Kentucky football: Wildcats foundation that makes Cats go is the Big Blue Wall

UK offensive lineman Darian Kinard.
UK offensive lineman Darian Kinard. /
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Kentucky football
UK offensive lineman Kenneth Horsey, left,and Quentin Wilson /

Horsey is the heartbeat of the line – literally

Tucked in a left guard is Kenneth Horsey, who was honored with the 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award. He was given this because he had to undergo open-heart surgery in 2018, and was able to return to start on the offensive line for UK last season.

Horsey required the surgery following being diagnosed with endocarditis, an infection on a heart valve that is caused by bacteria after experiencing stomach pain that turned so painful it prompted a 9-1-1- call.

The 6-3, 300- pounder had to have surgery jeopardizing his football career. Thankfully, doctors successfully removed the growth on Horsey’s heart without causing any damage to the mitral valve and were able to repair his sternum using titanium plates.

His teammates love him and Fortner is glad he is just a left-arm away and on the team. He talked about heart health with the Kentucky Kernal student newspaper.   and how it affected him.

"“I went from on the surgery table to running out on that field with the starters, so you can’t tell me it isn’t possible….No matter what, keep fighting, keep pushing, keep praying because it’s all going to work out how God wants it to.”"

While a little green he has started eight of the 12 games he has seen action in. However, he has quick hands and feet thanks to 14 years of mastering martial arts.

His backup will be 6-6, 321-pound senior Austin Dodson a true-blooded Kentuckian from Belfry. He loves playing on the offensive line and won a state championship all four years of high school. At Kentucky, he’s been on the field for 27 games so he is ready to see plenty of action this year.