During the 1969 football season Joe Namath guaranteed to the world, a New York Jets victory over the Baltimore Colts and it happened. It was such a shocker at the time because the Green Bay Packers of the NFL had dominated the first 2 Super Bowls over the AFL.
Namath got all of the credit because he was a Quarterback. But, the defense was superb and hard running Fullback Matt Snell totaled over 100 yards rushing and helped the Jets to a 16-7 win. That was the first win by the old AFL over the NFL and changed things forever as the two leagues merged to form the new NFL.
Now in his mid 70’s, tough Fullback Matt Snell played for Woody Hayes at Ohio State. While at Ohio State, Snell played with Pro Football Hall of Fame member Paul Warfield and the Buckeyes won the national championship in 1961.
Two years later, the Cleveland Browns of the NFL picked Warfield in the 1st round, but teammate Snell did not get picked until the 4th round by the New York Giants.
However, back in 1964 the AFL was playing catch up to the NFL and they were trying to steal some
of the better players. The Giants cross town rival, the New York Jets. drafted Snell with their 1st pick which was the 3rd pick in the entire AFL Draft. Snell was picked only behind 2 Quarterbacks in Jack Concannon and Pete Beathard. It did not take a lot of figuring for Snell to pick the Jets and play in the AFL while spurning the established Giants. The Jets paid him more money than the Giants were willing to part with, because there were bidding wars back then.
The following AFL Draft was the year that everything changed for pro football with the New York Jets selecting Joe Willie Namath from Alabama. He would lead the AFL Jets to a victory over the Colts and he was the beginning of the big contracts in pro football. Namath had one of the more famous big arms in the NFL and he aired it out to Wide Receivers Don Maynard and George Sauer, and Tight End Pete Lammons. They ran the ball with Halfback Emerson Boozer and Fullback Matt Snell.
They had a prolific offense for the day and times.
The mighty Fullback, and leading rusher Matt Snell, had grown up in New York. When Woody Hayes recruited him to Ohio State, Snell played Fullback on Offense and Defensive End as the generation of two way players was winding down. He was one of the last of the college football iron men.
His family moved into the state of Ohio where Matt Snell’s brother became a high school football coach. Matt Snell’s nephew was Benjamin Snell and he played college football at Ohio Northern. Benjamin was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, but played in NFL Europe. He also played in the short lived XFL.
Say what you want about Kentucky head football coach Mark Stoops, but he is smart enough to know that there’s a lot of football talent in the state of Ohio. Some football recruits want to stay close to home and Kentucky is closer for them than most Big 10 schools and some kids want to play in the SEC for whatever reasons. Either way, Kentucky gives some Ohio recruits a decent option for
playing college football and the Kentucky Wildcats work the state of Ohio really hard.
In the 2016 Kentucky recruiting class, they signed 12 players from the state of Ohio. That accomplishes two things. First, it helps the Kentucky program and it also weakens the SEC’s mortal enemy, the Big 10. The state of Ohio is the Big 10’s strongest state as far as providing football talent. Chicago area is good as well as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. But, the SEC pulling talent out of Ohio and the other stronger states definitely makes them better.
Benjamin Snell Jr played his high school football at Westerville Central High School in Westerville, Ohio. Snell Jr ran for over 2,000 yards as a high school junior. His senior season was almost as spectacular with over 1,800 rushing yards.
Working with his young son, Benjamin Snell Jr, dad taught his son well. One of the things that a father with Running Back experience will do for his son is not let him take too much punishment as a youth. That punishment will surely come in college and beyond if he makes it past that level.
There is also more to learn than just toting the football. There’s blitz protection and other things without the ball in your hands that make a great Running Back as well. Father’s care more about teaching fundamentals than winning in youth football.
In spite of his heritage, fundamentals and success at the high school level, Snell Jr was rated only a 3 star recruit by ESPN. He was only their 80th ranked Running Back recruit in the country.
They were wrong on their rankings with Benny Snell Jr running for 1,091 yards and 13 Touchdowns as a true freshman at Kentucky. That sounds even better when considering that Snell split carries with Stanley Boom Williams who also destroyed the 1,000 yard barrier with 1,170 yards.
Snell is listed as 5-11, 220 with excellent power and good speed. He looks like a certain star next season with Williams bolting for the NFL. The Wildcats also return their Quarterback and 4 out of 5 Offensive Linemen.
It looks like a set up for success.