By LARRY VAUGHT
He barely played at Trinity his sophomore year and then was injured his junior season after he transferred to Ballard. However, Jared Casey’s talent still made him a four-star recruit who originally committed to Oregon before a change of heart brought him to Kentucky.
“I am looking at the next level. That is why I came here to get coached by coach (Brad) White, one of the best coaches around,” said Casey, a freshman linebacker. “Everybody knows Kentucky is known for linebackers and I want to make it to the league (NFL) just like they did. This was just the obvious choice for me.”
Casey had 70 tackles, including 15.5 tackles for loss, as a senior. His workout/camp performances between his junior and senior years let his stock rise to where he was regarded as one of the nation’s top 20 outside linebackers despite his lack of playing time as a sophomore and junior.
“I think honestly if I would have played my sophomore and junior years I probably would not have ended up at Kentucky. I feel like I would have had a bigger status and more exposure and I would have had film. Coaches wanted to see my film from junior year and a lot didn’t offer me when I didn’t have film,” Casey said.
“It was really a blessing (not playing as a sophomore and junior) or I probably would not have ended up at Kentucky. I love it here. It was more than I expected. I have learned a lot and getting coached by one of the best coaches around is just what I needed.”
Kentucky opens the season Aug. 31st hosting Toledo. Casey believes he can work himself into the playing rotation.
“I want to make it where Coach (White) has no choice but to put me in the game. I want to make it like that. I am just going to grind. The biggest thing I have to do is just learn the installs and the playbook,” Casey said. “It’s not easy to learn. I am getting it. This camp I will learn a lot. I learn better from the reps on the field than just writing it down.
“Outside linebacker is the most important job on this defense. If we don’t do our job, the whole defense will fold. It’s not easy to learn all there is, but I am getting it.”
Casey hopes his signing with UK starts a trend for Louisville high school stars since several other players did the same this year. Casey grew up a Louisville fan but liked what he found at UK. He said new Louisville coach Scott Satterfield never talked with him because they “knew I had my mind made up” about Kentucky.
“I can’t wait for that game with Louisville this year. It’s going to be fun for sure,” Casey said.