Kash Daniel’s senior year did not go according to plan.
In discussion about his Kentucky career with Matt Jones on Kentucky Sports Radio, the UK linebacker revealed that despite his confident facade, he struggled with depression in his final months on campus.
“I was in a deep, deep dark place mentally throughout this whole year. I suffer from depression. That’s one thing a lot of people don’t know about me. I have this persona of this confident, ya know, kind of almost brash dude, but that’s my persona. That’s what I use to have people try to live vicariously through me, to have this excitement around Kentucky football, embrace and bring a sense of swag to it.” He added, “That’s just how I play football.”
There was not one thing in particular that led Kash down a dark path. His problems piled up, with the loss of his grandfather at its foundation.
“It just seemed like one thing after another for me. I felt like I couldn’t get a break from some things,” he said. “I lost my grandfather this year. He was like a second Dad to me and I’m still recovering, my whole family is, because he was our rock. He was our glue that kept our family together. I love and miss him so much. I can’t even start to describe it. I wish he was there for my Senior Day, my graduation, the bowl game and everything like that. That’s what really sent me over the edge and put me in that dark place.”
It was only compounded after the infamous ankle-turning incident against Florida. Kash admitted that he let his emotions get the best of him when he grabbed Kyle Trask’s ankle. He only regrets not apologizing sooner.
“It was a stupid decision Matt. I want everyone for me to reiterate it was stupid. It weighed on my heart because I’m not that guy. I’m not a dirty player,” said Daniel.
“Looking back on it, should have I apologized for it after the game? Absolutely. Absolutely I should have. It was stupid of me to do that and it’s one of my regrets that I have.”
To compound the problems even further, the hard-nosed middle linebacker suffered two concussions in three weeks. The second one he probably returned from too quickly.
“I wanted to be out there for my guys no matter what. My thing is, if I can walk, I can play.”
By the season’s end, Kash returned to form. In his final game as a Wildcat he made a team-high eight tackles, helping Kentucky defeat Virginia Tech 37-30 in the Belk Bowl. Daniel’s improved play coincided with an improved outlook on life.
“I’m in such a better place. I got my happiness back. I got my joy back.”
The pride of Paintsville could not have done it without his coaches, teammates and the BBN.
“With all the negativity that came, there was a lot of love too. That was the one thing that helped me get back to a great place in my life. I’m very thankful for every fan out there from the bottom of my heart, I really do appreciate it,” he said as he choked back tears.
“My coaches mean so much to me. My teammates, my school and this state mean so much to me, more than anyone will ever know.”