Just a couple of days after reports surfaced that Class of 2012 commitment Derek Keaton, an “athlete” from Camden (Ark.) Fairview High, was reevaluating his future because of growing interest from Arkansas, Keaton went on record to reaffirm his pledge to the Kansas University football program.
“I was sitting at home, and one of my high school coaches asked me if I was having second thoughts,” Keaton told Jon Kirby of Rivals.com. “He said he read I might go to Arkansas camp. I told him I wasn’t (going), so I called up (KU) coach (Turner) Gill and (KU offensive line) coach J.B. Grimes. Coach Gill told me he appreciated me calling him and believed I would be a man of my word. He told me back when I committed other schools would start calling.”
It’s no surprise that they have. Though he orally committed to KU a few weeks ago, a handful of schools have continued to pursue the player whom some have called one of the hidden gems in the Class of 2012.
At 5-foot-11, 168 pounds, it’s not Keaton’s size that makes him a dynamic playmaker. It’s his 4.4-second 40-yard dash speed and great instincts.
During his junior season at Fairview, Keaton caught 62 passes for 974 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also tallied 497 yards and 10 TDs on 67 carries from the backfield and averaged 36 yards per attempt on kickoff returns and 10 yards per try on punt returns.
On defense, he split time at cornerback and safety, and he recently said he believed that’s where his future would lie.
“I think I will be a cornerback and return man in college,” Keaton told Otis Kirk of HawgSports.com.
During his appearance at KU’s Friday Night Lights camp in June, Keaton worked out at wide receiver and cornerback. After tearing it up on that Friday, the KU coaching staff offered Keaton a scholarship the next morning. He accepted immediately.
After receiving interest from Arkansas and dozens of other schools, Keaton chose KU over scholarship offers from Mississippi and Missouri State.
Keaton is one of the three prospects from the Class of 2012 to commit orally to Kansas so far. He is joined by Florida cornerback Daniel Gray and Blue Valley West offensive lineman Brian Beckmann.
Provided those three stick with their commitments, Kansas has 10 scholarships remaining to pass out for 2012.
KU Day at The K
The KU football program and Kansas City Royals are teaming up for a promotion at Kauffman Stadium, July 23, when the Royals play host to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The first 1,000 Jayhawk fans who bring a KU Day at The K discounted ticket to the KU table located near Gate B will receive a limited-edition crimson and blue K.C. Royals KU Cap.
Head coach Turner Gill and several members of the 2011 football team will be on hand to mingle with fans, and those in attendance can sign up to win several KU-football-themed prizes, including balls autographed by Gill and legendary KU running back Gale Sayers.
Gates open at 4:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased by visiting www.royals.com/ku.