On Tuesday, July 31, UK Athletics announced the names of former Wildcat greats from various sports who will be inducted into its Hall of Fame this September. Among the entrants was wide receiver/kickoff returner standout and 2003 civil engineering alum Derek Abney.
UK Athletics summarized Derek’s impressive football accomplishments in their news release about the upcoming inductions.
“[Derek Abney] is arguably the greatest kick returner in college football history after setting seven NCAA records, 11 SEC records and 14 school records for kick returns and all-purpose yardage. Abney was named a first-team All-America as a junior, second-team All-America as a senior and a three-year first-team All-SEC performer, becoming only the fourth player in school history to accomplish that feat. The talented star was the first player in NCAA history to accumulate 2,000 receiving yards, 2,000 kickoff return yards and 1,000 punt return yards. In all, Abney returned eight kicks for touchdowns during his career (six punts, two kickoffs), while he ended his UK career ranked second in three statistical categories: receptions (197), receiving yards (2,339) and touchdowns receiving (18). Abney’s NFL career ended because of injury.”
Although injuries prevented Derek from pursuing a professional football career, he has excelled as a civil engineer. In December 2011, he began working for Kinder Morgan, an energy infrastructure company, as their Southeast Region engineer/project manager. He is in charge of two significant projects: repairing Kinder Morgan’s North Charleston Dock as well as their Wilmington Terminal Dock. He passed his professional engineer’s exam this past April.
Congratulations to Derek on being honored for his football accomplishments as well as his successful engineering career!