UK center Luke Fortner selected in third round by Jacksonville

Kentucky guard Luke Fortner (79) celebrates a touchdown to put Kentucky up 35-28 during the...
Kentucky guard Luke Fortner (79) celebrates a touchdown to put Kentucky up 35-28 during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)(Michael Clubb | AP)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 9:36 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky senior center Luke Fortner was chosen in the third round by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the 65th overall pick in the 2022 National Football League Draft on Friday in Las Vegas.

Fortner, a 6-foot-6, 297-pound “super senior” from Sylvania, Ohio, was a two-time Campbell Trophy semifinalist who played in 54 career games for Kentucky. After switching from right guard to center prior to the 2021 season, Fortner found his niche, excelling in his new role on the “Big Blue Wall.” He graded at 84.5 percent for the 2021 season, including 19 knockdown blocks. He earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference accolades from SEC Coaches and was a second-team All-SEC pick by Pro Football Focus and Phil Steele.

During Fortner’s six seasons with the Wildcats, UK posted a 47-29 record and advanced to a school-record six straight bowl games, highlighted by winning the last four in a row, another school record.  UK has won at least 10 games four times in school history, two of which occurred during Fortner’s term with the Wildcats – 10-3 in the 2018 and 2021 seasons, capped by a Vrbo Citrus Bowl win in both seasons.

Fortner was a three-year starter for the Wildcats, a two-year regular at right guard (2019, ‘20) before moving to center in the ‘21 campaign.  After redshirting in 2016, he played the next five years and blocked for players who totaled four 1,000-yard seasons, including Benny Snell Jr., UK’s all-time leading rusher.

Fortner graduated in December of 2019 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also recently earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and will officially graduate next week. While working on his master’s in aerospace engineering, he also began working on a second master’s degree in business administration from UK’s prestigious Gatton College of Business and Economics. He is also on track to graduate with his MBA next week. Fortner is a five-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was named Second-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American.

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