It’s easy to understand why the Herald-Leader chose University of Kentucky running back Benny Snell to grace the cover of our annual college football preview special section.
Snell, a junior running back at UK, is expected to again be the cornerstone of the Wildcats’ offense in 2018.
What’s less easy to figure is why Benny Snell is wielding a flaming sledgehammer in the cover photo produced by Herald-Leader photographer Alex Slitz and freelancer Mark Mahan.
The obvious explanation for the photo — which evokes thoughts ranging from “Game of Thrones” to Indiana Jones — is that Snell is hot. He’s on fire. He’s the leading returning rusher in the Southeastern Conference.
Why a sledgehammer? For one, Snell runs like one with his uncanny ability to power through multiple tacklers at a time. That, and Snell is aiming to smash UK’s 43-year-old career rushing record this season.
See, this isn’t rocket science.
(Hmmm, rockets. … maybe the basketball cover shoot?)
We cannot promise that Slitz and Mahan were thinking any of those things when they arrived at Kroger Field with Snell for the annual photo shoot. Being professional photographers of the highest order, we do know that they envisioned an opportunity for spectacular lighting generated by Kroger Field at dusk and, obviously, the flaming sledgehammer.
The result, is well, as spectacular as they’d hoped.
We ask that you enjoy the accompanying video of the photo shoot — which Snell clearly did — and understand that all necessary precautions were tended to, and the moment was signed off on by UK’s coaches and sports information staff.
So, please leave the flaming hammers to the experts if you’re thinking about trying this at home.
And be sure to pick up a copy of Sunday’s Herald-Leader, which will include our 14-page preview section with Snell lighting up the cover.