Benny Snell, Pittsburgh’s fourth round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is extremely happy that he will begin his professional football career with the Steelers. Kentucky’s all-time career rushing leader said just that during an interview with 93.7 The Fan on Friday.
The 5’11, 223-pound back rushed for 3,873 yards and 48 touchdowns while averaging 5.3 yards per carry during his time with the Wildcats. He saved one of his best college performances for last, rushing for 144 yards and two scores on 26 carries to help lift his Kentucky Wildcats to a 27-24 victory over Penn State in the 2019 Citrus Bowl. Snell won offensive MVP honors for his performance.
“I felt like I was made to be a Steeler,” Snell said. “It was just right. It feels right. This is my type of football and the fit was just perfect. I feel that I’ve been in a lot of situations, and the NFL is completely different, but I feel like I’ve had pressure on my shoulders on so many occasions that I became successful at the end of the game. Or I was able to get those tough yards, get the touchdown if needed, so I feel like whatever situation I’m put in, I’m going to try to give my best so we can have the best outcome.”
What does Snell expect to bring to Pittsburgh’s offense in 2019?
“I try not to let one guy tackle me so running people over and getting those tough yards is just kind of natural to me,” Snell said. “With me being the size that I am, I feel like I’m pretty stout as a pass blocker. Things are pretty different in the NFL so I’m going to have to adjust to that.”
Eddie Faulkner, who is entering his first year as Pittsburgh’s running backs coach, discussed the selection of Snell last weekend. He also talked about how he sees Snell fitting in the offense.
“I mean I think Benny provides a lot of depth,” Faulkner said. “He’s just a good football player. In my experience, when you have a roster of good football players, and guys who come everyday and put it to work, I mean he’s going to bring that to the equation. When you have that passion of love for football, they’re going to be willing to contribute in whatever capacity that they can. Not just in the running back room, but with Danny Smith, in special teams, and things in that nature. Again, very excited in what he brings, and we added another great football player to the roster.”
Snell also confirmed his desire to wear No. 26, the number previously worn in Pittsburgh by Le’Veon Bell.
“I came in, I kind of was thinking I might want to do the fresh start thing and not grab 26,” he said. “But I feel like 26 is something I can inherit, so we can forget about the past. This is a new beginning for the team. They’re kinda rookie’ing me for my number right now, but I can say it’s going to be a 20 number, for sure, and you know, I’m just taking it slow.”
Mark Stoops, Snell’s head coach at Kentucky, believes that Snell’s underdog mentality will continue to serve him well at the next level.
“Benny is going to be successful because that is just the way he is wired and he is going to work really hard,” Stoops said in the week leading up to the draft. “That is a great mentality to have because those yards are tough to come by in the SEC — and look at the success he has had — and they are hard to come by in the NFL. You need a player like that.”