Four UK football players named to AP All-Sec team

Darian Kinnard, Chris Rodriguez Jr. and Joshua Paschal named to first team; Wan’Dale Robinson on second team

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – The Associated Press has announced its All-Southeastern Conference teams and four Kentucky football players were honored. Senior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard, senior defensive end Joshua Paschal and junior running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. were named to the first team, while junior wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson earned second-team accolades.

Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound mountain from Knoxville, Tennessee, continues to rack up the postseason honors this season after leading the team at the right tackle position with 30 knockdown blocks. He also allowed only one quarterback sack in 375 pass plays. Pro Football Focus evaluated Kinnard as one of only three Power Five tackles to grade at 85 or better as both a run and pass blocker.
Kinnard was recently awarded the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, just the second Kentucky player to win the award, which annually has been given to the SEC’s top blocker since 1935.  He was a semifinalist for both the 2021 Rotary Lombardi Award, given to an offensive or defensive lineman who combines outstanding performance on the field with the character and discipline of NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, and the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman. He also was a two-time SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following wins over Vanderbilt and Louisville. In addition, he has earned first-team All-America honors by CBS/247sports and the Senior Bowl and second-team All-America by PFF and The Athletic.

Under Kinnard’s leadership on the offensive line, the Wildcats’ offense is averaging 431.1 total yards per game, including 206.1 on the ground, and is averaging 6.57 yards per play, which would set a new school record for a season. According to PFF, UK leads the SEC in rushing yards before contact, averaging 2.6 yards per attempt.

Paschal, a 6-3, 275-pound defensive end from Prince George’s County, Maryland, is the only three-time full-season team captain in Kentucky football history. The All-American is having his best season yet in 2021, leading the team and ranking second in the SEC with 15.5 tackles for loss. He also has 53 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a team-high eight quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal.

Paschal has also earned second-team All-America honors this postseason by CBS/247Sports and he was named to the All-SEC second team by PFF.

Rodriguez Jr., a 5-11, 224-pound running back out of McDonough, Georgia, ranks 12th nationally and second in the SEC in rushing this season, averaging 106.0 yards per game. In 12 games this season, he has 1,272 rushing yards, which ranks seventh on UK’s single-season list. Overall, he has 2,633 career rushing yards for seventh on the school’s all-time rushing list. He has 14 100-yard games in his career (third all-time) and a school-record tying eight this season, including each of the last four contests.

Rodriguez received second-team All-SEC honors from the league’s coaches and was an honorable-mention All-SEC choice by PFF.

Robinson, a 5-foot-10, 183-pounder from Frankfort, Kentucky, has been one of the most electric players to ever come through the Kentucky football program. The transfer from Nebraska has caught a team-high 94 passes, a school single-season record, and his 1,164 receiving yards are second on UK’s single-season list. He ranks sixth nationally in receptions per game and has 11 plays of 30+ yards.

In 12 games this season, Robinson has five 100-yard games which ranks second on UK’s single-season list. He joins Randall Cobb as the only two receivers in school history to have 12 or more receptions in multiple games during their career.

Robinson was a first-team All-SEC selection by PFF and a second-team All-SEC choice by the league’s coaches.

Alabama’s Bryce Young was named 2021 AP SEC Offensive Player of the Year and and th Tide’s Will Anderson was named 2021 AP SEC Defensive Player of the Year by a media voting panel, the AP announced.

The SEC announced Young won SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Anderson won SEC Defensive Player of the Year in a poll of the league’s coaches.

Georgia’s Kirby Smart was named SEC Coach of the Year by AP, and Georgia’s Brock Bowers won the Newcomer of the Year award.

AP first-team All-SEC

Offense

QB — Bryce Young, Alabama

RB — Tyler Badie, Missouri (unanimous)

RB — Chris Rodriguez, Kentucky

T — Darian Kinnard, Kentucky

T— Charles Cross, Mississippi State

C — Michael Maietti, Missouri

G — Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

G — Justin Shaffer, Georgia

TE — Brock Bowers, Georgia

WR — Jameson Williams, Alabama (unanimous)

WR — Treylon Burks, Arkansas

K — Harrison Mevis, Missouri

AP — Velus Jones, Tennessee

Defense

DE — Sam Williams, Mississippi

DE — Josh Paschal, Kentucky

DT — DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M

DT — Jordan Davis, Georgia

LB — Will Anderson, Alabama (unanimous)

LB — Nakobe Dean, Georgia

LB — Damone Clark, LSU

DB — Roger McCreary, Auburn

DB — Lewis Cine, Georgia

DB — Jaylan Foster, South Carolina

DB — Jordan Battle, Alabama

P — Nik Constantinou, Texas A&M

AP second-team All-SEC

Offense

QB — Matt Corral, Mississippi

RB — Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M

RB — Brian Robinson, Alabama

T — Evan Neal, Alabama

T — Jamaree Salyer, Georgia

G — Layden Robinson, Texas A&M

G — Justin Shaffer, Georgia

C — Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas

TE — Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M

WR — Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky

WR — John Metchie III, Alabama

PK — Cade York, LSU

Defense

DE — Derick Hall, Auburn

DE — Tyree Johnson, Texas A&M

DT — Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

DT — Neal Farrell Jr., LSU

LB — Channing Tindall, Georgia

LB — Zakoby McClain, Auburn

LB — Bumper Pool, Arkansas

DB — Derion Kendrick, Georgia

DB — Cam Smith, South Carolina

DB — AJ Finley, Mississippi

DB — Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

P — Jake Camarda, Georgia

AP — Jameson Williams, Alabama

AP SEC individual awards

SEC Offensive Player of the Year — Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

SEC Defensive Player of the Year — Will Anderson, LB, Alabama

SEC Coach of the Year — Kirby Smart, Georgia

SEC Newcomer of the Year — Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Kentucky (9-3, 5-3 SEC) is headed to Orlando, Fla., for a school-record sixth straight bowl appearance. The No. 22 Wildcats have accepted a bid to play in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl and will face No. 15 Iowa Jan. 1, 2022 in Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN Radio and the UK Sports Radio Network.

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