MEMPHIS — The preseason accolades just keep rolling in for Tigers redshirt sophomore Kenny Gainwell, like being named to the Maxwell and Doak Walker award watch lists wasn’t enough.
Tuesday Gainwell was named a second team Preseason All-American by the Associated Press, only behind Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard and Clemson’s Travis Etienne.
So some pretty elite company.
Last year, Gainwell burst onto the college football scene becoming just the third player in school history to put up over 2000 yards of total offense in a single season.
He also scored 13 touchdowns.
Guess what? Gainwell is only going to get better.
“I’m going to go out and do the exact same thing as I did last year but with a little more oomph in it. Just give it all I can, Kenny Gainwell said. “The game has slowed down just a little bit for me. Just learning everything I could, knowing defenses and stuff like that even more better. Just being a player of the game.”
“Kenny definitely deserves every preseason recognition he gets but you’re right, they are preseason awards for just that,” Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield said. “I challenge Kenny every day. Anyone who knows Kenny Gainwell knows he’s going to work his butt off regardless of preseason accolades. What he did in the past and what he’s going to be able to do in the future. Kenny’s a young man that has that mindset. He knows he needs to work as hard as ever to duplicate and have a better season this year than he did last. It won’t be good enough if he doesn’t improve upon what he did,” Silverfield said.
“Obviously, he’s a special talent and a special young man and we hope we can continue along that path and that recognition can be preseason but be postseason as well.”
Gainwell and the Tigers open the season on September 5th at the Liberty Bowl against Arkansas State.