Burns benefits from a Sterling effort

Kaleb Burns signs his letter of intent to attend Sterling College as, from left, Bryant head coach and offensive line coach Paul Calley, offensive coordinator Dale Jones and Kaleb's mother Sandee look on.By Rob Patrick

Bryant senior Kaleb Burns was determined. After anchoring the offensive line for the Bryant Hornets in 2009, the 5-11, 240-pound Burns decided he wasn’t through playing football.

“I knew that I wasn’t the typical 6-3-plus offensive lineman,” he noted. “So I did some research on NAIA schools and a lot of times they had questionnaires (on their web sites). I’d fill them out and wait for them. Sometimes they’d get back to me and sometimes they didn’t. I filled out so many.”

And it paid off in the end. On Wednesday, Feb. 3, Burns signed a letter of intent to continue his football career and education at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas.[more]

“There’s a conference called KCAC and about four schools started talking to me from there, plus a JUCO (junior college) here and there,” he related. “I went and visited three schools in two days in Kansas. I visited Sterling, Tabor and University of St. Mary.”

“He’s just that kind of kid,” commented Bryant head coach Paul Calley. “He’s a student of the game of football. He researched a lot of those schools. He felt like that he could play at an NAIA school and he felt like Kansas gave him the best opportunity.”

“I stayed overnight and I liked the players,” Burns said, “I liked the camaraderie and stuff. I went into the weight room and it was so energetic. I went to two weight rooms. I went to one at another school and it was dull. It was real dull, people just lifting. But then, at Sterling, it was real enthusiastic with everybody being together.

“I was most comfortable with Sterling because Coach (Brian) Fish (the offensive coordinator for the Warriors) was coming down to Little Rock on a recruiting trip and he came to our school and talked to me,” he continued. “I thought that was pretty neat that he would actually talk to me from a school that small.

“I really like Coach Fish and the offense that they run and the style,” Burns added. “They run a spread style and they run the ball 70 percent of the time. It’s a lot of downhill. It’s a lot of stuff I like, the zone offense out of the gun.”

Sterling is located about an hour northwest of Wichita.

“It’s a school that, cost-wise, is equivalent to OBU,” Calley stated. “It’s expensive. But he’ll get a good education and he’ll be able to continue his playing career. He can play center, guard or tackle, anywhere they want him to. He’s going to be smart enough and dedicated enough to learn any position.

“I’m going to be somewhere on the offensive line and the thing is with them, they play a lot of undersized people,” Burns added. “They’re similar to Bryant where they’ll play an undersized person over a bigger person if you’re quicker or faster. So, you don’t have to necessarily be tall or overly big to play for them. They said I’ll be playing every position on the offensive line.”

“He’s got a lot of pop coming off the ball,” Calley said. “He’s a good run blocker. He had to play with his hand down the last couple of years so his pass blocking, he’s going to be a little bit behind. They run a shotgun-zone scheme so it’s going to take a little bit of adjustment for him. I think he’ll put on some pounds and he’ll be fine.”

As for his academics, Burns said, “I want to be a college coach or a high school coach. I’m leaning toward a college coach.”

He’s the son of Michael and Sandee Burns.

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