A former Louisville Manual standout in high school, Keenan Burton is now making unbelievable plays one after another for the University of Kentucky football team. In last Saturday's win over SEC foe Vanderbilt, Burton hauled in 11 receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns. It marked the third consecutive game that Burton had caught at least two touchdown passes.
Burton currently ranks #14 in the nation in yards (849), #12 in touchdowns (10), and #16 in receptions (57). It isn't only on offense where Keenan thrives, he also is ranked #15 in the nation in Kickoff returns with a 24.9 average with one touchdown, a 100 yard return against Louisville.
With the 38-26 win over Vanderbilt, Kentucky now has become bowl eligible for the first time since 1999. It has been a long time coming for a program that has been through probation, massive injuries, and tons of speculation on Coach Rich Brooks job security. Even though the past has been dark, you can see how bright the future can be when you see Keenan smile.
After turning in an impressive freshman year, Burton was hit with injuries the past two seasons, leaving fans to speculate if he could stay healthy for a full season to flash his skills the same way he did as freshman.
Keenan has left no doubt about that question this season.
The biggest thing about Burton, he is a true team player. He cares about Kentucky football. You can tell when he speaks about how hard the team works and how they want to make UK football a winner, it comes from the heart. A major factor on the offensive side of the ball, Burton is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the football. Same goes for kickoff returns, which shows in the SEC statistics which Burton leads the conference in all purpose yardage.
Everything he does, he does it to perfection.
The next time you are attending a Kentucky football game or watching on TV, focus on Burton's route running. It is a thing of beauty to watch. I spoke to a current Eastern Kentucky football player who participated against Burton during several summer 7-on-7 competitions this past summer which he had the following to say.
"Keenan is unreal. His route running is as close to perfect as you can get. If he gets one on one coverage you can forget it. If you don't roll a safety to his side he will burn you alive. We all will be watching Keenan on Sundays in the future."
Years from now we will look back on this 2006 football team as ‘The Team' that pushed Kentucky football forward (post probation era). A name that will forever be remembered by the blue and white fans, Keenan Burton represents everything Kentucky football should be. Passion, pride, determination.
And here lately, you can even add "success" to the column as well. No matter what word describes Keenan Burton to you, you can bet that he will be making unbelievable plays again this Saturday.
The more games he plays, the more I just sit back and say "wow".