Behind the inventive passing offense of coach Mike Mauk – and the play of record setting quarterback and former Ohio Mr. Football award winner Ben Mauk – Kenton became a fixture in the Ohio playoffs, even winning the 2002 Division IV state title.
One member of that championship team is still in the fold at Kenton and is starting to get some looks as a college prospect. Offensive lineman D.J. Burris (6-3, 275, 5.1) has been a fixture at Ohio State events in the past year, including the spring game April 23.
"I really like all the coaches there at Ohio State," said Burris, who is ranked as the state's 40th-best prospect in the May edition of Ohio High. "I like it that the players are physical. I had been down there before the Ohio State-Michigan game and I saw that atmosphere. I know what it would be like.
"The crowd is really loud down there for the games. Their coaches seem nice. I just grew up and always loved Ohio State."
Burris is being recruited by OSU assistant Dick Tressel, who made a stop by his school last Friday.
Burris received an offer Monday from Ball State and also received word that West Virginia is strongly considering an offer. He lists his top schools as OSU, Michigan, Iowa, Cincinnati, Minnesota and West Virginia.
"I also took a visit down to Miami (Fla.) and also to Wake Forest," Burris said. (Ben Mauk is now a quarterback at Wake Forest.)
Burris said he plans to attend a one-day session of the OSU senior advanced camp June 25. He also plans to attend camps at West Virginia, Cincinnati and North Carolina.
"The OSU coaches said the big thing is for them to see me down at their camp," Burris said. "They want to see how well I move."
Burris will be a four-year starter on the offensive line and a two-year starter at defensive end. He has played exclusively at offensive guard.
"I like everything about the offensive line," he said. "I think it just comes natural for me. With our offense, we do a lot of pass blocking. But when I get a chance to run block, I like that, too."
Kenton had a down year in 2004, finishing 5-5. But Burris believes the Wildcats will turn it around this fall.
"We have 70 or 80 kids out now working out every morning," Burris said. "We have a lot of senior leadership and everybody is excited about this year."
Burris holds a 3.33 GPA and scored an 18 on the ACT.
Here is what Bucknuts recruiting editor Duane Long wrote about Burris:
"Other linemen are getting more ink, but this is a fine lineman that brings a lot of experience to the table. He has been a starter since his freshman year when he played on the Kenton state championship team with record-setting quarterback Ben Mauk at the helm.
"Burris looks to be the strongest of this stellar offensive line crop as he benched 185 pounds 32 times at one camp -- and was disappointed in that number. He has done 25 reps of 225 and did a 375-pound bench at the state power-lifting meet last year and added a 660 squat. Burris also had a 47-foot shot put and a 140-foot discus throw in competition.
"Burris plays guard at the high school level. Maybe the most impressive thing Burris has done is line up at linebacker in 7-on-7s. Level of competition is going to be the biggest question, but he will likely answer that in summer camps."