As a first-year starter, it’s expected that player will hit a few road blocks. For wide receiver Deante Burton, it has been a steady progression. Regardless of the results, Burton’s progression has been notable and the physical 6-foot-2-inch wide receiver is on the cusp of breaking out in his sophomore season.
Take it from his teammates on the opposite side of the ball who are used to going to battle against shorter, slightly less physical receivers like Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton.
“I remember early on in the season he made a few catches here and there but he struggled getting open for the most part,” junior defensive back Morgan Burns said leading up to last week’s game against Oklahoma State. “These last couple of games, he’s made some big catches and I know against Texas he made a few catches on third down that were huge for us.”
The Texas game was a career day for Burton as he hauled in four catches for 55 yards and his second-longest catch of the year at 18 yards.
These numbers may seem modest but appear to be a signs of things to come for his coaches and teammates.
Burton is coming off a redshirt freshman season where the only stat he recorded was a tackle in punt coverage against TCU. Last Saturday against the Cowboys, he was a foot drag away from his first career touchdown in a K-State uniform.
While Burton hasn’t contributed on the scoreboard yet, his coaches seem encouraged by his progress as they hope to see his physical gifts combine with the “day at a time” mentality that has been a integral part of K-State’s structure.
“He will continue to get better and continue to evolve into a very fine player,” head coach Bill Snyder said. “You know, he’s got the physical stature to enhance that position. He has good height, he can be a physical player, he runs well. Like so many things that I’ve said, we’re just hoping for the consistency and working towards that continued progression on a consistent basis. He is and will be a good player.”
Burton is part of the present and the future for this K-State offense. With Lockett and Sexton departing after this season, his role will change from a offensive pawn to a bishop or a rook in Snyder’s chess board of an offense.
“I believe that he is really maturing,” Burns said. “I think that the more games (he) gets under his belt and the more that (he) understands what it’s like to play in front of a big crowd and play against big teams like Texas and (Oklahoma). I really trust that down the road, he’s going to continue to improve and be a key player in the offense.”