The Kentucky football team wrapped up SEC Media Days but it looks like they will need to prove themselves on the field once again to impress people with no defensive players making the All-SEC teams, just three on offense, and barely picked to finish second overall in the SEC East.
Besides being snubbed on the defensive side of the ball there were no Wildcats on the first-team offense. Running back Chris Rodriguez and lineman Keneth Horsey were named to the second team and quarterback Will Levis was named to the third team.
Well, that just gave Levis more ammunition to prove just how talented and valuable of a player he is.
The first team is Bryce Young and I will give you that one, as he is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but selecting Hendron Hooker of Tennessee ahead of Levis is clearly open for debate.
We will find out in Week 8 on October 29 in Knoxville when Kentucky and the Vols square off in a Noon game.
Hooker played three seasons at Virginia Tech before transferring to Tennessee last year where he completed 206 of 303 passes with just three interceptions and 2,945 yards with 31 touchdowns. On the ground, he carried 166 times for 616 yards.
Levis was 233 of 353 for the same completion percentage for 2,826 yards, and 24 touchdowns but was picked off 13 times. He ran it 107 times for 376 yards and 9 touchdowns.
At running back Rodriguez was selected but when he makes his first appearance of the 2022 season is anyone’s guess after dealing with legal issues off the field. Kentucky football Coach Mark Stoops confirmed Rodriguez was in Lexington working out but didn’t elaborate much more.
C-Rod carried it 225 times for 1,378 yards and 10 touchdowns and pulled down 13 passes for 61 yards and three touchdowns.
Horsey has been on the Big Blue Wall at left guard for two seasons and now is the Wildcats’ most experienced lineman with 25 career games and 21 career starts. Horsey is a true inspiration to everyone after having to undergo open heart surgery in April of 2018, prior to his freshman year at UK. When he returned to the field his perseverance and determination to play, earned him the 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Stoops talked about the passion and heart and depth this team has during Media Days and they are going to have to put that on display.
As for the team title once again Georgia and Alabama are the picks to win the East and West respectively.
The Bulldogs received 1,254 points including 172 first-place votes to win the SEC Eastern Division. Kentucky was picked second with 932 points and four votes to win the division followed by Tennessee in third with 929 points. Points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. This is the same order in which the teams that finished the 2021 season.
Over in the West Alabama tallied 1262 total points, followed by Texas A&M with 968 and Arkansas with 844. The heavily favored Tide were nearly unanimous favorites getting 177 points, all but four, first-place votes.
Alabama has won eight of the past 13 SEC Championship games, including the last two as the West has dominated. Only Georgia winning in 2017 was the only time an SEC East team has claimed the title since 2009.
Historically since the title game began in 1992 Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt have yet to make an appearance in an SEC Championship Game. Alabama has the most with 14, Florida has 13 appearances, and Georgia has 9.
First place votes in ()
1. Georgia (172) — 1254
3. Tennessee (1) — 929
4. Florida — 712
5. South Carolina (3) — 662
6. Missouri — 383
7. Vanderbilt (1) — 196
1. Alabama (177) — 1262
2. Texas A&M (3) — 968
3. Arkansas (1) — 844
4. Ole Miss — 675
5. LSU — 591
6. Mississippi State — 390
7. Auburn — 338
Alabama — 158
Georgia — 18
South Carolina — 3
Vanderbilt — 1
Texas A&M — 1