Oliver Barnett named Kentucky’s SEC football legend

Former defensive lineman held UK’s sacks record until Josh Allen broke it in 2018


LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Former University of Kentucky football defensive lineman Oliver Barnett has been named a 2019 Southeastern Conference Legend, it was announced today.

Barnett spent much of his collegiate career in the opponent backfield as a pass-rush terror at UK from 1986-89 . During his time as a Wildcat, he set school records with 43 tackles for loss, 26 quarterback sacks, and 12 forced fumbles. His sacks record was just recently broken by All-American Josh Allen in 2018 (31.5 sacks).

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Barnett earned All-America honors as a senior and All-SEC accolades his final two seasons at Kentucky. After his Wildcat days, Barnett played in the Senior Bowl and Blue-Gray all-star games before being selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Draft. He totaled six NFL seasons with the Falcons, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49’ers, including a trip to the 1994 Super Bowl with the Bills. He was inducted in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

Barnett graduated from Kentucky with a degree in social work in 1992 and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Tia and two children, Elle and Elijah. His son, Elijah, is a senior outside linebacker for the Wildcats.

The 2019 Football Legends Class includes 14 former stars who excelled on the gridiron and helped write the rich history of the sport at their respective institutions. This year’s class includes All-Americans, All-SEC selections and Academic All-Americans as well as successful head coaches. The group represents teams that won National and SEC Championships, participated in Super Bowl titles and are represented in state, school and college football halls of fame.

The class will be honored at the 2019 SEC Football “Weekend of Champions” December 6-7 in Atlanta, Ga, highlighted by the annual SEC Legends Dinner on Friday, December 6 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. The group will also be recognized prior to the SEC Football Championship Game, which will be held at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, December 7.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com