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Six Wildcats Earn Preseason Coaches All-SEC Honors

Jones and Ware on second team, while Conrad, Edwards, MacGinnis and Snell are third-team members
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Six University of Kentucky football players earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference teams, it was announced Wednesday by the league office. Junior linebacker Jordan Jones and junior defensive end/linebacker Denzil Ware were named second-team defense, while junior tight end C.J. Conrad and sophomore running back Benny Snell Jr., were third-team offense, junior safety Mike Edwards was third-team defense and senior kicker Austin MacGinnis was third-team special teams.

Jones, of Youngstown, Ohio, earned first-team defense honors last season after leading the SEC in solo tackles per game (5.7). Overall, he led UK and ranked third in the league in total tackles per game with 8.4. He finished the season with 109 tackles and led the Wildcats with 15.5 tackles for loss. 


Jones is currently on the preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. He was a third-team Preseason All-SEC pick by the media.


Ware, a native of Opp, Alabama, returns as one of Kentucky’s leading pass rushers as he ranked second on the team in total sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12.0) last year. He has started in 24 of 25 career games for the Wildcats, including 19 consecutive. He also was a second-team Preseason All-SEC selection by the media.


Conrad, a native of LaGrange, Ohio, ranked fourth on the team in receiving in 2016 with 19 catches for 262 yards and four touchdowns. He had a career day vs. New Mexico State, catching five passes for a career-high 133 yards and three touchdowns in the 62-42 win. He became the first player since Dicky Lyons Jr., vs. Florida on Oct. 20, 2007, to have three receiving touchdowns in a game. He also was the first tight end with 100 receiving yards in a game since Jacob Tamme vs. Tennessee on Nov. 24, 2007. The 133 receiving yards are the third-most by a tight end in Kroger Field history. Conrad is currently on the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List for the nation’s top tight end.


Snell, from Westerville, Ohio, set six UK freshman records, including most rushing touchdowns in a game (4), most rushing yards by a freshman (1,091), most rushing touchdowns by a freshman (13), most total touchdowns by a freshman (13), most 100-yard rushing games (5) and most rushing yards by a freshman in a single game (192). He was named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, ESPN and 247Sports.


Snell, who earned a spot on Athlon’s 2017 preseason SEC third-team offense, is on the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, given to college football’s top player and the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top college running back.

Edwards led all SEC defensive backs in tackles in 2016 with 100 and was one of just six players overall in the league with 100 or more tackles on the season. He ranked second on the team and seventh overall in the SEC in tackles per game (7.7) and tied for 10th in the conference in total passes defended (11). He was a second-team Associated Press All-SEC selection, and was a third-team pick by Athlon and Phil Steele.


The safety from Cincinnati had two interceptions of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in Kentucky’s win over No. 11 Louisville in 2016, earning him SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.


Edwards is currently on the watch list for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award, given to college football’s top defensive back. He earned second-team preseason All-SEC honors by Athlon Sports and was also a third-team member on the preseason All-SEC team by the media.


MacGinnis, one of the nation’s top returning kickers, hit 16-of-19 field goal attempts in 2016 and he enters the 2017 season with a streak of seven straight made field goals, which is just four short of his own school record of 11 straight. He is just the second player in school history to hit at least 50 career field goals (57, Joey Worley, 1984-1987) and his 257 career points ranks No. 2 on UK’s all-time scoring list. He needs just 48 more to tie Lones Seiber (2006-09) as the top scorer.


In 2016, MacGinnis connected on a pair of game-winning field goals. His 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds left at No. 11 Louisville marked his second game-winning kick of the season after he also made a 51-yard field goal as time expired for a 40-38 win over Mississippi State.


The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder from Wedowee, Alabama, was a fourth-team preseason All-SEC selection by Athlon Sports. He is currently on the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award preseason watch list.


For more information on the Kentucky football team, follow @UKFootball on Twitter and Instagram, or like Kentucky Football on Facebook.


2017 Preseason Coaches All-SEC Football Team (* – ties)


First Team Preseason All-SEC



TE              Hayden Hurst, South Carolina


OL             Braden Smith, Auburn

                  Martez Ivey, Florida

                  Jonah Williams, Alabama

                  Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama


C                Frank Ragnow, Arkansas


WR            Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

                  Calvin Ridley, Alabama


QB             Jalen Hurts, Alabama


RB             Derrius Guice, LSU

Nick Chubb, Georgia


AP             Christian Kirk, Texas A&M    



DL             Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama

Da’Ron Payne, Alabama

Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss

Trenton Thompson, Georgia


LB              Arden Key, LSU

Skai Moore, South Carolina

Roquan Smith, Georgia


DB             Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Armani Watts, Texas A&M

Duke Dawson, Florida

Ronnie Harrison, Alabama



PK           Daniel Carlson, Auburn


P             JK Scott, Alabama


RS           Christian Kirk, Texas A&M


Second Team Preseason All-SEC



TE           Isaac Nauta, Georgia


OL           Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State

                K.J. Malone, LSU

                Koda Martin, Texas A&M

                Paul Adams, Missouri*

                Greg Little, Ole Miss

                Isaiah Wynn, Georgia*


C             Will Clapp, LSU


WR         J’Mon Moore, Missouri

                Antonio Callaway, Florida


QB          Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State


RB             Kamryn Pettway, Auburn

                  Bo Scarbrough, Alabama


AP              Derrius Guice, LSU



DL               Cece Jefferson, Florida

Marlon Davidson, Auburn

Jabari Zuniga, Florida

Denzil Ware, Kentucky*

Dontavius Russell, Auburn*


LB               Jordan Jones, Kentucky

Rashaan Evans, Alabama

Tre’ Williams, Auburn


DB              Donte Jackson, LSU

Dominick Sanders, Georgia

Carlton Davis, Auburn

Tray Matthews, Auburn



PK           Gary Wunderlich, Ole Miss


P             Johnny Townsend, Florida


RS           Evan Berry, Tennessee


Third Team Preseason All-SEC



TE               C.J. Conrad, Kentucky*

                DeAndre Goolsby, Florida*


OL               Jashon Robertson, Tennessee

Jawaan Taylor, Florida

Zack Bailey, South Carolina

Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas


C             Bradley Bozeman, Alabama


WR             Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

Jauan Jennings, Tennessee


QB          Austin Allen, Arkansas


RB           Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt

                Benny Snell, Kentucky


AP              Brandon Powell, Florida*

Deebo Samuel, South Carolina*

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn*

Trevon Diggs, Alabama*



DL               Terry Beckner, Jr., Missouri

Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia

Christian LaCouture, LSU

Marcell Frazier, Missouri


LB               Oren Burks, Vanderbilt 

Shaun Dion Hamilton, Alabama

Lorenzo Carter, Georgia


DB              Anthony Averett, Alabama

Mike Edwards, Kentucky

Chauncey Gardner, Florida

Ryan Pulley, Arkansas



PK               Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky*

Eddy Piniero, Florida*


P                 Trevor Daniel, Tennessee


RS               Antonio Callaway, Florida

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