CatsIllustrated - Cats Illustrated's All-Stoops Era Team (2013-2017)
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Cats Illustrated's All-Stoops Era Team (2013-2017)

We're five years into Kentucky's Mark Stoops era and that means the current coach has had the opportunity to completely make over the Wildcats' roster from top to bottom. The program is officially entirely his, with the last vestiges of the previous regime's stamps all gone.

Cats Illustrated presents the All-Stoops team, which honors the best players at each position in those five seasons.

Note: Each player that is selected is chosen for their play in their best season at Kentucky. These are not career selections, but selections based on their play in a given year.

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QUARTERBACK

Johnson as a senior was the second highest-rated quarterback of the Stoops era, behind only Maxwell Smith in 2013. His record over the past two seasons and his play in the first half of 2017 are the reasons he owns this spot.

RUNNING BACK

Running back would be the easiest position to make picks for on an All-Stoops Team. Boom Williams and Benny Snell are both among the top running backs in Kentucky history. Snell is well on his way to rewriting the record books in Lexington and was an AP first team All-SEC choice in 2017, while Williams might have been Kentucky's best player in more than one season.

Snell's 256 carries, 1,318 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017 earn him his spot here, while Williams' best season was in 2016 when he had 1,170 rushing yards on 6.8 yards per carry.

WIDE RECEIVER

Jeff Badet had the single best receiving season out of anyone in the Mark Stoops era in 2016, not by the volume of catches (31) but by yards and explosive plays. He had 670 yards and four touchdowns.

Johnson never had one season with eye popping stats but he will end his career at Kentucky as one of the leading receivers in program history by the numbers. He has been a consistent receiver, rotation player and starter ever since he arrived at Kentucky, so he would be impossible to leave off the list. Johnson could be picked for his play in different seasons, but his top year statistically was in 2015 when he had 46 catches, 694 yards and two touchdowns. He and Dorian Baker were the Cats' two top receivers that year and were a solid tandem.

Dorian Baker still has something to prove but he's included for his 55 catches, 608 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. In the middle of that season he was playing like one of the better receivers in the league.

TIGHT END

Fans are always clamoring for Conrad to get more touches and opportunities to pad his stats and expand his role in the offense, but Conrad earns this spot by a solid margin anyways.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Note: Cole Mosier was initially a walk-on in Kentucky's football program and he did not have a Rivals.com profile as a high school recruit. But for his play at left tackle during the 2016 season, a banner year for Kentucky's offensive line, Mosier earns the spot as the top left tackle on the All-Stoops Team.

Nick Haynes' play deteriorated in 2017 and things didn't end well off the field with a Twitter mistake aimed at the coaching staff, but he earns recognition here for his strong play at guard during the 2016 season.

Kyle Meadows has never had one season that anyone would call a breakout and he was never an All-SEC performer, but it's impossible to leave someone off the list who has been a starting tackle for the vast majority of the Stoops era.

Stenberg first started making contributions last season and his 2017 got off to an up and down start, but he has one reason the Kentucky offensive line started to mesh later this year.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith are easy choices on the defensive line, although Dupree was more of the DE/OLB. He can be listed here because of his versatility and the way he played at the line so often.

C.J. Johnson was one of the most active defensive linemen in the SEC when he was a defensive tackle for the Wildcats, registering 19 tackles in one game, a very rare achievement for someone at his position. He lived up to his billing as a four-star recruit especially in 2015.

Injuries limited the real impact Melvin Lewis could have had at Kentucky, but in his second year with the program he gave the Wildcats some of the best play they have seen at the nose during the Mark Stoops era.

LINEBACKER

Avery Williamson was a four-year starter but he's on the list for his play as a senior in 2013 on Mark Stoops' first team, when he earned second team All-SEC honors with more than 100 tackles.

Jordan Jones makes the list for his play in 2016. He took a step back in 2017 with injury issues and some temper flare ups, but as a sophomore he was an All-SEC selection and one of the top linebackers in the conference.

Josh Forrest makes the list for his play in 2015, when he was one of the top coverage linebackers in the Southeastern Conference.

Josh Allen was a second team All-SEC selection in the season that just passed.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Mike Edwards is the only no-brainer that goes without explanation.

A.J. Stamps was only with the Wildcats for two years and he did not match the preseason hype going into the 2015 season, but in his first year at Kentucky his 57 tackles and four interceptions made him one of the most productive defensive backs in the Southeastern Conference.

Chris Westry makes the list because he has been a three-year starter at cornerback, even though he doesn't seem to have made the kind of strides a lot of people expected. He may actually make this team on the basis of his play as a true freshman in 2015.

J.D. Harmon over Derrick Baity, Blake McClain or someone else may be a controversial selection but he was one of the most versatile players in Kentucky's secondary during his time in Lexington, and UK missed him in 2017. He also had a knack for making big plays.

SPECIALISTS

Of course the greatest kicker in program history (Austin MacGinnis) will make a more recent all-program team.

Kash Daniel was especially strong in kickoff coverage situations during his true freshman season in 2016.

Charles Walker didn't have a lot of signature moments on punt returns, but his efficiency and football IQ fielding punts in 2017 was one reason Kentucky's special teams unit was among the most improved in the country.

Matthew Panton did not have a profile in the Rivals.com database, but he would be the punter selection for his play in 2017.