LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky football running back Chris Rodriguez will make his return to the field on October 1st, when the Wildcats travel to Oxford, Mississippi to take on Ole Miss, according to LEX 18 Sports Director Keith Farmer. Head Coach Mark Stoops confirmed the news at his weekly press conference Monday afternoon.
Rodriguez will not be available for Kentucky's upcoming games against Youngstown State (Saturday, Sept. 17) or Northern Illinois (Saturday, Sept. 24).
"He'll be back the Ole Miss game, and we will be more than happy to welcome him back and to have him go compete when he can," Stoops told reporters Monday.
Rodriguez did not play in Kentucky's first two games of the season, when the Cats beat Miami (OH) at home or Florida on the road.
"We've been preparing for this situation for weeks now," Stoops said Monday. "We've been getting the other guys ready, continuing to progress, and also keep him in shape and get him reps when we can. "
Stoops on Chris Rodriguez, who will return on Oct. 1 against Ole Miss:— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) September 12, 2022
"He's staying active and getting ready to go, and we'll continue to build with the running backs we have available"
FULL COMMENT ⬇ pic.twitter.com/2iRFfbRDpU
"Chris is wonderful because he's competing on scout team. He goes down there and gets his reps down there. He's willing to do scout team, special teams, doing whatever he can to stay in shape and get those movements down with the run game...
He's staying active and getting ready to go, and we'll continue to build with the running backs we have available."
The news comes following a summer in which Rodriguez pleaded guilty to DUI charges in July, after he was arrested and charged with careless driving and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in early May.
He was also reportedly connected to another off-the-field issue the university has not publicized.
Rodriguez is poised for a record-breaking season - he's currently sixth on UK's career rushing list with 2,740 yards. He needs 1,134 additional yards to surpass Benny Snell for the No. 1 spot. Rodriguez is also currently tied for second - alongside former Cats Sonny Collins and Moe Williams - on UK's career rushing touchdown list, with 26 already to his name.
Rodriguez's preseason accolades include the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List, the Maxwell Award Watch List and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List. He's also been selected to the first team preseason All-SEC team by the league's coaches, and he was picked as a preseason second-team All-American by college football expert Phil Steele.
Prior to the start of the season, Mark Stoops sat down with BBN Tonight hosts Keith Farmer and Anna Tarullo, as well as the UK Sports Network's Christi Thomas. He said, in part:
"I will be extremely loyal to Chris forever because nobody's perfect, and people make mistakes here and there. I think everybody's human, but we all appreciate what Chris has done for this university."
"I will be extremely loyal to Chris forever because nobody's perfect and people make mistakes here and there. I think everybody's human, but we all appreciate what Chris has done for this university."— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) August 27, 2022
⬇️Watch Coach @UKCoachStoops' full statement on Chris Rodriguez, Jr. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/nHG4rcrfQp
Kickoff for the Kentucky vs. Youngstown State game is set for this Saturday at noon on the SEC Network.