Growing up as a kid in Eastern Kentucky kids don't always have the same opportunities as the kids in the rest of the country. Kids here grow up dreaming of playing basketball for the University of Kentucky and usually end up working in coal mines or jobs around the coal field. That's the history of the Mountains, the reality of the Mountains is a charismatic country boy from Paintsville Kentucky has changed the way young athletes around the coalfields are looking at the prospect of making it to the next level in athletics.
Prior to Kash Daniel the Mountains had a black cloud over it, we had a reputation here in the mountains of athletes making it to college and within two years they were back home for a variety of different reasons. A lot of athletes simply just got home sick, some came back because they have to take care of their family, some was handed a pass in high school because they were an athlete and can't cut in college classrooms and some just isn't financially stable enough to stay in college. All them are reasons that can looked over but I think the reason that gave the mountains such a terrible reputation is the way our athletes would get these college scholarships and use it for a reason to get away from their hometowns/parents so they can let loose for a year or two. After a 30-40 year track record of mountain players partying their futures away, these teams realized they were just wasting money with these so called "holler hicks" and they stopped recruiting the mountains. Now you have had the exceptions in the past with the Joey Couch, J.R VanHoose, Richie Farmer, John Pelphrey and David Jones of the world but they didn't have the effect on Mountain recruiting like Kash Daniel has. All them athletes achieved a lot in their collegiate careers, they should have had a larger impact on recruiting but I think the combination of Kash's personality and the impact that social media has had on our culture is the reason Kash Daniel has been a game changer.
Kash Daniel played his high school athletics in a small school called Paintsville High School that was stationed deep in the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Paintsville is a Class A school that currently only has an enrollment of about 230 students. Kash has a rich bloodline of athletics running through his veins, he is the son of Scott Daniel & Lela Layne, his mother is a member of the Betsy Layne athletic "Hall of Fame". Kash's father Scott played baseball & basketball at East Tennessee State and is a former professional Bass fisherman. From the time Kash started playing sports everyone knew he was something special, he just had a drive and showed the leadership that made you confident in thinking he would one day find great success through athletics. Kash played QB/LB at Paintsville under coach Joe Chirico and had 158 tackles his senior year with 4 fumble recoveries and 4 interceptions from the middle linebacker position. Folks in Paintsville was blessed, they got to grow up watching Kash play on a weekly basis but I think the moment that put Kash on everyone's radar is when he beat Pikeville on a last second play and gave an epic interview after the win. In that interview Kash took on a wrestlers persona and stated he knew he wasn't getting stopped because he had the biggest and baddest offensive line in the state. That night the legend of Kash Daniel was born and has propelled him into being one of the most well known figures in college football.
What Kash has done statistically at Kentucky should be enough to make recruiters realize that these coalfields produce a lot of diamonds but we knew it would take more then numbers to get recruiters back in the Mountains. Kash is one of them people in life that you know just has that "It" factor, he has a personality that draws people to him and makes you want the best for him. As a player Kash has fulfilled his obligation ten fold but he hasn't only gave this Kentucky defense great production, he has become a leader on a team that is making monumental strides as a football program at the University of Kentucky. Kash is one of them leaders that isn't only a vocal leader, he leads by example too, he causes players to raise their individual game and makes them want to run through a brick wall for him. Kash's infectious personality hasn't only effected the locker room, it has also had a huge impact on this fan base. Everytime Kash gears up for battle he represents the Mountains to it's fullest, even with hearing stories of him taking a dip of baccer (Skoal) from a fan on the sideline during a game or doing the Stone Cold Steve Austin's "Kash Money Said So" bit after a historic win over Florida, you can tell this kid is proud of his heritage. I could go on all day with examples of why Kash is going to be a star whether it's in football, wrestling or some other career but I think you realize it yourself by now.
Kash has not only let recruiters know what kind of talent we produce in the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia but he also let them know that they have the potential to sale a lot of tickets when our players infect their program with our Mountain culture. Kash has proved to college's that they need to get back in the Mountains, we have players here that can be program changers if given the opportunities. Kash has made the path so much easier for the next players in line, now the players that are following him like Austin Dotson, Cole Bentley, Raquan Horton & Tyrese Allen are getting it done on the gridiron and in the class room, that's what is helping lay a foundation of success, that's what is slowly removing that black cloud we had over our athletes in the mountains for many years. Kash Daniel is as well decorated as a high school player can be in Kentucky, he has Mr. Football awards, been named the Paul Hornung "Player of the Year, made All-State teams, been named an Army All-American, all them things are facts but 30-40 years from now you will hear he done so much more because he is the type of person that myth's of, the type of person movies are made and books are written about, right now there is a billboard hanging in New York City on Time Square of this country boy from Paintsville KY. Kash isn't done leaving his mark on the Mountains or Kentucky football but when you see him on the field just take a second and think about all he has done for the future of Mountain athletics.