Sunday, November 21, 2021

Walk-on Jared Casey ‘a baller’ again in KU football’s narrow road L at TCU

Kansas fullback Jared Casey catches a touchdown pass in front of TCU linebacker Dee Winters during the second half of a game on Nov. 20, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas fullback Jared Casey catches a touchdown pass in front of TCU linebacker Dee Winters during the second half of a game on Nov. 20, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas.


Fort Worth, Texas — No one-hit wonder, Kansas football walk-on Jared Casey proved to be even more productive in his second game contributing as a tight end than he was in his first.

A week after becoming a college football overnight sensation, with his game-winning two-point conversion for the Jayhawks at Texas, Casey was no longer an unknown commodity Saturday night at TCU. And the 6-foot, 254-pound redshirt freshman from Plainville showed he had even more in his bag, pulling in four receptions for 34 yards — a stat line that included the game-tying touchdown with fewer than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

The quarterback who helped make Casey famous with their connection for a two-point conversion in overtime at UT, Jalon Daniels reiterated after KU’s 31-28 defeat at TCU that he never doubted Casey’s play-making ability.

“I knew that he was able to do stuff like this,” Daniels said, bringing up again that the reserve tight end routinely creates highlight plays during KU’s practices.

“Making miraculous catches like he did today — that one-handed on the sideline — and being able to get that touchdown for us when we needed it,” Daniels said of Casey’s latest standout receptions, “he’s just a baller making plays.”

Asked after the narrow road loss what he thought of Casey’s followup performance to becoming a breakout star for KU a week earlier, head coach Lance Leipold replied, “Which play?”

The one-handed sideline catch Casey made in the second quarter was his most improbable haul yet, as he leapt to secure it with his right hand while still coming down in bounds to make it a first-down reception.

It seemed to back up what his position coach and KU offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki proclaimed earlier in the week, when the assistant said, “hand to God,” Casey has the best hands on the team.

Casey was more involved in the game plan for the TCU game, with tight end Mason Fairchild still unable to play after getting hurt in the Texas win. Casey was on the field by the second offensive snap versus the Horned Frogs, and the Jayhawks (2-9 overall, 1-7 Big 12) needed him even more when tight end Trevor Kardell, the starter, got injured at TCU.

Said Leipold: “Pressed into action, he’s staying ready. He’s showing now that he’s a reliable target.”

Once again, the head coach pointed out, Casey played even more than he was anticipating but proved capable of stepping up.

Leipold said he was “really proud” of the walk-on and the attention-grabbing story that was Casey’s game-winning catch at Texas, fueled by his parents’ viral video that captured the unlikely scene.

When Casey followed it up with not only his first career catch at TCU — the two-point conversion at UT didn’t actually qualify as a reception because it came in a a point after situation — but also solid blocking and more crucial receptions, Leipold considered it a good sign.

“It shows it's not just a one-play story. And that the young man's a good football player,” Leipold said. “And he's there battling and doing things and preparing. All the things he went through last week, it didn't distract him to be ready to perform tonight. And he played well.”


Brad Watson 1 year ago

He has a fan in me..that's for sure...there are lots of kids out there who aren't recruited that can be developed over time...and can contribute...invite every kid in the surrounding states to show up for some summer tryouts..find the hungry ones that can play and be developed into what Coach wants....I suggest 3 or 4 tryouts at the beginning of a replica of the Nebraska walk on program. Turn some one stars into "ballers"!!!!!

Kit Duncan 1 year ago

"but also solid blocking and more crucial receptions, Leipold considered it a good sign."

Jared made crucial blocks in KU's first two touchdowns.

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

Brad - I think they already do those tryouts/camps.

There was a time a couple regimes ago when over half the starting OL were walkons or non-traditional recruits. Coach Leipold obviously hasn’t had time to do any of that so far, but he’s got a poster child for the program now.

Micky Baker 1 year ago

I am definitely a fan. I do want to say that I was impressed with the way our defense locked down when we were down by 2 TDs and forced some stops and the offense did their part and got the game tied up. Overcoming adversity in the process. I am proud of the effort. I wish we would have won, but we didn't let TCU run away after they got momentum. They guys answered. They are showing good character!

Patrick Bryant 1 year ago

Give that young man a scholarship!

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