Pikeville receiver hopes to prove critics wrong

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, May 16, 2019


He’s never met Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel, but Pikeville High School junior Jackson Hensley admits he is inspired by what Daniel has done in college.

“I think we have similar qualities. No matter where we go, we are going to succeed because we both work to make big things happen,” said Hensley. “I have never talked to him but I am friends with a lot of his friends. I know the work he has put in.”

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Daniel is from Paintsville, another small eastern Kentucky town like Pikeville. Hensley says his roots make him an “outlier” and makes most people doubt you — a problem Daniel also had to overcome and prove to critics that he could become a SEC starting linebacker.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds (laser timed) at a recent combine in North Carolina where he also had a 37-3 vertical jump and finished the agility drill in 4.33 seconds. He’s had a 39 foot, 5-inch triple jump as a part time track performer where he also runs the 100-meter dash and hurdles. He’s a star center fielder in baseball with a strong arm, above average speed and good bat.

Last year he caught 39 passes for 829 yards and 16 scores and ran 15 times for 235 yards and two scores. He also had 50 tackles and one interception that he returned 43 yards for a score. He had 154 yards receiving and two touchdowns along with seven solo tackles in the 21-20 loss to Beechwood in the Class A state title game.

“I don’t know if it is the competition I have played against or what that makes people still doubt and question me,” Hensley said.

Hensley says UK has “not shown much interest” in him other than talking to his coach after the state title game in December at Kroger Field. He did go to spring practice at UK.