Darian Kinnard named first-team All-American

(John Amis | AP)
Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 5:48 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - Senior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard has been named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press, it was announced Monday.

Kinnard becomes the 15th player in school history to be named to AP’s first team, joining Clyde Johnson, Tackle (1942); Bob Gain, Tackle (1950); Babe Parilli, Quarterback (1950); Doug Moseley, Center (1951); Howard Schnellenberger, End (1955); Lou Michaels, Tackle (1957); Art Still, Defensive End (1977); James Whalen, Tight End (1999); Derek Abney, Kick Returner (2002); Randall Cobb, All-Purpose Player (2010); Josh Allen, Linebacker (2018); Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings, Offensive Guard (2018); Lynn Bowden Jr., All-Purpose Player (2019); and Max Duffy, Punter (2019).

He is UK’s fifth first-team AP All-American in the last four years and the first offensive lineman to earn first-team honors since Stallings in 2018.

Kinnard led Kentucky with 30 knockdown blocks in 12 games for the 22nd-ranked Wildcats this season. Pro Football Focus evaluated Kinnard as one of only three Power Five tackles to grade at 85 or better as both a run and pass blocker.

He was recently awarded the Southeastern Conference’s 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 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. He also was a two-time SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following wins over Vanderbilt and Louisville. In addition, he has earned first-team All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp, CBS/247sports and the Senior Bowl and second-team All-America by PFF and The Athletic.

Under Kinnard’s leadership on the offensive line, the Wildcats’ offense is averaging 431.1 total yards per game, including 206.1 on the ground, and is averaging 6.57 yards per play, which would set a new school record for a season. According to PFF, UK leads the SEC in rushing yards before contact, averaging 2.6 yards per attempt.

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