Around this time a couple of years ago, a football player from eastern Kentucky named Kash Daniel started to attract some major interest from college recruiters.
Paintsville assistant coach Jason Kinner was there for that recruitment, helping Daniel navigate the process from unknown to the University of Kentucky — with calls and visits from such programs as Ohio State, Michigan and Florida in between.
The recruitment of Paintsville defensive tackle Tyrese Allen might get even more hectic.
“My Twitter messages have been going crazy,” Allen told the Herald-Leader on Monday morning. “It’s hard to keep up with it all. Sometimes, in order to get my class work done, I just have to give my phone to Coach Kinner and let him sort through it.”
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Kinner said Allen, still a junior in high school, has received recent inquiries from Notre Dame and Michigan State, and that’s on top of a slew of scholarship offers over the past couple of weeks.
“I mean, Kash’s recruitment was crazy,” Kinner said. “But this time with Tyrese … it’s been unbelievable.”
Two weeks ago, Western Kentucky extended a scholarship offer to the 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle, and that started a chain reaction that has included offers from West Virginia, Memphis, Marshall, Eastern Kentucky and several others.
Kinner said he expects East Carolina to join that list this week.
“And I honestly expect UK to be soon,” he said.
Allen was among dozens of high school recruits in Lexington for the Wildcats’ “junior day” event Saturday, a trip that included a seat at the UK-Florida basketball game in Rupp Arena.
About two minutes into the second half, new UK defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc made his way through the crowd and sat down next to Allen for a 10-minute, one-on-one conversation. The in-state recruit has also had talks with defensive coordinator Matt House and is in regular contact with UK assistants John Schlarman — the program’s primary in-state recruiter — and Dean Hood.
Allen has several friends on the UK team — including Daniel, who came to Paintsville to work out with him recently — and his father, a former EKU football player, is a middle school teacher in Lexington.
“A UK offer would mean a lot to me,” Allen said. “I’ve always told my mom, since I was 2 years old, ‘I want to play in the SEC.’ … It’s two hours away from home. It’s 5-10 minutes away from my dad. The top thing is power-five football — I can’t go wrong there.”
Allen had 65 tackles for Paintsville last season, his first with the Tigers after transferring from Johnson Central. He also had three offensive touchdowns, playing some at running back and tight end — surely an intimidating sight for opponents.
Kinner said folks who watch Allen from the stands see him playing those positions and don’t believe he’s actually 6-3, 290. Then they stand next to him.
“He’s just the most athletic kid at his position,” he said, “I think if you took him to UK and put him with their D-line, he’s probably still going to be one of the four or five most athletic dudes at the position. He’s got a freakish skill set.”
One video that has made the rounds shows Allen — while working out with a wrestling coach — going from flat on his back all the way to his feet in one motion.
West Virginia appears to be in good shape with Allen at the moment. He enjoyed his recent visit to Morgantown and hit it off with Mountaineers defensive line coach Bruce Tall.
But a UK offer could shake things up, and Allen has a busy spring planned. He’ll visit WKU this weekend and see Marshall after that, with the Under Armour All-America camp in Cincinnati in April and a major Rivals camp in St. Louis in May.
More scholarship offers will likely lead to more visits, and Allen said he’s planning to see some teams practice over the next few weeks. UK’s spring camp starts Sunday, and he said he’d “definitely” be in Lexington soon for a practice.
“I would like to come up for the spring game. I’ll just have to see how the schedule works out.”