NFL Draft

The Person Behind The Player: RB Benny Snell Jr.

The newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, running back Benny Snell Jr. is hard to miss. His confidence and personality are evident as soon as he steps into the room. The running back managed to put Kentucky football on the map with his hard-nosed play and “Snell Yeah”, a popular catchphrase he invented.

“Snell Yeah” was often the answer to any problems Kentucky faced on the field as Snell accumulated 3873 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns over his NCAA career. The phrase “Snell Yeah” also helps shed light on the running back’s personality. Often referring to himself in third person, Snell may give a wrong impression but do not be fooled, his confidence comes not from an inflated ego or arrogance but instead from a massive chip on his shoulder.

Coming out of high school, Snell was ranked a three-star prospect and he was not very happy with his ranking. In an interview with Bleacher Report, the running back was very vocal with his displeasure surround his three-star ranking.

“They just line you up and put stars on your head, and that’s what you are. Nobody is putting a star on me. I’m a 10-star. You can’t put a rank on me. You can’t put a rank on love of the game.”

Snell has not forgotten about his three-star ranking, he remembers it every time he is handed the football and pounds his way through an opposing defense.

“Every time I run the ball, I’m thinking, oh yeah, you don’t think I’m good enough? Watch this. They’re all going to pay,” Snell told Bleacher Report.

The running back wears his emotions on his sleeve, he is not one to shy away from the moment. Unfortunately, one of his most infamous moments came during the Music City Bowl when he was ejected for shoving an official after expressing frustration for being driven into the ground. The play in question can be seen below.

Immediately, Kentucky came to his defense after his character was called into question. Athletic director Mitch Barnhart could not stand and watch a controversial decision ruin the legacy of one of his players. Barnhart offered this statement on Twitter, defending Snell’s character.

“Benny, who has been a quality young man in our program, has my full support and the support of Coach Stoops and our football program. Benny’s frustration and his passion for the game are why he reacted the way he did, but he was not deserving of an ejection. It is unfortunate our fans didn’t get to see one of the best running backs in the country play against an excellent Northwestern team.”

Barnhart could have easily defended the official’s decision or not said anything at all but his decision to defend Snell speaks to the kind of character the running back possesses. Snell is an ultra-competitive player who just wants to win and he has no problem calling out team mates who do not share the same passion for winning. Here are Snell’s comments following a loss to Tennessee.

“It was obvious Tennessee wanted it more than Kentucky, so that’s why the outcome was what it was. We’ve got to eliminate those guys that don’t have that hunger. Don’t have [it] anymore, we don’t need you,” Snell told Chris Fisher.

The running back seems like he was destined to be a member of the Steelers’ organization. Snell will be joining a hungry team that will also be playing with a chip on their shoulder after missing the post season in 2018.

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