LEXINGTON, Ky. — When Kentucky players went through physical testing at the beginning of the season, there was something different about Benny Snell. The running back’s heart rate normalized faster than most after exercise.
Snell remembers when Chris Morris, Kentucky’s director of performance science, told him about his heart rate. Mark Stoops again brought it up at his press conference Monday afternoon and his radio show Monday night.
“I feel like I’m a superhero or something like that,” Snell said with a smile. “It’s a good thing.”
That anatomical advantage might be one factor in explaining why Snell keeps churning despite his heavy workload. He’s carried the ball 188 times this year — 22 times more than anyone else in the SEC, and 10th most in the country.
“I feel like you can always use me,” Snell said. “I can take a little bit of punishment and then I can keep going for even more. I feel like some guys as a running back can’t do that.”
Eddie Gran coached a player like that when he was special teams coordinator at Auburn in the mid-2000s. Carlos Rogers wasn’t a running back, but he was the best defensive back in the country his senior year and went on to be the ninth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
“He could go 70 plays and play on special teams as a DB,” Gran said. “He just never got tired.”
And as Rogers accumulated accolades at Auburn, Snell is on pace to smash rushing records at Kentucky. The sophomore leads the SEC with 897 rushing yards and is second with 12 rushing touchdowns. The Westerville, Ohio, native needs 103 more yards to become the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
Though his heart rate slows faster than most, don’t expect his production to follow suit.
Benny Snell’s record pace
It’s no surprise that a cross-armed Benny Snell is on the cover of the “Kentucky records” page in the media guide. It’s again worth noting that Snell is just a sophomore who didn’t even record a carry in the first three games of his freshman season.
Here’s a look at his record pace:
- Needs 103 yards to become the first player in school history to rush for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons.
- Needs 5 more rushing touchdowns this season to break Moe Williams’ Kentucky record of 17 rushing touchdowns in the 1995 season.
- Needs just 2 more rushing touchdown to break Moe Williams’ and Sonny Collins’ record for most career rushing touchdowns (26) at Kentucky.
- Snell’s 1,988 rushing yards have him ninth on the Kentucky career rushing leaders list. He needs 118 yards to pass Artose Pinner for eighth all-time. Sonny Collins holds the Kentucky record with 3,835 career rushing yards.
Already in the record books:
- The first player in school history with at least five 100-yard rushing games in back-to-back seasons.
- The first player in school history with at least 176 rushing yards in back-to-back games.
- Set six Kentucky freshman records: 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).
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