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Nine UK football players getting pre-season honors from Athlon

(WKYT)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 3:59 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nine University of Kentucky football players have earned a spot on the 2020 Athlon Sports Preseason All-Southeastern Conference teams, it was announced Thursday.

Senior center Drake Jackson and senior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard were named first-team offense, while senior punter Max Duffy is a first-team specialist. Senior offensive tackle Landon Young and guard Luke Fortner landed on the second- and third-team offense, respectively, while senior running back A.J. Rose was placed on the fourth-team offense.

Defensively, senior linebacker Jamar “Boogie” Watson was named to the second-team defense, while senior nose guard Quinton Bohanna and junior safety Yusuf Corker collected fourth-team defense honors.

Jackson, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, started at center in all 13 games last season, giving him a team-high 33 consecutive starts. The Rimington Trophy watch list member was also named first-team All-SEC by Athlon Sports and the Associated Press in 2019.

Kinnard, of Knoxville, Tennessee, started in all 13 games at right tackle last season, finishing with 32 knockdowns and just one penalty in 706 snaps.

Duffy, a native of Perth, Australia, was an absolute weapon for the Wildcats in 2019. Kentucky led the nation in net punting with a 44.55-yard net average and Duffy led the nation in punting at 48.10 yards per punt. He won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter and was named a first-team All-American by the AP, Sporting News, ESPN, FWAA, Walter Camp, AFCA Coaches', The Athletic, USA Today, Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. He is UK’s career punt leader with a 46.3-yard average.

After missing the entire 2018 season to injury, Young, of Lexington, Kentucky, returned for an excellent 2019, starting in all 13 games at left tackle. He totaled 64 knockdown plays and missed only one assignment in 754 plays, earning him third-team All-SEC honors by Athlon.

Fortner is from Sylvania, Ohio and started at right guard in all 13 games last season. He totaled 27 knockdown blocks, had no missed assignments, allowed only one sack, and had only one penalty in 646 plays.

Rose, who hails from Cleveland, is UK’s leading returning rusher for the 2020 season. He totaled 149 carries for 826 yards and six scores in 2019, while catching 11 passes for 67 yards. He became the 37th player in school history to amass 1,000 career rushing yards and now ranks 28th on the all-time list with 1,305 rushing yards.

Watson, of Brandywine, Maryland, is coming off an impressive junior season that saw him total 36 tackles, a team-high 11.5 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries, starting in 11 of 13 games, including nine in a row. He is the SEC’s leading sack returner after also totaling 6.5 total sacks last season.

Bohanna is a proud native of Memphis, Tennessee and he enters his senior season with 19 consecutive starts at nose guard under his belt. The 6-foot-4, 361-pounder totaled 18 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, a sack and a pass breakup for the Wildcats’ defense in 2019.

Corker, a safety from McDonough, Georgia, is UK’s leading returning tackler with 74 tackles in 13 starts last season. He also had four pass breakups, a quarterback hurry and a team-high tying two fumble recoveries.

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