LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky senior offensive guard Kevin Mitchell was named Offensive Lineman of the Week by the Southeastern Conference, and senior kicker Joe Mansour and junior defensive end Za’Darius Smith have earned Honorable Mention Performer of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards, it was announced Monday.
Mitchell, who was a game captain for Kentucky in its season opener, graded out at 90 percent in the Miami (Ohio) game by the UK coaching staff with nine knockdown blocks. The senior from Winston, Ga., did not allow a sack or have a penalty in the game against the RedHawks. Mitchell’s impressive blocking helped UK amass 675 yards of total offense, which was the third-highest total offense in school history. With the help of Mitchell, UK has rushed for 200 yards in each of its first two games.
Mansour had another great week for Kentucky as its placekicker, hitting two field goals to sit 4-for-4 now on the season. The native of LaGrange, Ga., has also handled the kickoff duties for UK this season with 13 kickoffs and seven touchbacks. For his career, Mansour has 133 kickoffs with 48 touchbacks.
Smith, who was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com on Sunday, was a dominating presence for UK defensively in the home opener against Miami. The junior college transfer had six tackles and three sacks in the game, becoming the first UK player since Deion Holts in 2003 to record three or more sacks.
Smith also had a quarterback hurry against the RedHawks and helped the UK defense limit Miami to no offensive points and only 122 yards of total offense, which is the fourth-lowest offensive output for a UK opponent in the last 25 years. Smith started his UK career with five tackles and a sack against WKU.
On Sunday, sophomore quarterbacks Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow were given SEC “helmet stickers” by ESPN.com.
Kentucky will return to the practice fields Monday afternoon to begin its preparation for an in-state battle with No. 7/7 Louisville on Saturday at Noon ET at Commonwealth Stadium.