Sam Burt

Kansas defensive lineman Codey Cole III, left, and nose tackle Sam Burt work on technique last April at the indoor practice facility.

LAWRENCE – All the dedication and hard work that former Abilene Cowboy Sam Burt has put towards his time on the University of Kansas football team came to fulfillment Wednesday evening as he was awarded a full scholarship at the conclusion of practice.

Kansas head coach Les Miles broke the news to Burt while meeting with the team after practice on Wednesday. Video footage of the surprise presentation by Miles went viral on the football’s social media platforms. Miles presented Burt, a 6-4, 293-pound nose tackle, with a message on a sheet of paper that was hidden under a towel.

As Burt unrolled and examined the gift, he and his teammates came to realize KU was putting him on scholarship. Fellow Jayhawks rushed to the front of the room to mob the big lineman and help him celebrate.

“We’re looking for that guy on the defensive side of the field who is completely selfless,” Miles said as the scene unfolded.

Miles was speaking to his team about the importance of a nose tackle knocking back an offensive lineman to set the stage for his surprise, before asking Burt to come up front from his seat in the auditorium to the front of the room for what proved to be a moving moment for the D-lineman.

Burt hugged his coach and shook his hand once the celebration subdued.

The Abilene native had been a walk-on in the 2017 recruiting class for the University of Kansas under David Beaty. Burt played in all 12 games on special teams as a true freshman. In 2018, as a sophomore, he returned to his special teams role and played some spot snaps on the defensive line in five games.

Before the season officially got underway, Burt was expected to be one of the mainstays of KU’s defensive line with the majority of the time at defensive tackle.

“Thankful for all that this staff and all my teammates have done for me,” Burt wrote on his Twitter account. “I really wouldn’t have this opportunity without their support and the support of so many other family and friends. All I can say is that God is good and the Jayhawks are coming.”

In high school, Burt was a four-year varsity letterman for the Abilene Cowboys and was a three-year starter for head coach Steve Simpson. He helped the Cowboys to three-consecutive North Central Kansas League championships and a regional title in 2015.

His senior season was high lighted with 65 tackles, seven sacks and four pass breakups from his defensive end position. He earned All-State honors in Class 4A as a defensive end in 2015 and as an offensive lineman in 2016.

Burt also lettered in power lifting, track and wrestling while at Abilene. He was a member of the honor roll, National Honor Society and German Honor Society and he earned four letters in band and jazz band.

Burt has maintained his high academic standing while at Lawrence as he was on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Role and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in the fall of 2017. In 2018, he earned Academic All Big-12 Rookie Team, a repeat placement on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and made the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in the spring.

In the school year just completed, Burt had a perfect 4.0 GPA in the spring and he was back on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

Burt is the son of Tim and Sharon Burt of Abilene and is majoring in environmental science. His has two sisters Molly and Emily, both attending KU.

KU Athletics contributed to this story.

Contact Ron Preston at

Contact Ron Preston at

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