During his hour-long interview with Kentucky Sports Radio, former UK linebacker Kash Daniel touched on a number of topics from his four years as a Wildcat. Among them, we learned why he picked Kentucky over other offers, including South Carolina, as a high school senior growing up in Paintsville, Ky.
Three of the factors behind that decision, he said, were a run-in with Steve Spurrier while on a visit, how Mark Stoops runs his football program, and “The U,” of all things.
Let’s start with Spurrier. Daniel told a story of taking a trip to Columbia for a football camp, months after the Gamecocks had extended him a scholarship offer.
“I walked in there and Steve Spurrier didn’t even know who I was. He was like, ‘Who’s this kid?'” Daniel explained to KSR. An assistant introduced Spurrier to the uncommitted four-star linebacker, explaining South Carolina had already offered him a scholarship, to which Spurrier said, “Oh, nice to meet you.”
Then there is Daniel’s admiration of the Miami football program and how it rose with homegrown talent, which he learned through watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 on “The U.”
“I watched a lot of sports documentaries and I watched a lot of 30 for 30s, and one of the things I would watch growing up was ‘The U’ and their struggles back in the 70s and 80s,” he said. “Then they started recruiting all of south Florida, and I remember all those guys saying, ‘We’ve got all these offers from everywhere else, let’s stay here and make it a hometown thing.’
“That kind of stuck in mind. You know, maybe we should make this a hometown thing and stay close to home and make it a UK thing. Build a brand and build it here.”
Daniel also saw an “urgency” in Mark Stoops’ new program.
“Whether it be recruiting or the nutrition staff, the training staff — everything is with a sense of urgency and with a purpose,” Daniel said of up-and-coming Kentucky. He saw that vision in Stoops, and felt a connection to Lexington, only a two-hour drive away.
“I knew this was the place to be,” he explained. “I always told myself, throughout the recruiting process, to go to a place or go to a school where it feels just like home. And no better place to make it feel like home than to play for your home state and play for your home team.”
Your love played a big role too.
“When I was getting recruited by Kentucky, it just felt like a whole lot of love; not just from Coach Stoops, but from the whole program. The fans are the best fans in college athletics, showing so much love and support.”
Listen to the entire interview with Kash Daniel below: