Snell has running back talent in his genes. His father, Benjamin, was a running back at Ohio Northern and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 1998. His great uncle, Matt, was a well-known back for the New York Jets who was a big part of the team's upset win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III (30 rushes, 121 yards). Benny, Jr. started building his own resume at Westerville High School in Ohio, rushing for nearly 4,000 yards over his last two seasons and earning Division I All-Ohio honors. Kentucky coaches saw that talent and played him in all 13 games (one start) in tandem with Stanley "Boom" Williams in 2016. He was a Freshman All-American and All-Freshman SEC pick that year, running for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns on 186 carries (5.9 average). Snell took the lead role in the backfield as a sophomore, starting all 13 games and receiving second-team All-SEC recognition after leading the conference with 262 carries for 1,333 yards (5.1 average) and 19 touchdowns. Snell was the third SEC back to exceed 1,300 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons (Herschel Walker, Knowshon Moreno) and he did it again as a junior. He ranked in the top 10 nationally with 1,449 yards, 16 receiving scores, and 289 carries (5.0 average) to earn Associated Press third-team All-American notice and first-team All-SEC honors. Despite leaving a season early, Snell finished his career as the Wildcat's all-time leading rusher.