Jared Casey spurned the Kentucky Wildcats back in October when he announced he was headed to the West Coast to join the Oregon Ducks. However, Casey decommitted from the Ducks just last month and is now in the fold with Mark Stoops and UK.
Casey announced his pledge to Kentucky on Thursday, giving them yet another big-time defender from the Bluegrass.
A four-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports, Casey is a natural fit as a 4-3 outside linebacker or 3-4 inside linebacker. That should be welcome news to Big Blue Nation who will lose the NCAA Defensive Player of the Year, Josh Allen, to the NFL Draft, as well as fellow linebacker Jordan Jones, after the Cats upcoming Citrus Bowl matchup with Penn State.
Rivals and ESPN have him listed as an outside linebacker, while 247 Sports has him as an inside linebacker. His highest ranking is 260th nationally by 247.
Losing that much production at linebacker will be hard to replace, so having Casey could go a long way in ensuring that position remains strong for the foreseeable future.
Casey initially committed to Oregon after being recruited heavily by Wisconsin, Kentucky, and in-state rival Louisville. Casey is currently a senior at Ballard High School in Louisville. He played 11 games last season for the Bruins and was credited with 70 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.
Rivals.com ranks Casey as the No. 16 ranked outside linebacker in the nation and the seventh-best player in the state of Kentucky. JJ Weaver and Demontae Crumes, also ranked in the state’s Top 10, have already committed to play for Stoops and the Cats. Shawkel Knight-Goff, ranked just outside the Top 10 at No. 12 in the state, is slated to play for UK next season as well.
The recruiting of in-state talent has been a constant complaint amongst Kentucky fans in recent years. With the recent success that the Kentucky football program has seen, as well as the national exposure of players like Benny Snell Jr. and Josh Allen, Kentucky has made itself a more viable destination for some of the best in-state players.
Casey will join a talent linebacking corp next season. Chris Oats, DeAndre Square, Jamin Davis, and Kash Daniel will be asked to fill the shoes of players like Allen and Jordan Jones. That’s no small task, but having a player of Casey’s ability will no doubt help add depth to the Wildcats’ defensive depth chart.
Also, Daniel will graduate after 2019, so Kentucky will be without Allen, Jones and Daniel by the time 2020 rolls around. By then, Casey should already have a starting spot locked up if he doesn’t earn one as a true freshman.
Check out some highlights of the newest Wildcat in action:
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