By SAMANTHA STALLINGS, Contributing Writer
When you think of this crop of Kentucky football seniors one in particular rises to the top of mind leading into the 2016-2017 season, the one and only Jojo Kemp. Kemp tops my list! Kemp ranked second on the team in carries (98) and rushing yards (555) last season, tying with Boom Williams for the team lead with six TD rushes.
“I am a senior now and I want to make sure that I leave here with a bang and leave a legacy,” said Kemp. “Just doing the things I came here to do and that’s come here and change the program.”
During the off-season Kentucky made multiple additions to the offensive staff. One in particular was former University of Cincinnati Offensive Coordinator, Eddie Gran. Kemp talked about how the new coaches have come in and already advanced the level of play of Kentucky football.
“The coaches that came in, they know the task that was at hand,” said Kemp. “They make sure the younger guys know to pick it up a level and making sure guys are doing what they are supposed to do while doing all the little things, so we can put our team in the position to win and get over the hump.”
Kemp wants to help get this program to where it wants to be and that is to make an appearance it to a bowl game his senior year. According to Kemp, a bowl game at the end of this season is possible now more than ever. He states the rise in maturity level of this team has catapulted since his freshman year playing for the Wildcats.
JoJo Kemp is from Florida. Obviously the Florida the game between Kentucky and Florida means a lot. “Means a lot just for the state and for this program. They haven’t beaten Florida in like 28/29 years so I want to get that done before leaving here as well,” said Kemp. “There is no way that rivalry streak should be that long without a win and we really want to work hard and fight so we can accomplish that goal as well.”
Kemp talked about how those close losses have come down to the maturity level of the team, which he says has progressed each year since he has been there. He says they are almost over that hump.
“We’ve come so close with other wins as well. It was just the maturity level that was hindering us from getting over that hump and winning those close games. That is the difference between this year and the previous year,” said Kemp. “The maturity level is where it needs to be so now we have to work hard and continue to work and fight so we can win those close games.”
The mindset and the maturity level has really improved since Kemp has come to Kentucky. He says he and this Kentucky team have faith that quarterback Drew Barker can get things done for Kentucky to have a record breaking season.
For Kemp and the Kentucky mindset matters. If Kemp has his say all the stars and the senior leaders will be aligned as they take the field and Kemp’s dreams of a bowl game appearance is not just a matter of “IF” but when and for Kemp and Kentucky this season.
The only one thing Kemp has yet to figure is his TD dance moves, but he says it’s coming. So we should be on the lookout for Kemp and the Kentucky football team this season, especially Kemp and his dance moves.