KUs Casey gets NIL deals after heroics vs. Texas

  • College football reporter
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2007
  • Graduate of the University of Tennessee

Walk-on fullback Jared Casey, whose dramatic 2-point conversion catch last Saturday lifted Kansas to its first-ever win in football over Texas in Austin, is cashing in on his newfound fame.

Casey has agreed to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals with Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in Kansas as well as Lewis Automotive Group, a dealership with locations in Topeka, Kansas and Hays, Kansas, which is the closest town of any size to Casey’s hometown of Plainville in the northwest part of the state.

Casey shot a commercial Tuesday at the local Applebee’s in Lawrence. He also had a television crew following him around on campus. His brother, Justin, joked that an automobile deal would come in handy for Casey.

“He’s put a lot of miles on that little Kia of his going back and forth from Plainville to Lawrence,” said Justin, adding that Casey would be wise to take all of his KU teammates to dinner with any Applebee’s gift cards he receives in the deal.

There could also be an NIL shirt deal in the works for Casey, who had never played an offensive snap in college until the Texas game. Casey, a redshirt freshman, played some on special teams earlier this season, but was pressed into action on offense after tight end Mason Fairchild was injured in the second quarter. Casey’s 2-point conversion catch from Jalon Daniels in overtime was the game-winner in a 57-56 victory over Texas, snapping Kansas’ 56-game losing streak in Big 12 road contests.

Casey’s parents, Jerry and Karen, have attended all of the KU games this season and made the 11 1/2-hour drive to Austin. Karen videotaped the final play on her cell phone, and it went viral on social media with more than 1 million views by Monday.

Casey’s hometown of Plainville, with a population of 1,800 people and no stoplights, has been abuzz ever since. Justin said at least two national TV crews are scheduled to come to town later this week and that the mayor of the town wants to honor Casey at a high school basketball game.

Justin, an insurance agent in town, is also a volunteer fireman along with the mayor.

“That’s how small of a town it is, but Jared has put us on the map,” he said.

Kansas’ official football Twitter account on Tuesday posted a photo-shopped picture of the Plainville city limit sign with a speed limit sign of 47 mph (Casey’s jersey number). There was also a second sign in the picture underneath the Plainville city limit sign that read: Home of Jared Casey … Rock Chalk.

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