Two Wildcats Headed to Super Bowl LVII with Kansas City Chiefs

Two Wildcats Headed to Super Bowl LVII with Kansas City Chiefs

Two Kentucky Wildcats, defensive lineman Phil Hoskins and offensive lineman Darian Kinnard, are headed to Super Bowl LVII with the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. Kinnard is on the 53-man roster, while Hoskins has been on the practice squad throughout this playoff run. The Chiefs will meet the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona at the State Farm Stadium. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

Kinnard, who played at Kentucky from 2018-21, is in his rookie season with the Chiefs. During his Wildcat career, the Knoxville, Tennessee native, played in 46 career games with 39 consecutive starts. He was an essential component for the “Big Blue Wall” which has been under consideration for the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s top offensive line, four of the last five seasons, including finalists in 2021.

As a senior, he was named a consensus first-team All-American, earning first-team honors from Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, CBS/247sports, Phil Steele and the Senior Bowl. He was a second-team All-American by Pro Football Focus, The Sporting News, USA Today and The Athletic. He was one of only three Power Five conference tackles to grade at 85 percent or better as a run blocker and pass blocker by Pro Football Focus.  He was a consensus first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

Kinnard was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, just the second Kentucky player to win the award, which annually has been given to the SEC’s top blocker since 1935. He also was a semifinalist for both the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award, given to an offensive or defensive lineman who combines outstanding performance on the field with the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, and the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman.

A four-year letterman and three-year starter, he helped Kentucky to a 33-17 record and four consecutive bowl victories.  His career was bookended by 10-3 records and Vrbo Citrus Bowl wins as a freshman (2018) and senior (2021).  He blocked for three players who had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, including UK all-time leading rusher Benny Snell Jr.  In addition to first-team All-America honors as a senior, he was second-team All-America as a junior.

Hoskins played at Kentucky from 2017-20 and is in his second season in the NFL. The Toledo, Ohio, native played one season with the Carolina Panthers after being drafted in the seventh round by as the 232nd overall pick in the 2021 National Football League Draft. He was picked up by the Chiefs in January of 2023. He saw action in eight games with the Panthers, totaling six tackles and one sack.

Hoskins came to Kentucky in 2017 after playing one season at Highland Community College (Kansas). He saw action in 31 career games with 11 starting assignments, all coming in the 2020 season. Overall, he totaled 53 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, seven quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for the Wildcats.

After missing the 2019 season due to injury, Hoskins received a 6th-year extension waiver to play in 2020. He made the most of his waiver, setting his season high with 30 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, a team-high-tying five quarterback hurries and an interception. Hoskins earned his first Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week award following UK’s win over South Carolina on Senior Night. On the first possession of the game, on third-and-5, his two-yard TFL forced a field goal that was missed by the Gamecocks. He added four tackles and a quarterback hurry, with his QBH in a series that ended in a punt.

Hoskins earned a degree in community leadership and development in May of 2020.

UK has had 31 Wildcats play for teams that advanced to the Super Bowl a total of 43 times.

Carwell Gardner leads the list with four Super Bowl appearances with Buffalo, with Larry Seiple player in three Super Bowls with Miami and Jacob Tamme has three appearances with Denver, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

Overall, 15 Wildcats have won a total of 17 Super Bowl rings. Safety Mike Edwards is the most recent Super Bowl champion as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 to win Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021 in Tampa.

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