LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kash Daniel lost his desire to play football midway through this past season and gave thought to walking away.
Kash Daniel before kickoff of Kentucky's Week 2 game against Eastern Michigan (Regina Rickert)
After battling through a concussion at Georgia and being questioned about a tackle he made against Florida, Daniel said it was the death of his grandfather in November that left the Paintsville native in an unfamiliar and dark place.
“Things in life beat me to my knees this year at one point,” Daniel told WKYT on Tuesday. “One thing kept coming after another and I just couldn’t catch a break. It was almost like a domino effect.”
With his grandfather’s passing, Daniel said he thought about quitting the game he loves.
"There was a point and time, where I was in such a bad place, where I was even questioning, 'should I do this anymore? Is this it? Maybe you aren't that good. Maybe what people are saying is true. Maybe you've lost a step,’” Daniel said. “But then I just had to refocus. I had to re-calibrate and like a computer, just shut down, and restart."
Daniel credits UK linebackers coach Jon Summral with helping him deal with the issues.
“I love coach. More than anything in this world,” Daniel said.
“He worried more about me as a person than as a player. He took so much time just to talk to me and make sure I was good.”
Daniel said he found joy again in playing football and helped lead the Wildcats to an 8-5 season, including a 37-30 win over Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl. Now, after four seasons in Lexington, Daniel is proud of what his class accomplished.
“When we came in, our goal was to leave it better than when we found it, and I think me and my teammates, and my coaches, have accomplished that.”
“Nothing but forward progress. Nothing but bigger steps to come,” Daniel added. “Coach Stoops, he’s the greatest in college football.”
Beginning Friday, Daniel is hitting the road, traveling around the state on what he’s calling “The Blue Roots Tour,” making eight stops to sign autographs for fans. He begins the tour in his hometown.
“It means a lot to me,” Daniel said. “I feel a sense of pride, being from Kentucky.”