CORBIN — Paintsville native and Kentucky Wildcat linebacker Kash Daniel will be at the Corbin Arena this Friday from 6-7 p.m. to meet with fans and sign autographs.
For the price of $20, fans will receive an 8”x10” print, a picture with Daniel and an autograph on the item of their choice.
Before he began making plays for Kentucky’s defense, Daniel began turning heads in high school for Painstville on both sides of the ball. Playing quarterback and linebacker for the Tigers, Daniel was named the winner of the Louisville Quarterback Club’s Paul Hornung Award which is given to the top player in Kentucky.
While he would go on to be known for his tackling abilities, Daniel was able to move the ball on offense. In 2015, in a game against Williamsburg, Daniel tallied eight tackles, but he also threw for 208 yards and ran for 145 more.
Daniel was named the Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year totaling 153 tackles and four fumble recoveries his senior season. His play that season also earned Daniel Kentucky’s Mr. Football award and a roster spot on the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The four-star recruit received several college scholarship offers from some of the nation’s top programs including Michigan, Louisville and South Carolina among others before eventually signing with Kentucky.
In his first two seasons at Kentucky, Daniel made the most of the small number of opportunities he was given. However, it wasn’t until his junior season that Daniel began to make a name for himself on the collegiate level.
That year, Daniel was third on the team with 84 total tackles (42 solo tackles and 42 assisted tackles), 7.5 tackles for loss, and one sack in 12 starts. Daniel also played the final six games of the season with a broken hand.
Daniel’s play helped lead Kentucky to one of its best seasons in school history. The Wildcats finished the season with a 27-24 victory over then 13th ranked Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. The win improved Kentucky’s final record to 10-3 that season and landed Kentucky with the 12th ranking in the AP’s final poll of the season.
Before this past season, Daniel’s senior season, the outside linebacker was named to the preseason Second Team All-SEC by league media. Under first time defensive coordinator Brad White, Daniel finished the year with 58 total tackles (37 solo and 21 assisted), four tackles for loss and one interception in which he returned for 18 yards. The Wildcats made it two straight bowl victories, defeating Virginia Tech in this year’s Belk Bowl, 37-30, and in doing so improved their record to 8-5 to finish the season.
Looking ahead, Daniel now sets his sights for the NFL and the NFL Draft April 23-25. Daniel is projected to be a late round to un-drafted pick, but a lot can change with events like the NFL Combine, pro days, and team workouts all happening before then.
If Daniel’s NFL opportunity doesn’t pan out, the ever charismatic athlete could turn his sights elsewhere. During last season’s SEC Media Day, Daniel joked about joining the WWE as a backup plan.
"Professional wrestling is cool,” he said, adding, “professional wrestling is just something that I like to do or like to watch when I'm not in football. If the WWE came knocking and if I had nothing going on, it'd be hard to tell Vince McMahon 'no.'"