"I just thought I would have to have a real good senior season before anyone would pay attention to me," Cessna said. "I never thought about being offered early like this."
The 6-4, 215-pound Chris Cessna has four scholarship offers — Kentucky, Purdue, Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky. He's also made unofficial visits to Virginia Tech and Louisville and could have offers coming from both schools.
Some schools project him as a tight end (he had 31 receptions for 518 yards and six scores last year). Others, like Kentucky, project him as a defensive end or linebacker based on the 161 tackles he made last season.
While he's not ready to make a college choice, there certainly are a lot of reasons for Kentucky fans to be optimistic.
First, his family has Kentucky football season tickets. "We go to a lot of games. My brother did not miss a home game for three years," Cessna said. "We've always been UK fans. It's an honor for them to offer me a scholarship. I can remember when I was little going and watching guys like Tim Couch and Craig Yeast play. Those guys were awesome and to get to play where they did would be a big deal."
Second, he respects former Boyle County coach Chuck Smith, who is UK's new linebacker coach. Being only 55 miles from Boyle, Cessna knows the success Smith had making Boyle the state's premier program the past six years.
"I was talking to my dad about coach Smith. He had it made at Boyle. He didn't have to leave a great program where he was," Cessna said. "He believes in where he's going at Kentucky and thinks they can be a good football team. That makes a big difference."
Wait. There's more. Guess who Cessna says reminds him of the way he plays? It's Jacob Tamme, the former Boyle County standout who emerged as one of UK's best players in spring practice.
"I am kind of tall and big like him," Cessna said. "I think I can play physical on defense, but if play tight end I can also move all right. I'm not all finesse. I can take a hit and still make a catch, just like Jacob Tamme.
"I like Jacob Tamme a lot. He's from around here. I've not got to meet him yet, but I want to. I've seen him play before and he definitely reminds me of myself. He's not the fastest guy, but he's big, knows how to get open and he can catch."
He's participate in a combine at Lynn Camp Thursday. Then it is off to Athens, Ga., for a Nike combine where he'll get a lot of attention, especially if he can lower his 4.7-second time in the 40-yard dash. He already plans to attend summer camps at UK, Louisville, Western and Tennessee.