three touchdowns in the 62-42 win. He became the first player since Dicky Lyons Jr., vs. Florida on Oct. 20, 2007, to have three receiving touchdowns in a game. He also was the first tight end with 100 receiving yards in a game since Jacob Tamme vs. Tennessee on Nov. 24, 2007. The 133 receiving yards are the third-most by a tight end in Kroger Field history. Conrad is currently on the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List for the nation’s top tight end.
Snell, from Westerville, Ohio, set six UK freshman records, including most rushing touchdowns in a game (4), most rushing yards by a freshman (1,091), most rushing touchdowns by a freshman (13), most total touchdowns by a freshman (13), most 100-yard rushing games (5) and most rushing yards by a freshman in a single game (192). He was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, ESPN and 247Sports.
Snell, who earned a spot on Athlon’s 2017 preseason SEC third-team offense, is on the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s top player and the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top college running back.
Edwards led all SEC defensive backs in tackles in 2016 with 100 and was one of just six players overall in the league with 100 or more tackles on the season. He ranked second on the team and seventh overall in the SEC in tackles per game (7.7) and tied for 10th in the conference in total passes defended (11). He was a second-team Associated Press All-SEC selection, and was a third-team pick by Athlon and Phil Steele.
The safety from Cincinnati had two interceptions of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in Kentucky’s win over No. 11 Louisville in 2016, earning him SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
Edwards is currently on the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, given to college football’s top defensive back. He earned second-team preseason All-SEC honors by Athlon Sports and was also a third-team member on the preseason All-SEC team by the media.
MacGinnis, one of the nation’s top returning kickers, hit 16-of-19 field goal attempts in 2016 and he enters the 2017 season with a streak of seven straight made field goals, which is just four short of his own school record of 11 straight. He is just the second player in school history to hit at least 50 career field goals (57, Joey Worley, 1984-1987) and his 257 career points ranks No. 2 on UK’s all-time scoring list. He needs just 48 more to tie Lones Seiber (2006-09) as the top scorer.
In 2016, MacGinnis connected on a pair of game-winning field goals. His 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds left at No. 11 Louisville marked his second game-winning kick of the season after he also made a 51-yard field goal as time expired for a 40-38 win over Mississippi State.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder from Wedowee, Alabama, was a fourth-team preseason All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports. He is currently on the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award preseason watch list.
For more information on the Kentucky football team, follow @UKFootball on Twitter and Instagram, or like Kentucky Football on Facebook.
2017 Preseason Coaches All-SEC Football Team (* – ties)
First Team Preseason All-SEC
TE              Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
OL             Braden Smith, Auburn
                  Martez Ivey, Florida
                  Jonah Williams, Alabama
                  Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
C                Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
WR            Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
                  Calvin Ridley, Alabama
QB             Jalen Hurts, Alabama
RB             Derrius Guice, LSU
                  Nick Chubb, Georgia
AP             Christian Kirk, Texas A&M    
DL             Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama
                 Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
                 Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
                 Trenton Thompson, Georgia
LB              Arden Key, LSU
                  Skai Moore, South Carolina
                  Roquan Smith, Georgia
DB             Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
                  Armani Watts, Texas A&M
                  Duke Dawson, Florida
                  Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
PK           Daniel Carlson, Auburn
P             JK Scott, Alabama
RS           Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Second Team Preseason All-SEC
TE           Isaac Nauta, Georgia
OL           Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
                K.J. Malone, LSU
                Koda Martin, Texas A&M
                Paul Adams, Missouri*
                Greg Little, Ole Miss
                Isaiah Wynn, Georgia*
C             Will Clapp, LSU
WR         J’Mon Moore, Missouri
                Antonio Callaway, Florida
QB          Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
RB             Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
                  Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
AP              Derrius Guice, LSU
DL               Cece Jefferson, Florida
                   Marlon Davidson, Auburn
                   Jabari Zuniga, Florida
                   Denzil Ware, Kentucky*
                   Dontavius Russell, Auburn*
LB               Jordan Jones, Kentucky
                   Rashaan Evans, Alabama
                   Tre’ Williams, Auburn
DB              Donte Jackson, LSU
                   Dominick Sanders, Georgia
                   Carlton Davis, Auburn
                   Tray Matthews, Auburn
PK           Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss
P             Johnny Townsend, Florida
RS           Evan Berry, Tennessee
Third Team Preseason All-SEC
TE               C.J. Conrad, Kentucky*
                DeAndre Goolsby, Florida*
OL               Jashon Robertson, Tennessee
                    Jawaan Taylor, Florida
                    Zack Bailey, South Carolina
                    Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas
C             Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
WR             Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
                   Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
QB          Austin Allen, Arkansas
RB           Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
                Benny Snell, Kentucky
AP              Brandon Powell, Florida*
                   Deebo Samuel, South Carolina*
                   Kerryon Johnson, Auburn*
                   Trevon Diggs, Alabama*
DL               Terry Beckner, Jr., Missouri
                    Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia
                    Christian LaCouture, LSU
                    Marcell Frazier, Missouri
LB               Oren Burks, Vanderbilt 
                   Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama
                   Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
DB              Anthony Averett, Alabama
                   Mike Edwards, Kentucky
                   Chauncey Gardner, Florida
                   Ryan Pulley, Arkansas
PK               Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky*
                    Eddy Piniero, Florida*
P                 Trevor Daniel, Tennessee
RS              Antonio Callaway, Florida

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