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Darian Kinnard Named First-Team All-American


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The honors keep rolling in for Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard. The senior offensive tackle has been named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association presented by the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, it was announced today.

Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound mountain from Knoxville, Tennessee, becomes the 12th Wildcat in program history named to the FWAA All-America First Team, joining Bob Gain, Tackle (1950); Doug Moseley, Center (1951); Ray Correll, Guard (1953); Lou Michaels, Tackle (1957); Sam Ball, Tackle (1965); Art Still, End (1977); Tim Couch, Quarterback (1998); James Whalen, Tight End (1999); Derek Abney, Kick Returner (2002); Josh Allen, Linebacker (2018) and Max Duffy, Punter (2019).

He is UK’s third First-Team All-American in the last four years and the first offensive lineman to earn first-team honors since Sam Ball in 1965.

Kinnard led the team 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 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.

Postseason Awards for Kinnard:

First-Team All-America (FWAA, Walter Camp, CBS Sports, Reese’s Senior Bowl)

Second-Team All-American (PFF, The Athletic)

First-Team All-SEC (AP, PFF, Coaches)

2021 Jacobs Blocking Trophy

Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five teams used to formulate the NCAA's annual consensus All-America team, which will be announced later this week. Since the 2002 season, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA. For seven decades the FWAA has selected an All-America team with the help of its members and an All-America Committee, which represents all the regions in the country. From that All-America team, the FWAA also selects the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player).

Kentucky (9-3, 5-3 SEC) is headed to Orlando, Fla., for a school-record sixth straight bowl appearance. The No. 22 Wildcats have accepted a bid to play in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl and will face No. 15 Iowa Jan. 1 in Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN Radio and the UK Sports Radio Network.

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