East Texas 25: No. 4 Keontae Burns, ATH, Pittsburg
For college football recruits one offer stands above the rest.
Every offer is important, of course. Any time a school invests in a player's future is worthy of celebration. But when the Alabama Crimson Tide decide you're good enough, it's different.
Nick Saban has built a modern dynasty in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide have played in six national championships since 2009 and won all but one. It's no surprise an offer from Alabama just feels better.
Karl Scott, the defensive backs coach at Alabama, made the trip to Pittsburg this summer to see Keontae Burns, who plays receiver and defensive back for the Pirates. When Scott arrived, Pirate coach Brad Baca was there eager to show him film of his best player.
After watching a few spring highlights and tape from Pittsburg's 2017 season, Scott looked over at Baca.
"We're going to offer him," he said.
Baca felt it. He saw it on Burns' face when he walked in to receive the news. Burns may not end up committing to Alabama, but that moment was special.
“I was very excited," he said. "Not everybody gets the privilege to get that type of offer.”
He has plenty more, too. Baylor, Texas A&M and Texas Tech are just a few of the 19 schools to offer Burns so far. He earned a lot of attention this offseason after leading Pittsburg with 631 yards receiving and five touchdowns in 2017. He also had an interception, fumble recovery and seven passes defended.
Burns hasn't taken too many official visits this offseason, just one to Baylor. He is too busy working on his game at APEC gym in Tyler, adding more flexibility and speed to his repertoire.
“They teach a lot of different stuff," Burns said. "It’s not just about a position. They teach you how to become an athlete. It’s not just about one sport. It’s about dealing with the body.”
He plans to visit Arkansas, Alabama, Texas A&M and Texas Tech before making his decision. He doesn't anticipate committing until after the season is over.
When the time comes for him to choose a college, he'll also be faced with another decision: receiver or defensive back? Although he'd rather play receiver, he said he will do whatever it takes if he feels the fit is right.
“I want to play receiver," he said. "Then again, I just want to play. It’s a privilege to have offers from both sides. That way I get to choose which one I actually want to play.”
Although it's still unclear what position he will play in college, there's no ambiguity about the impact he will make. Baca said Burns is so physical, he could even see him playing outside linebacker in college.
"The way he comes downhill and hits and throws his body around jumps off film at them," he said. "When you’re thinking about a kid that’s 18 years old and could add 30 more pounds, with his frame, he could be a guy that’s really tough to deal with. On the offensive side, they see a guy that’s a vertical threat. A guy that can beat you deep and go up and get a screen, run a jet sweep.
"He’s a do-everything receiver."
East Texas 25 Class of 2019
- No. 25 DeKendrick Bender, Marshall, WR, 6-2, 185
- No. 24 Jawan King, Atlanta, RB, 5-10, 213
- No. 23 Eric Gipson, Jefferson, OLB/S, 6-1, 195
- No. 22 T.K. Hamilton, Waskom, ATH, 5-10, 166
- No. 21 Caiden Walker, Newton, OL, 6-5, 285
- No. 20 Tahj Washington, Marshall, WR, 5-11, 165
- No. 19 Robbie Williams, Chapel Hill, WR, 6-3, 195
- No. 18 Breylon Garcia, Lufkin, DE, 6-4, 215
- No. 17 Chance Billington, John Tyler, OL, 6-3, 300
- No. 16 Keivie Rose, Henderson, DE, 6-3, 240
- No. 15 Deshawn McCuin, Jacksonville, DB, 5-11, 180
- No. 14 Cameron Cantrell, Whitehouse, WR, 6-1, 180
- No. 13 Javasia Brunson, Lufkin, DE, 6-3, 235
- No. 12 Marcus Williams, Longview, OL, 6-5, 285
- No. 11 Coltin Clack, Texas High, QB, 6-3, 220
- No. 10 Keshon Williams, Pine Tree, ATH, 6-4, 230
- No. 9 Ke'Andre Street, John Tyler, WR, 6-3, 200
- No. 8 Blake Trainor, Hallsville, OL, 6-7, 300
- No. 7 Josh Foster, Newton, ATH, 6-0, 165
- No. 6 Beaux Limmer, Tyler Lee, OL, 6-5, 270
- No. 5 Darwin Barlow, Newton, RB, 5-11, 195