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Saturday, August 13, 2022

After late-season heroics, Kansas tight end Jared Casey earns scholarship

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.

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Kansas redshirt sophomore tight end Jared Casey said Saturday that he is now on scholarship following a successful season that included the winning two-point conversion reception in overtime against Texas.

Casey, from Plainville, enrolled at Kansas in 2020. He played in nine of the Jayhawks' 12 games last season, primarily on special teams, before assuming a more prominent role on offense in the final three games.

He said he was told in April by coach Lance Leipold that he would be given a scholarship, then immediately called his parents, Jerry and Karen, to let them know.

"It was really surreal," Casey said after the Jayhawks' 10th practice of training camp. "I just went into a meeting and they basically just told me. I called my parents really quickly. It was kind of like, an emotional exchange between us because I'm a hard worker and I worked for this, so it was really cool."

Casey ran for more than 2,000 yards, accounted for 30 touchdowns and had nine interceptions and 425 tackles while at Plainville High but did not have any Division I scholarship offers upon graduation.

He accepted former coach Les Miles' offer to enroll at Kansas as a preferred walk-on, which is a designation given to a player who is not on scholarship but does not have to try out for the team, and did not play his first season.

His greatest achievement with the team happened on Nov. 13, when quarterback Jalon Daniels threw him the ball on the goal line in overtime as the Jayhawks defeated the Longhorns 57-56 on the road.

That play led to a name, image and likeness deal with Applebee's, which filmed a commercial with Casey in the following days to capitalize upon the moment.

He then had four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown at TCU on Nov. 20 and finished the season with four catches for 67 yards and a touchdown against West Virginia on Nov. 27.

Casey, who had been taking out loans to pay for his education, said he had a meeting with Leipold and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki after the season ended in which they alluded to the possibility of him receiving a scholarship. Those discussions went silent until the spring, when he learned it would happen.

"I still had to show that I'm going to do what I needed to do in the spring and play how I need to play and it will come eventually," Casey said. "That was the right timing."

He missed a few practices early in training camp after pulling a hamstring on the second day, but Kotelnicki said last week that Casey, who moved from fullback to tight end, has continued to develop throughout training camp.

"He had a great spring and he's been great through fall camp," Kotelnicki said. "He's able to execute everything we're asking our tight ends to do ... so, bare minimum for my expectation is he allows us to be multiple at that position group as well."

Tight end Mason Fairchild, a senior, said he didn't find out about Casey's scholarship until a few days after he met with Leipold given that the players had scattered following the end of spring practices.

He said that for Casey to get that opportunity, "it was really awesome."

"He was kind of that symbol last year of our improved performance at the end of last season — in our tight end group especially," Fairchild said. "He can be a guy that can play serious minutes, as with all of us, but he's done a really good job. He's one of the smartest guys in our room. He can be very multiple in what position he plays, and I'm excited for what he can do."

Comments

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Great news. Kinda expected, and good to hear. The poster child for preferred walkons.

Dale Rogers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It's always terrific to see someone so deserving taken care of by the coaches, especially since he was taking loans to pay for school. I remember the many years it took me to pay back all my student loans. And he awesome family support who drive long distance to be at every single one of his games, sometimes on the chance that maybe he'll get a couple of minutes of play time. Great job, Jared Casey.

Bob Schutz 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations! Hard work + never giving up is a powerful combination...

Brad Watson 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I love this kid!!!!! We have a team full of kids like him....I am so JACKED for this season....not since Pepper Rodgers have I felt totally confident in what we are all about.....Coach is in a class by himself.....I personally think he is better than Saban..I am that impressed.....I think he is the best coach in America...PERIOD!!!.....get your season tickets now...so you can lock those seats in for the future because you going to want to have those in the years ahead...

Nick Kramer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Absolutely! Clearly on a short list of heroes of last year's team and a terrific kid to boot. The only shock is that his scholarship didn't begin January 1, 2022. Hopefully has his NIL in place, too. (Still eating at Appleby's?)

Randy Bombardier 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sure would like to see him run a few plays.

Edward Daub 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Congrats to "Mighty Casey"! Jared also has a great "Pair of Hands".

Rock Chalk!

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Exactly Edward. I think it was Jalon that commented last year that he doesn’t drop anything.

Rodney Schulz 1 month, 3 weeks ago

This is such an inspirational story that it should have been published a couple of months ago.

Dirk Medema 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sounds like this wasn’t news to be published until this past week. Sometimes, these announcements are made with all sorts of social media fan fair. True to form, sounds Coach Leipold chose the low key substance over flash. Even the team didn’t know for a while. Sounds like Saturday was the first time the media had a chance to talk with Jared. Personally, I’m more than okay with Coach’s low key substance approach.

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