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Rising Star: Clemson commit Jaren Kanak ready to lead Hays to postseason run

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 11:38 PM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - More eyes than ever before are on the Hays football program, as senior Jaren Kanak, whose recruiting exploded after running the second fastest 100-meter dash time in Kansas, returns for one final season before playing at Clemson.

“I’m just excited,” Kanak said. “We have been looking forward to this for a while and we are ready to get rolling with it.”

Kanak is one of the top athlete prospects in the country. Projected as a linebacker or safety at the collegiate level, Kanak plays linebacker and is a receiver and returner for the Indians. He also saw snaps at quarterback last season.

It’s that versatility and athleticism that earned him offers from the nation’s top programs. Ultimately, he chose Clemson over the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and 34 other programs.

“We went on all the visits and kind of figured out what we liked and didn’t like,” he said. “Clemson felt like a really great fit for me and I feel comfortable making that decision.”

“The recruitment process when you are that high profile, I’m sure can be really tough and he has done a great job with it and hasn’t gotten a big ego,” Hays Head Coach Tony Crough said. “We have been proud of him, and it shows what kind of kid he is.”

Not only was his commitment an accomplishment he’s worked for his whole life, but it was also a way to honor his dad who passed in a car accident thirteen years prior to the day he announced his college intentions.

“My family and I turned his passing into something good,” he said. “We mourned it when it was supposed to be mourned but we put our faith in God and realized that everything happens for a reason.”

While he’s excited for the next chapter of his career, right now he’s focused on doing whatever it takes to lead the Indians to a post season run.

With the team’s quarterback opting out to focus on baseball, that means Kanak will start the season under center.

“I’m always going to do what’s best for the team and put us in the best position for success,” he said. “It just so happens that the situation means I play quarterback this year. If that’s what is best for the team that is what I’m going to do.”

Hays opens the season at home on September 3rd against East.

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