Former Kentucky offensive linemen Drake Jackson and Landon Young will land on NFL rosters at some point this upcoming weekend, hopefully as drafted players on Saturday. With a combined 96 games between them on the Big Blue Wall, the two Kentucky natives leave behind decorated careers as All-SEC football stars, but they leave the homegrown legacy in good hands with Jager Burton, a four-star offensive lineman out of Lexington who enrolled this past January.
“I think Jager is special,” Drake Jackson told KSR last week. “I’ve worked with him since he was maybe a sophomore in high school, and I could tell early on that he was special.
“(He’s) very smart, understands how to play the game of football. I know that sounds weird but offensive line is such a strange position that not many guys understand it naturally; he does as a freshman.”
Burton turned heads at right guard in his first collegiate practices this spring, only a few months into his time on campus. New offensive coordinator Liam Coen said Burton has the talent to play right away if needed; Jackson also saw an advanced freshman beyond his age when he snuck behind a couple of UK’s closed-door practices.
“I’ve seen them practice a couple times,” said Jackson. “He picks up movement in the run game which is–you know, Landon—a very, very difficult thing to do for a freshman offensive lineman. I have a lot of faith in him. He works hard. Big kid, 6-4, 290. He’ll fill out that frame into a 300+ pound player. But he already bends very well, very quick, very smart and very coachable, is what I’ve seen.”
Young added his analysis of what he’s seen from Burton, saying, “He’s a big guy that has shown a lot of promise. He understands a lot of things that a lot of guys have to come in and learn for a period of time. Now what’s going to elevate his game is just the reps. He understands it, he can pick it up, now just get those active reps to be able to improve on his game.”
The NFL prospects also gushed about Kiyaunta Goodwin, the four-star lineman Kentucky signed out of the Louisville area. Goodwin still has a year of high school to play before he moves to Lexington as a member of the incoming 2022 freshman class, but he is considered the sixth-ranked offensive tackle in America.
“I remember seeing him as a middle schooler,” Jackson said of Goodwin. “I remember saying, ‘this kid is huge,’ and I was so curious to see how he would develop because you see some kids will be in middle school getting offers and then kind of fade out the next couple of years. But no, he’s transformed his body.”
With guys like Burton and Goodwin anchoring the future of the Big Blue Wall, one of the Wall’s old stalwarts feels a sense of pride in what he helped build. Landon Young said, “I think we made it fun to be an offensive lineman.”