All-Stoops Offensive Team: 2013-2020
We're nearly one full decade into Mark Stoops' tenure at Kentucky and there have been plenty of strong contributors on offense, defense, and special teams during that time.
Cats Illustrated is looking back over all of those rosters and recognizing the best players at each position.
Here is Cats Illustrated's All-Stoops Team on offense.
Note: This is not a career selection. Rather, individual seasons are considered.
Lynn Bowden (2019)
This might be a controversial choice given that Bowden in 2018 was clearly not the best passing quarterback of the Stoops era. However, the reality is that quarterbacks haven't posted very good numbers during the chosen period. Although Bowden only became Kentucky's quarterback about halfway through the season he rushed for 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 185 carries en route to the Paul Hornung Award. Simply put, Bowden was often the best player on the field for Kentucky or whoever the Cats were facing. And even without the kind of passing ability of a top college quarterback, giving the Hornung winner the ball on every single player turned out to not be a bad strategy.
RUNNING BACK (2)
Benny Snell (2018)
While the rest of the offense often sputtered even during the team's 10-3 campaign, the ever-reliable Benny Snell racked up 1,449 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, logging a workmanlike 289 carries in 13 games. He had at least 13 carries in every single game, 20 or more carries in nine games, and a season-high 32 rushes against Vanderbilt. He topped the century mark seven times, including each of the Cats' last three games of the season. He broke the UK all-time rushing record during his 144-yard, two-touchdown performance against Penn State in the Cats' Citrus Bowl win.
Chris Rodriguez (2020)
We can't go strictly by the numbers here. If we did, Rodriguez's 785 yards last year wouldn't have put him ahead of Boom Williams from 2016, or Snell from 2016 or 2017. Context matters. And the context of Rodriguez's 785 yards and 11 touchdowns is that he didn't play one game against a team from outside the Power Five ranks. There was a 10-game SEC schedule then the bowl game. There was no passing game to speak of, so boxes were loaded. And Rodriguez didn't even play in two of Kentucky's games. He did have a couple of quiet performances but was otherwise excellent.
WIDE RECEIVER (3)
Lynn Bowden (2018)
Bowden's sophomore season included some signature moments. His long touchdown reception against Florida helped the Cats snap a three decade-plus losing streak to the Gators. His punt return and a big reception against Missouri helped Kentucky notch one of the most dramatic wins of the Mark Stoops era. His punt return score against Penn State set a tone that ultimately led to Stoops' first postseason victory. Bowden was still less than refined at receiver in 2018 but he was the best playmaker the Cats had and began to come into his own as a college football player.
Javess Blue (2013)
This is a tougher selection and we could have gone with seasons by Garrett Johnson or even one by Dorian Baker but Blue probably deserves a spot for one of his two seasons after a transfer from the JUCO level. He was one of the best talents at receiver that Kentucky has had under Stoops and had 43 receptions for 586 yards and four touchdowns in 2013, Stoops' first year when the overall team talent was not very good. He didn't have any monster games but was one of the most consistent players and contributors on the team.
Jeff Badet (2016)
You could make the case that Badet in 2016 offered Kentucky the best wide receiver player from an individual that the program has gotten in the Stoops era. He caught only 31 passes but racked up 670 yards (21.6 YPC) and had four touchdowns. By the end of the season he was one of the best deep threats in the Southeastern Conference. He had 139 yards and two touchdowns in that pivotal 40-38 win against Mississippi State and 104 yards on just three receptions the very next game against Missouri. Badet was good enough that he transferred to Oklahoma, where he had less success in a much deeper receiver room.
TIGHT END (1)
C.J. Conrad (2018)
The highlight of Conrad's season and also his Kentucky career was a touchdown reception against Missouri as time expired. That gave the Cats an improbable come from behind victory in Columbia when it seemed they had no shot. While his receiving numbers never reached the levels fans clamored for, he was never blamed for that nor should he have been. As a team captain, Conrad had 318 yards on 30 catches with three scores and was on the Mackey Award Watch List.
OFFENSIVE LINE (5)
Drake Jackson (2019)
We could easily go with just about any of Jackson's seasons at Kentucky. Jackson only missed two assignments during the entire 2019 season and was a first team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press. UK rushed for an all-time program best 3,624 yards in 2020 and every play started with Jackson.
Darian Kinnard (2020)
Kinnard was named a second or third team All-American in 2020 according to multiple outlets or organizations. Perhaps most impressive, Kinnard graded out at 87.4% according to Kentucky. For the second straight year PFF gave him one of the highest grades of any offensive lineman in college football. He returns in 2021 to try and catapult himself into the conversation for a first round slot.
Landon Young (2020)
The New Orleans Saints picked Landon Young in the sixth round of the NFL Draft following the 2020 season and there was a reason for that. Battle tested with plenty of pedigree and tools, Young was a first team All-SEC selection by the league's coaches. Left tackle in the SEC is one of the toughest positions in college football and Young played at a high level.
Bunchy Stallings (2018)
While Stallings was not drafted he started every game for Kentucky in 2018 and played at an extremely high level. The Associated Press named Stallings a first team All-American. He was second team according to Sports Illustrated and USA Today and twice earned SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors. Stallings was especially good at blowing open holes against Florida, when UK pounded the Gators to the tune of 300-plus yards on the ground.
Logan Stenberg (2018)
While penalties came to caricature Stenberg in the eyes of some fans, and they were indeed a problem, he was dominant in some respects. He was named first team All-SEC by the Associated Press and second team All-American by two outlets, ending the season in the Senior Bowl. While Kentucky loved to run behind Stenberg he also did not allow a sack.