From Walk-on to Local Star: Meet Jared Casey

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Stephen Hatala

The Kansas Jayhawks football team broke a 56 road game losing streak against Big 12 teams when they beat Texas 57-56 on Saturday. Beyond simply representing the biggest win in recent history for the Kansas program, it minted a new superstar in Lawrence, Kansas: redshirt freshmen walk-on fullback Jared Casey.

In overtime, Casey caught the game-winning two-point conversion and his first career catch has proven to be a memorable—and lucrative—one.

Since then, Casey has understandably been hailed as a local folk hero and has inked multiple NIL sponsorships as a result. come to terms to multiple NIL (name, image and likeness deal) deals. Most impressively, he signed a deal with Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in Kansas and filmed a commercial at a local Applebees in Lawrence, Kansas, which will exclusively air in Kansas and appear on Facebook and Instagram. For his troubles, Casey revealed the deal is worth $1,000 cash and $1,000 in Applebees gift cards. 

Additionally, Casey signed an NIL deal with Lewis Automotive Group in Kansas, a car dealership with a location near Plainview, Casey’s small home-town in northwestern Kansas. The specifics of the deal aren’t yet available. His brother Justin commented told ESPN: “[Jared Casey] has put a lot of miles on this little Kia from his back and forth trips from Plainville to Lawrence.”

Before this game, Casey had never played an offensive snap and was solely used on special teams. He was forced into the game when tight end Mason Fairchild was injured in the second quarter. The Jayhawks and Longhorns went back and forth pretty much all game, ending regulation tied at 49-49. In overtime, the Longhorns scored a touchdown rather easily and kicked the extra point on the first possession, but the Jayhawks answered and Casey’s star was born.

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