KANSAS CITY — Through the first three weeks of the 2017 season, Pembroke Hill’s Yakini Kasimu is emerging as one of the Kansas City area’s top running back prospects.
At 5’10, 175-pounds Kasimu opened the season with 203 yards and a touchdown in a win over St. Joseph LeBlond, then followed with 143 yards and two scores in a loss to El Dorado. He is currently fourth in the 810varsity.com list of KC area rushing leaders.
Last week, the Pembroke Hill running game struggled to get on track in a 28-7 loss to Center as Kasimu finished with 45 yards on 13 carries.
He has also made an impact this season with his play at corner. He combines speed with power and balance and while he isn’t the biggest player on the field, Kasimu can often prove tough to bring down. Kasimu also brings versatility to the field as he has made several big plays in the passing game as well, hauling in three passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
Kasimu says he had played soccer growing up and didn’t play football until his freshman year of high school, in part because his mom did not allow him to play the sport.
“I practically had to beg her to allow me to play,” he said. “I had played competitive soccer up to that point so that helped with my footwork and movement.”
This offseason Kasimu worked on his multi directional movement with trainer Eric Washington and also trained a lot on defensive back techniques in man and zone coverage.
He says one of the most influential people in his football career is Pembroke Hill offensive coordinator Scott Guthrie.
“He has been helping me develop as a football player and a man and has taught me so much about the game,” Kasimu said. “I’ve never met somebody who loves the game as much as he does and he has had great influence on me.”
Kasimu says he likes to pattern his game after NFL player Tyrann Mathieu.
“He’s a born leader and has this dog mentality that you can’t teach,” Kasimu said. “He’s also undersized at the DB position kinda like me so I look at how he covers bigger receivers and makes their lives difficult when they line up against him. That’s something I try to do.”
Kasimu drew an offer from Army as a junior and holds an offer from Missouri Western and has drawn interest from several FCS and FBS schools.
“ I’m just trying to put it all on the field this year and see where I end up,” he said.