Kyle Keown, a senior punter at Wayne County High School in Jesup, Ga., has committed to accept a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt and could sign as early as Thursday, according to a story in the Savannah Morning News. Keown, who originally planned to walk on with Georgia Tech, will become the replacement for punter/placekicker Greg Johnson, who last week announced his intentions of transferring.
Keown, a 6-0 185-pounder, averaged 39.3 yards per punts in his senior season, according to his personal website, www.kyle.keown.com . He also handled placekicking and kickoff duties for Coach Daryl Jones' Yellow Jackets. A Georgia Merit Scholar, Keown boasts a 4.0 grade point average and a 1200 SAT score.
According to the Morning News, Keown received a call from Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson a few days ago, and made an official visit to the campus last weekend. "[Coach Johnson] knew it was late in the season, but they were looking for a punter," said Keown. "He told me that I could be able to come in and start as a freshman.
"Then I went on my official visit, and it was great. I met a group of people that were second to none. It's a great atmosphere. The school is amazing. And I'm getting a scholarship that's worth $40,000 (per year). That's where I want to go to school."
Keown had been planning to attend Georgia Tech in the fall as a preferred walk-on and compete for the starting job. But he told the Morning News that the scholarship offer from Vanderbilt was too good to pass up. "Even if Tech offered me a scholarship, I would still go with Vanderbilt."
Keown becomes the 23rd member of Vanderbilt's signing class of 2003, and will report to campus in August. The Commodores signed 21 high school seniors and one junior college transfer on National Signing Day last February.
Shortly after spring practice, Vanderbilt punter Greg Johnson of Lilburn, Ga. made it known that he would explore other options after an outstanding freshman season. The departure of Johnson, who handled all the punting and most of the placekicking and kickoffs in 2002, had left the Commodores without a punter on scholarship. Redshirt freshman Patrick Johnson of Athens, Ala., is expected to help with the placekicking duties.