Senior offensive tackle Darian Kinnard can add another All-America accolade to his resume as he was named a first-team AFCA FBS Coaches’ All-American, it was announced today by the American Football Coaches Association.
The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and currently selects teams in all five of its divisions. What makes these teams so special is that they are the only ones chosen exclusively by the men who know the players the best — the coaches themselves.
This is the third time in the last four years a Wildcat has been named to the AFCA FBS Coaches’ All-America Team. DE/LB Josh Allen earned first-team honors in 2018, while Benny Snell Jr., was a second-team selection. In 2019, Lynn Bowden Jr., and Max Duffy both earned first-team nods.
It was also announced today that Kinnard earned second-team All-America by The Sporting News.
Kinnard, a 6-foot-5, 338-pound mountain from Knoxville, Tennessee, led Kentucky with 30 knockdown blocks in 12 games for the 22nd-ranked Wildcats this season. 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.
He was recently awarded the Southeastern Conference’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 from the Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp, 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.
Postseason Awards for Kinnard:
First-Team All-America (AFCA, AP, FWAA, Walter Camp, CBS Sports, Reese’s Senior Bowl)
Second-Team All-American (The Sporting News, PFF, The Athletic)
First-Team All-SEC (AP, PFF, Coaches)
2021 Jacobs Blocking Trophy
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 in Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN Radio and the UK Sports Radio Network.