History was made at Manchester High School on March 3 as for the first time in the football program’s history, two Greyhound student/athletes have signed letters of intent to continue their careers on the college gridiron. After teammate Gabe Horsley signed to play football at Heidelberg University, 6’7” lineman Jared Stricklett followed suit and signed his letter to become part of the football program at Kentucky Christian University.
Stricklett transferred to Manchester from Newark, Ohio for his senior season and was originally slated to see action as a tight end, but because of injuries ended up being an integral part of both the Hounds’s offensive and defensive lines.
“We got into the recruiting process really late,” said Stricklett on his signing day. “I was sending out film to a lot of schools and Kentucky Christian called and wanted us to come to campus for a visit. We were very excited about the visit and the coach reached out and offered a scholarship. We were grateful for that.”
“They told me that I could be competing for a starting spot at defensive end by my sophomore year but until then I am just going to listen to the coach.”
“The year at Manchester was a great one, a great community, great teachers, great friends, and a great place to play football.” Stricklett continued. “There’s not a lot of 6’7” guys and at my position, that’s really good to see over top of the line and swat down footballs, and get to the quarterback. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to get there and get things going.”
For Manchester head coach Dustin Cook, it was a nice gift to have a 6’7” player move into his program, if just for one season.
“It’s not every day that you get a kid as big as Jared move in, especially to our program,” said Coach Cook. “He fit in really well on the field and did some great things for us. He battled through some injuries and showed a lot of toughness and grit as one of the leaders of our team. That says a lot about his character, being here just a year and still being a leader for us and having a real impact on the things that we did.”
“I’m beyond excited for him and his chance to carry on his football career. I expect big things from him at Kentucky Christian. He will work extremely hard and be very successful.”
The KCU Knights are an NAIA program located in Grayson, Ky. and members of the Mid-South Conference. They finished 2-9 in 2015 and Head Coach Steve Barrows is looking forward to Stricklett being part of his program.
“We are thrilled to have Jared and his family make a commitment to our university and our football program,” Barrows told The Defender. “We are building something very special here in Eastern Kentucky and Jared certainly enhances that progress. Obviously his size is something that stands out, 6’7” with room to grow.”
“The culture of our program is four-fold, great kids, great players, good students, and tough kids who love football. Jared checks out in all four and we are glad he committed to be a KCU Knight.”
While at KCU, Stricklett plans to study General Business.