LEXINGTON – Kentucky Hall of Fame wide receiver/kick returner Derek Abney – who finished his career breaking or tying seven NCAA records – has been named to the Football Writers Association of America 75th Anniversary Team, it was announced on Thursday.
A native of Mosinee, Wis., Abney was named the third-team kick returner on the squad, which covers college football since the FWAA was founded in 1941. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Abney starred at UK from 2000-2003, earning first-team All-America honors as a junior and second-team All-America as a senior.
A three-year first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection, Abney broke or tied six kick return NCAA records and another for all-purpose yardage. Abney is the only kick returner in the NCAA record book in all three touchdown categories – TD returns in a game, season and career. He also set 14 Kentucky records and 11 SEC records in his career.
Seven of Abney’s eight kick return touchdowns came against SEC teams, with the eighth coming vs. in-state rival Louisville. Abney also became the first player in NCAA history with 2,000 receiving yards, 2,000 kickoff return yards and 1,000 punt return yards.
He finished his 46-game career for the Wildcats with 197 catches for 2,339 yards, with 18 receiving TDs. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior and returned a total of six punts for TDs over his last three seasons. He still holds the UK record for all-purpose yardage, totaling 5,856 receiving, kick return and rushing yards.
“I want to thank the Football Writers Association. It’s a really nice honor to be considered one of the top returners of the past 75 years,” Abney said. “I also want to thank my coaches and teammates. We worked together to make it happen. They believed in me and had the confidence that we could score on special teams.”
Kentucky will open its 2015 season on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. versus UL Lafayette at The New Commonwealth Stadium.