Three Wildcats Earn Preseason Coaches All-SEC Honors
LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. headlined a trio of Wildcats named to the 2019 Preseason Coaches All-Southeastern Conference teams, the league announced on Thursday. Bowden earned three different spots on the three teams, including as the all-purpose threat on the second team.
Senior offensive guard Logan Stenberg also was named to the second-team offense, while junior center Drake Jackson was named a third-team selection. Bowden added third-team wide receiver and third-team return specialist to his recognition list. Coaches could not vote for their own players.
Bowden, from Youngstown, Ohio, is coming off a sensational 2018 season that saw him break the school record for most receptions (67) by a sophomore in school history, surpassing Derek Abney’s 66 from 2001. He led the Wildcats in catches, receiving yards (745) and touchdown receptions (five) and hauled in the most catches in a season since current NFL star Randall Cobb caught 84 passes in 2010.
In 2018, he had seven games with at least five receptions, including a career-best 13 for 166 yards in a last-second victory at Missouri in which he also returned a punt for a score to spark the Cats. In the regular season finale against rival Louisville he caught six passes for 86 yards and a pair of scores and followed that up with five receptions for 84 yards and a punt return for a touchdown in a win over Penn State in the VRBO Citrus Bowl.
Bowden enters 2019 needing just 45 receiving yards to become the 30th player in school history to reach 1,000 for their career. With 16 more receptions he would become the 17th UK player to have 100 career catches.
The All-SEC return specialist totaled two punt returns for TDs in 2018 on just five total returns. With a 58-yard punt return for a TD in the first quarter vs. Penn State and 67-yarder at Missouri, he was one of just three players nationally last season with two punt returns for a TD. He also returned 25 kickoffs for an average of 21.6 yards per return.
Stenberg, who hails from Madison, Alabama, has played in 38 career games, starting the last 26 for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder has been an indispensable cog in the unit that helped pave the way for the punishing ground attack UK has unleashed the past few seasons, led by Benny Snell Jr.’s record-breaking career.
In 2018, Stenberg started all 13 games as Snell became the first player in program history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. In the Cats’ 27-24 victory over Penn State in the VRBO Citrus Bowl that capped the best season in 41 years, Snell broke the school’s career rushing record and scored his 47th and 48th career rushing touchdowns. Stenberg graded out at 85.5 percent for the season, registering 78 knockdown blocks and 154 blocks at the point of attack. He did not miss a single assignment all season and allowed just one sack.
Stenberg is a SEC Honor Roll member and graduated in May 2019 with a degree in integrated strategic communication and is currently working on a second communication degree.
Jackson, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, started at center in all 13 games last season, giving him 20 consecutive starts. He was responsible for only one-half quarterback sack and he had 141 blocks at the point of attack, and had 33 knockdown blocks.
Kentucky opens the 2019 season against first-time opponent Toledo on Saturday, Aug. 31 at Noon ET on the SEC Network. The following week, Eastern Michigan returns to Lexington (Sept. 7) for a 7:30 p.m. ET start on ESPNU or the SEC Network Alternate. The three-game home stand will conclude with the conference opener vs. the Florida Gators on Sept. 14 in Kroger Field. That highly-anticipated matchup is set to air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, the only conference game in the prime time window.