UK's Josh Allen Wins Jack Lambert Award; Keldon Johnson Named SEC Freshman of Week
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior linebacker Josh Allen has been named winner of the 2018 Jack Lambert Award, signifying the top linebacker in college football, by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio.
Allen is the first Wildcat to receive the honor, which has been given since 1991 and includes recipients such as current NFL stars Khalil Mack, Luke Kuechly and Von Miller. Allen will be presented with the award – named for Jack Lambert, Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer and Kent State football legend – on February 9, 2019, at the annual Touchdown Club of Columbus awards banquet.
Allen’s honors add to a growing list of national accolades for the senior from Montclair, N.J.
Bronko Nagurski Award, National Defensive Player of the Year
Chuck Bednarik Award, National Defensive Player of the Year
Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, National Defensive Player of the Year
Jack Lambert Award, National Linebacker of the Year
First-Team All-America by Walter Camp Football Foundation, Sports Illustrated, TheAthletic.com, ESPN, Associated Press, College Football News, Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, USA Today, CBS, American Football Coaches Association, Athlon Sports
Allen has been a pass rush terror this season. With 28.5 career sacks and 14 sacks in 2018, he now holds UK’s career and single-season records. His 11 career forced fumbles tie former Wildcats and current Chicago Bear Danny Trevathan for UK’s career mark (forced fumbles stats available since 1988). He leads the team with 84 tackles and paces the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss (18.5) and forced fumbles (5). He is among the NCAA leaders in sacks, TFL and forced fumbles. Twelve of his 14 sacks have come in the second half of games, including eight in the fourth quarter. In five of UK’s wins this season, Allen had a sack in the fourth quarter that was crucial to the Wildcat victory, including two sack/fumble/UK recoveries on the opponent’s final possession of one-score games.
Allen has helped lead Kentucky to a 9-3 record, UK’s best regular-season record in 41 years, and UK’s 5-3 SEC record is the team’s first winning league mark in 41 years. The Wildcats conclude the season Jan. 1 vs. Penn State in the VRBO Citrus Bowl.
KELDON JOHNSON CHOSEN SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the second time this season, Kentucky freshman guard Keldon Johnson was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week.
Johnson led the Wildcats with 24 points on 8-of-9 (.889) shooting and drained a career-high six 3-pointers in a dominating 88-61 win over Utah on Saturday. It was his team-high-tying third 20-point game this season. Kentucky’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, Johnson has reached double figures in all but one game this season.
The 6-foot-6, 211-pounder from South Hill, Virginia, jumpstarted the Wildcats by nailing his first five 3-point attempts in the opening half. His six 3’s were the most for any UK player this season and the most since Wenyen Gabriel hit seven in the SEC Tournament against Alabama on March 10, 2018.
The honor is the second of the season for Johnson and the second of the season for Kentucky. Kentucky has won more weekly SEC honors (91) than any other school during the Calipari era, including 73 SEC Freshman of the Week honors and 18 SEC Player of the Week awards.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. ET in the CBS Sports Classic. UK will take on North Carolina in the United Center in Chicago with the game airing live on CBS.
Photo by UK Athletics