Twelve former Wildcats set for NFL’s opening weekend

Josh Allen, Corey Peters, and Za’Darius Smith named team captains

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Courtesy: UK Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky football will be well-represented when the National Football League opens its 2020 regular season this week, as a dozen former Wildcats have made a team’s roster, headlined by 2020 team captains Josh Allen, Corey Peters, and Za’Darius Smith.

The first two former Wildcats will take the field Thursday night in the league’s showcase opener. Randall Cobb and Lonnie Johnson Jr. both will suit up for the Houston Texans as they take on the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

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Allen and Smith were two of the NFL’s top edge rushers a season ago, joining Alvin “Bud” Dupree to produce 35.0 sacks and further enhance Kentucky coach Mark Stoops’ reputation for developing top-level pass rushers and defensive talents. Mike Edwards (Tampa Bay), Lonnie Johnson Jr. (Houston) and Benny Snell Jr. all impressed in their rookie seasons, while veterans Randall Cobb (Dallas, 2019), Corey Peters (Arizona) and Danny Trevathan (Chicago) continued their impressive careers.

A look at each of the Wildcats in the NFL:

Josh Allen, Jacksonville – The elite edge rusher capped his standout rookie season with a franchise rookie record 10.5 sacks and 23 quarterback hits while forcing a pair of fumbles. He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team and recently was named a team captain.

Lynn Bowden Jr., Miami – Rookie.

Randall Cobb, Houston – Caught 55 passes for 828 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games with Dallas in 2019. In nine seasons, has caught 525 passes for 6,352 yards and 44 scores.

Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Pittsburgh – In 2019, was the Week 9 AFC Defensive Player of the Week and ranked fifth in the league with 16.0 tackles for loss and ninth with 11.5 sacks. Forced four fumbles and recovered two.

Mike Edwards, Tampa Bay – Finished his rookie season with 45 total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries in 15 games (seven starts).

Lonnie Johnson Jr., Houston – Started seven of 14 games as a rookie, totaling 41 tackles and seven passes defended.

Corey Peters, Arizona – Recently named a 2020 team captain, the third time he’s earned that honor. In 2019, had 38 tackles, including six for loss and 2.5 sacks. In his nine-year career he has 44.0 tackles for loss and 17.0 sacks.

Za’Darius Smith, Green Bay – Ranked sixth in the league with 13.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hits last season while being named All-Pro. He has 32.0 sacks in his career. Named a 2020 team captain for the second straight season.

Benny Snell Jr., Pittsburgh – As a rookie in 2019, rushed for 426 yards and two scores on 108 attempts.

Logan Stenberg, Detroit – Rookie.

Danny Trevathan, Chicago – In nine games in 2019, registered 70 total tackles, including 50 solo, with two tackles for loss and a sack in injury-shortened season. In eight seasons, he has 609 total tackles, 26.0 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

Avery Williamson, New York Jets – Missed the 2019 season due to injury. In 2018, logged 120 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss and three sacks.

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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