From UK Athletics

Center Jon Toth, safety Mike Edwards, linebacker Jordan Jones and running back Stanley “Boom” Williams honored by Athlon Sports. 

Photo by Brandon Turner

Photo by Brandon Turner

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and assistant head coach for offense Eddie Gran each were recognized by Athlon Sports for their efforts this season in leading the Wildcats to a 7-5 record and berth in the Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Bowl.

Stoops, in his fourth year at the helm of the program, received runner-up honors for Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, while Gran also was named runner-up in the SEC Offensive Coordinator of the Year category. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin, respectively, won the awards.

After an 0-2 start, Stoops rallied the team to win seven of its last 10 games, capped by a victory at No. 11-ranked Louisville, in earning the Wildcats’ first bowl bid since 2010.  Gran overcame the loss of his starting quarterback early in the season to assemble an offense that averaged 31 points and 428.2 yards per game, setting several school records in the process.

Jon Toth. Photo by Brandon Turner

Jon Toth. Photo by Brandon Turner

Additionally, senior center Jon Toth was named fourth-team All-America and second-team All-SEC to highlight four Wildcats honored by Athlon. Sophomore safety Mike Edwards, sophomore linebacker Jordan Jones and junior running back Stanley “Boom” Williams each were named third-team All-SEC by the popular college football resource.

Toth, who hails from Indianapolis, is one of the top centers in college football for the second straight season. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound senior, has played in 48 career games with a nation-high 47 consecutive starts. Last season, he helped UK’s four-man running back rotation collect 1,855 yards. This season the Cats’ running game ranks 16th nationally at 241.2 rushing yards per game, including 291.4 yards over the final six contests. Toth leads the team with 69 knockdown blocks and has been credited with 195 blocks at the point of attack this season.  The Wildcats have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, Williams and Benny Snell Jr., for the first time in school history.

The Cats are averaging 5.52 yards per rushing attempt this season, on track to be a school record by more than a half-yard per attempt. Should the offense rush for at least 230 yards and two touchdowns in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Dec. 31 the unit will set new single-season school records for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in a season.  All totaled, Kentucky has already broken or could break as many as 12 team and individual rushing records this season.

Off the field, Toth is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member and is on track to graduate in December with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was a nominee for several national awards this season, including the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award, the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding center and the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best interior lineman. Toth has been selected to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. As a group, Kentucky’s offensive line was a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s best O-Line unit.

Edwards, a native of Cincinnati, finished the regular season leading all SEC defensive backs in tackles with 93. He ranks fourth in the SEC with 7.8 tackles per game. The 6-foot, 200-pounder had four double-digit tackle performances and tied for the team lead with three interceptions, including two of Heisman Trophy finalist Lamar Jackson in the Cats’ 41-38 victory over No. 11 Louisville. Edwards has recorded a tackle in 20 consecutive games and has 132 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions and 11 pass breakups for his career.

jordan-jones-celebratesJones, from Youngstown, Ohio, burst onto the scene this season with 19 tackles in the season opener and never slowed down. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound sophomore finished the regular season with 100 total tackles to rank third in the SEC in tackles per game (8.3) and his 70 solo tackles led the league and ranked 11th nationally.

Jones is the only player in UK history to have at least 100 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks in a single season. Jones also added nine quarterback hurries, four pass breakups and a forced fumble. He recorded four games with double-digit tackles and finished with two tackles for loss or more in four of his final five games played.

Williams, from Monroe, Ga., has had an explosive season in leading the Cats with 1,135 rushing yards, making him just the ninth player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards in a season. Williams, who is currently riding a school-record tying five-game rushing touchdown streak, ranks seventh in the SEC and 42nd nationally at 94.6 rushing yards per game and has matched his own single-season school record of 7.1 yards per attempt.

Boom Williams. Photo By Brandon Turner

Boom Williams. Photo By Brandon Turner

Williams now ranks seventh on UK’s all-time rushing list with 2,476 career rushing yards, leaving him 128 yards shy of surpassing Derrick Locke for sixth all-time.

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