UK’s Darian Kinnard named SEC Co-Offensive Lineman of Week

The senior offensive tackle helped pave way for offense in win at Vanderbilt

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky offensive tackle Darian Kinnard has been named the Southeastern Conference Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in Kentucky’s 34-17 win at Vanderbilt, the league announced on Monday.

Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound mountain from Knoxville, Tennessee, played every offensive snap and graded at 88 percent in the Wildcats’ seventh win of the season. Led by the offensive line, UK amassed 236 rushing yards and 6.6 yards per attempt (7.1 per attempt before two kneel-downs at the end of the game) as it cruised in Nashville.

For the game, Kinnard had four knockdown blocks and 16 blocks at the point of attack, did not miss an assignment nor allow any quarterback sacks or pressures. UK raced out to a 31-3 halftime lead and scored on each of its first four possessions.

Kinnard continues to rate as one of the nation’s top offensive tackles and recently was named one of 12 semifinalists for 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.

The midseason All-American has played in 43 career games with 36 consecutive starts at right tackle for the “Big Blue Wall” that has bludgeoned opponents with one of the top rushing attacks in FBS the past few years.

The Wildcats’ offense is averaging 395.5 total yards per game, including 186.3 on the ground, and saw running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. become the 10th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season during the win at Vanderbilt. Kinnard is the only Power Five tackle who ranks among the nation’s top 10 in both run- and pass-blocking as evaluated by Pro Football Focus.

Kinnard’s list of preseason awards included being named a preseason first-team All-American by Athlon Sports, ESPN, USA Today, Walter Camp and Pro Football Focus. He was also a preseason second-team All-America choice by Phil Steele. Additionally, he was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by Athlon Sports, Media, Phil Steele and Walter Camp. He also is on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman on offense or defense in college football, and the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Kentucky hosts Senior Day this Saturday, of which Kinnard is expected to take part in pregame ceremonies honoring seniors. Kickoff vs. New Mexico State is set for noon ET on the SEC Network and the UK Sports Radio Network.

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