Three things to know about Kentucky's Kavosiey Smoke, one of college football's best names
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Three things to know about Kentucky football running back Kavosiey Smoke, one of the best names in college football:
1. Kavoisey Smoke sometimes wishes he had a less noteworthy name
Smoke may be a fitting last name for a running back with speed to burn, but the 5-foot-9, 202-pound junior has not always loved having a name that drew extra attention.
"Just say Smoke,” the Wetumpka, Alabama, native said before his redshirt freshman season. “That’s what I tell people — call me Smoke — because I don’t like it when people call my name wrong. That makes me kind of mad. People know my name, but they say it wrong still. I just like to be called Smoke.”
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While his first name (pronounced kah-VAH-see-ay) sounds like the Courvoisier brand of cognac, he is not named after the alcohol. Smoke told reporters he is uncertain why his mother named him Kavosiey.
“I don’t like my name kind of,” he said in 2019. “… I’m like, ‘Why can’t I have a common name?’ This name is so hard, complicated.”
2. Injuries have limited Kavosiey Smoke's impact at UK
It has been clear since Smoke's 37-yard touchdown run in a blowout of Louisville during his 2018 redshirt season he had the speed to be one of Kentucky's most dynamic play-makers, but injuries have contributed to him remaining the backup to SEC leading rusher Chris Rodriguez.
He played in all 13 games in 2019 as part of a three-man running back rotation with A.J. Rose and Rodriguez but played in just seven of 11 games in 2020. Smoke also missed time in preseason camp this fall with a minor injury.
When healthy, Smoke has been a valuable weapon for Kentucky, averaging 5.6 yards per carry with 12 touchdowns in his career.
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3. Kavosiey Smoke is first UK player to wear No. 0 jersey
Smoke wore the No. 20 jersey for his first three seasons as a Wildcat but switch to No. 0 after the NCAA allowed players to wear the jersey number for the first time in 2020. No UK player wore zero last season.
Email Jon Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter at @JonHale_CJ.