Georgia All-Stater To Get Chance As VU Punter; Commodores Sign Keown As Kicking Specialist 4/11/03

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Kyle Keown, an all-state punter from southeast Georgia, signed a scholarship Friday to play football for the Commodores, Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson said.

Keown,a four-year letterman at Wayne County High School in Jesup, Ga., will compete for the starting job this fall. He will be the Commodores’ only punter on scholarship during the 2003 season.

“I’m very pleased to sign an athlete of Kyle’s ability at this time, when the primary recruiting period has come and gone. I think Kyle is going to be a great addition to this team and will help us win football games,” the Vanderbilt coach said.

Keown, an excellent academic student and Wendy’s Heisman Trophy nominee, served as Wayne County High’s punter throughout his four-year prep career. As a senior, he averaged 39.3 yards for the Region 3-AAAAA playoff squad coached by Daryl Jones.

“If Vanderbilt needs a punter next year, Kyle will be able to step up to the plate. He has all the potential to be an SEC punter,” Jones said. “Previously, I worked as a graduate assistant at Maryland and Duke, and Kyle would have been a contender for the punting job at both of those schools. Additionally, he has the academics and character that Coach Johnson looks for in his players.”

In 2002, Keown earned first-team Region 3-AAAAA All-State recognition as a punter, and also served as the Yellow Jackets’ placekicker and kickoff specialist. Of his 41 punts in 2002, 26 were not returned, 15 were downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Most of his kickoffs resulted in either touchbacks or returns inside the 20-yard line.

“Kyle’s punting average could have been higher, but we asked him to put his punts in certain places. That’s one of his main strengths, in addition to a lively leg and the ability to compete under pressure. Kyle has the knack for putting a punt where it is needed,” Coach Jones said.

Keown, the son of a family physician and housewife, is a Georgia Merit Scholar, carrying a 4.0 GPA. He ranks among the Top 5% of his graduating class.



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