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Three Wildcats earn Phil Steele All-America honors

UK Football helmets and ball
UK Football helmets and ball(Lee K. Howard | Lee K. Howard)
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:36 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Three University of Kentucky football players received All-America honors by Phil Steele’s College Football, it was announced Wednesday.

Junior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard was named to the fourth team, while junior linebacker Jamin Davis and senior center Drake Jackson were honorable mention.

Kinnard, who hails from Knoxville, Tennessee, has played in 33 career games with 26 consecutive starts at tackle. He graded at 87.4 percent in 11 games in 2020 with 47 knockdown blocks and 142 blocks at the point of attack. He also was a candidate for the Outland Trophy this season and announced his decision to return to UK for the 2021 season earlier this week. He adds to his long list of post-season honors which includes earning All-America accolades from the Sporting News and CBS/247sports (second team), Associated Press (third team) and Pro Football Focus (first team). He also was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the AP, PFF and Phil Steele, and a second-team All-SEC choice by the league coaches. Additionally, he was a candidate for the Outland Trophy given to college football’s top interior lineman.

Davis, from Ludowici, Georgia, was the breakout star of the 2020 season for UK, totaling a team-high 102 tackles. The middle linebacker saw his first extensive playing time and didn’t disappoint, tallying double-digit tackles in seven of the 10 games he played, including becoming the first UK player to record five straight such games since Danny Trevathan had nine straight in 2010. In addition to the 13 tackles and game-sealing interception he had versus No. 24 NC State in the Gator Bowl, against Tennessee he tallied a then-career-best 12 tackles to go along with an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown.  A week earlier against Mississippi State, he had 11 tackles and intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of the first half.  He finished the season second on the team with three interceptions and has five pickoffs in his career. Davis was a first-team All-SEC choice by PFF and a second-team selection by Phil Steele.

Jackson, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, played in 47 career games with 44 consecutive starts at center, the third-longest such streak in school history with lineups available since 1993. He graded at 85.7 percent in 2020 with 40 knockdown blocks and a team-high tying 188 blocks at the point of attack. He was on the watch lists for both the Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman and the Rimington Trophy for the nation’s top center. He also earned All-SEC honors from PFF (first team) as well as AP, Coaches and Phil Steele (second team).