NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Add two more names to the University of Kentucky’s draft list as running back Benny Snell Jr. was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 122nd pick in the fourth round and offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei was taken in the seventh round as the No. 232 pick in the National Football League Draft on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.
The pair joins Josh Allen, Lonnie Johnson Jr. and Mike Edwards, making up the most draft picks since eight players (James Ramsey, Jim Kovach, Kelly Kirchbaum, Rod Stewart, Bob Winkel, Robert Hawkins, Dan Fowler and David Stephens) were chosen in 1979.
Snell, a native Westerville, Ohio, concluded his illustrious three-year career with 3,873 rushing yards and 48 TDs in 39 games. He joined Herschel Walker as the only two players in Southeastern Conference history to rush for at least 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of their first three seasons.
He continued his onslaught on the UK record books, breaking or tying 14 school records during his career. He became the Wildcats’ all-time leading rusher in the Citrus Bowl, breaking the UK career rushing record of 3,835 yards held by Sonny Collins from 1972-75.
He was named second-team All-America by Walter Camp Football Foundation, College Football News, USA Today, American Football Coaches Association and third-team All-America by AP and Athlon Sports. He also was a First-Team All-SEC choice in 2018.
Snell is the 12th Kentucky player drafted by the Steelers, the first since Bud Dupree in 2015.
Wildcats who have played for the Steelers include Jeff Brady (1991), Dermontti Dawson (1988-2000), Thom Dornbrook (1979), Bob Daugherty (1958), Bud Dupree (2015-present), Russell Hairston (1987), Dick Hensley (1952), David Johnson (1989-93), Steve Mellinger (1961) and Lou Michaels (1961-63).
Snell is the first UK running back taken in the draft since Artose Pinner in 2003.
Asafo-Adjei, of West Chester, Ohio, was a key cog in the offensive line unit who blocked for Snell, the first Wildcat to rush for 1,000 or more yards in three straight seasons. He played in 48 career games with 23 starts and was part of a senior class (2015-18) who totaled 29 wins, the second-most of any senior class since freshmen became eligible in 1972.
“Big George” graduated in December of 2018 with a degree in community and leadership development.
He is the ninth Kentucky player drafted by the Giants, the first since quarterback Andre’ Woodson in 2008.
He is the second offensive lineman to be drafted under head coach Mark Stoops, joining OG Larry Warford in the third round in 2013.
Wildcats who have played for the Giants are George Adams (1985-89), John Connor (2013), Maurice Douglass (1995-96), Dan Fowler (1979), Dick Hensley (1949), Shipwreck Kelly (1932), Doug Kotar (1974-81), Jim Little (1945), Jared Lorenzen (2005-07), Noah Mullins (1949), Dave Roller (1971), Omar Smith (2002-03), Ken Willis (1992), Walt Yowarsky (1955-57).
Kentucky/NFL Draft Notes:
- Coach Mark Stoops’ steady building of a program with the mantra “recruit and develop” continues to bear fruit. UK’s best season on the field in 41 years (10-3 record) is being surpassed on the NFL Draft board. For the first time in school history, Kentucky has a player drafted in each of the first four rounds. The only other schools to accomplish that feat in this year’s draft are Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
- UK’s five draft picks are the most since eight players (James Ramsey, Jim Kovach, Kelly Kirchbaum, Rod Stewart, Bob Winkel, Robert Hawkins, Dan Fowler and David Stephens) were chosen in 1979.
- Josh Allen was the 17th player in UK history selected in the first round on Thursday.
- Allen is UK’s highest draft pick since Dewayne Robertson was selected as the fourth pick by the Jets in 2003.
- Allen is the 11th player in UK history chosen in the top 10 and the first since Dewayne Robertson was selected as the fourth pick by the Jets in 2003.
- Allen is the sixth player drafted under head coach Mark Stoops at Kentucky and the second first-round pick, joining Bud Dupree (Pittsburgh Steelers) in 2015.
- Since 2001, Coach Stoops has now recruited and developed 12 first-round draft picks.
- Kentucky has had a linebacker drafted in five of the last eight NFL drafts (2019 – Josh Allen, 2016 – Josh Forrest, 2015 – Bud Dupree, 2015 – Za’Darius Smith, 2014 – Avery Williamson).
- There have been two other Wildcats who have played for the Jaguars’ franchise in Marlon McCree (2001-03) and Winston Guy (2013-14).
- Lonnie Johnson Jr. was taken with the 22nd pick, the 54th overall of the 2019 Draft.
- Johnson is the first Kentucky player drafted by Houston since the franchise was founded in 2002.
- Two Wildcats have played for the Texans, including safety Marlon McCree (2003-04) and quarterback Shane Boyd (2007).
- Johnson is the first UK cornerback taken in the draft since Trevard Lindley in 2010.
- Mike Edwards was the 35th pick of the third round, 99th overall.
- Edwards is the first Wildcat taken by the Buccaneers since James Whalen in the 2000 draft.
- Wildcats who have played for Tampa Bay include defensive end Don Fielder (1985), linebacker Cam Jacobs (1987), defensive end James Ramey (1987), kicker Ken Willis (1992), linebacker Jeff Brady (1994), safety Melvin Johnson (1995-97) and safety Reggie Rusk (1996-97).
- Edwards is the first UK safety taken since Winston Guy in 2012.