Six Wildcats Honored by Phil Steele Publications

Posted at 3:18 PM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-20 15:18:30-05
The Football team defeats Florida 27-16 on Saturday, September 9, 2018.
Photo by Britney Howard | UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior linebacker Josh Allen, senior safety Mike Edwards, sophomore center Drake Jackson, junior running back Benny Snell Jr., senior offensive guard Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings  and senior safety Darius West have received All-America and/or All-Southeastern Conference recognition from Phil Steele Publications.

Allen, Snell and Stallings were All-America choices, Allen on the first team and Snell and Stallings as third-teamers.  All three were picked first-team All-SEC.  Steele also selected Edwards (second team) and Jackson and West (third team) on his All-SEC squads.

Allen’s honors add to the huge list of accolades for the senior from Montclair, N.J.

  • Bronko Nagurski Award, National Defensive Player of the Year
  • Chuck Bednarik Award, National Defensive Player of the Year
  • Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, National Defensive Player of the Year
  • Jack Lambert Award, National Linebacker of the Year
  • First-Team All-America by Walter Camp Football Foundation, Sports Illustrated,, ESPN, Associated Press, College Football News, Football Writers Association of America, Sporting News, USA Today, CBS, American Football Coaches Association, Athlon Sports, Phil Steele
  • SEC Defensive Player of the Year by Associated Press, Coaches, Athlon
  • SEC Lineman of the Year by Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club
  • First-Team All-SEC by Associated Press, Coaches, Athlon, ESPN, CBS, Phil Steele

Allen has been a pass rush terror this season. With 28.5 career sacks and 14 sacks in 2018, he now holds UK’s career and single-season records. His 11 career forced fumbles tie former Wildcats and current Chicago Bear Danny Trevathan for UK’s career mark (forced fumbles stats available since 1988).  He leads the team with 84 tackles and paces the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss (18.5) and forced fumbles (5). He is among the NCAA leaders in sacks, TFL and forced fumbles. Twelve of his 14 sacks have come in the second half of games, including eight in the fourth quarter. In five of UK’s wins this season, Allen had a sack in the fourth quarter that was crucial to the Wildcat victory, including two sack/fumble/UK recoveries on the opponent’s final possession of one-score games.

Snell, the junior from Westerville, Ohio, is among the national leaders with 1,305 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He joined Herschel Walker as the only two players in SEC history to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of his first three seasons. He continued his onslaught on the UK record books this season and has broken or tied 13 school records during his career. He needs 107 yards in the VRBO Citrus Bowl to become the Wildcats’ all-time leading rusher.  His honors include:

  • Second-Team All-America by Walter Camp Football Foundation, College Football News, USA Today, American Football Coaches Association
  • Third-Team All-America by Associated Press, Athlon, Phil Steele
  • First-Team All-SEC by Associated Press, Coaches, Athlon, ESPN, CBS, Phil Steele

Stallings, a senior from McComb, Miss., was responsible for only one-half quarterback sack all year.  He totaled 170 blocks at the point of attack and had 55 knockdown blocks. His blocking efficiency helped Snell reach his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. His honors feature:

  • First-Team All-America:, Associated Press
  • Second-Team All-America by USA Today, Athlon, Sports Illustrated
  • Third-Team All-America by Phil Steele
  • First-Team All-SEC by Associated Press, Coaches, Athlon, ESPN, Phil Steele, CBS

Edwards, a senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, capped his career in style with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown on Senior Day vs. Middle Tennessee. Having started 43 consecutive games, Edwards ranked second on the team in tackles with 77, added nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and tied for the team lead in pass breakups with six. He joined the 300-career tackle club as well this season. He has been a second-team All-SEC pick by AP and Phil Steele and a third-team choice by Athlon.  This marks the third season in a row that Edwards has earned All-SEC honors.

This is the first time that Jackson, a sophomore from Versailles, Ky., has received All-SEC recognition. He was responsible for only one-half quarterback sack this season.  He had 141 blocks at the point of attack and had 33 knockdown blocks. He was a significant contributor to helping Snell reach his third-consecutive 1,000-yard season.

West, a senior from Lima, Ohio, also is receiving his first All-SEC laurels.  He led the team with three interceptions – all against SEC opponents in the second half of games – and tied Edwards for the team lead in pass breakups with six. He blocked a field goal that proved to be crucial in the 15-14 win at Missouri.  He made 76 tackles for the season and also returned a fumble for a touchdown at Texas A&M.

The players led Kentucky to a 9-3 record, UK’s best regular-season record in 41 years, and UK’s 5-3 SEC record is the team’s first winning league mark in 41 years. The Wildcats conclude the season Jan. 1 vs. Penn State in the VRBO Citrus Bowl.

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