By LARRY VAUGHT
Pikeville High School junior Jackson Hensley admits he is “inspired” by what Kentucky junior linebacker Kash Daniel of Paintsville has done in college.
“I think we have similar qualities. No matter where we go, we are going to succeed because we both work to make big things happen,” said Hensley. “I have never talked to him but I am friends with a lot of his friends. I know the work he has put in.”
Hensley says his Pikeville roots make him an “outlier” and makes most people doubt you — a problem Daniel also had to overcome to become a SEC starting linebacker.
Hensley ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds (laser timed) at a recent combine in North Carolina where he also had a 37-3 vertical jump and finished the agility drill in 4.33 seconds. He’s had a 39 foot, 5-inch triple jump as a part time track performer where he also runs the 100-meter dash and hurdles. He’s a star center fielder in baseball with a strong arm, above average speed and good bat.
Last year he caught 39 passes for 829 yards and 16 scores and ran 15 times for 235 yards and two scores. He also had 50 tackles and one interception that he returned 43 yards for a score. He had 154 yards receiving and two touchdowns along with seven solo tackles in the 21-20 loss to Beechwood in the Class A state title game.
“I don’t know if it is the competition I have played against or what that makes people still doubt and question me,” Hensley said.
Hensley says UK has “not shown much interest” in him.
“It would be a dream to go to UK, but there are a lot of schools I would love to play for if they want me,” Hensley said.
Louisville, Eastern Kentucky, UNC-Charlotte, Western Kentucky, Michigan, Marshall and even Ohio State have all reached out to him.
“All the schools are looking at me as a receiver but I would step in and play anywhere to get on the field for a team,” Hensley said.