Not too long ago, Keegan Brewer lived the dream that so many walk-on players chase.
The former Lake Dallas standout didn’t get the scholarship offers he was looking for during his senior season, so he headed north to Kansas with a dream and a chip on his shoulder.
To a certain extent, that dream came true during his time with the Jayhawks. It just wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, not when compared with the opportunity to play close to home at North Texas.
Brewer transferred to UNT in the summer of 2017 and made his debut last week in the Mean Green’s win over SMU. The shifty slot receiver showed that he could be an impact player for UNT, which will look to improve to 2-0 Saturday when the Mean Green host Incarnate Word.
“It was a dream come true,” Brewer said. “Coming from Lake Dallas, everything around here was UNT this, UNT that. I have always wanted to play here.”
Brewer caught three passes covering 41 yards in his first game with the Mean Green and figures to see a lot more action the rest of the season. UNT emphasizes getting the ball to a variety of playmakers in its spread system and had 11 players catch passes in its opener.
Brewer is listed second on UNT’s depth chart behind Michael Lawrence at one of the slot receiver positions. He earned that spot after sitting out last season.
“Keegan has done some really good things,” UNT coach Seth Littrell said. “I was excited to get him out there and let him make some plays. He really helped us last year on the scout team. He is a great player and teammate.
“He was very competitive in spring and has played inside and outside. He has a chance to be a really good football player.”
There was never much of a question that would be the case when Brewer graduated from Lake Dallas. He caught 108 passes for 1,636 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2015 while helping lead the Falcons to the Class 5A Division II semifinals.
Brewer was named the offensive player of the year on the Denton Record-Chronicle’s All-Area Football Team a few weeks later.
Kansas wasn’t willing to give Brewer, who is 5-10 and 180 pounds, a scholarship, but the Jayhawks did offer him an opportunity to walk on. Brewer jumped at the chance and enrolled early.
“There were some big dudes there that I underestimated,” Brewer said. “I had to step up to play against people who were stronger than me. It was fun. They didn’t treat me like a walk-on.”
That’s largely because Brewer didn’t play like one. He played in all 12 of Kansas’ games as a freshman in 2016 when he finished with 15 receptions for 86 yards.
Brewer could have stayed and tried to help elevate a struggling Kansas program that finished 2-10 in his lone year there.
He started to think about coming home instead and visited with Littrell and several of his assistant coaches in the summer of 2017.
“I wanted to play football and come home,” Brewer said. “It’s a good fit for me with what [offensive coordinator Graham] Harrell is running. I love how they use inside receivers and have us block. We can’t be one-dimensional. They challenge us to be better every day.”
Seeing Brewer thrive at UNT is no surprise to Lake Dallas coach Michael Young.
“I knew he could help them,” Young said. “Their passing game is similar to what we do. The way he moves makes him a perfect fit for their offense.”
UNT quarterback Mason Fine sensed that was the case months ago.
“Keegan looked good back in the spring,” Fine said. “I knew he would be a quality receiver and add some depth. He is a hard worker. I was glad to see him out there making some catches.”
Brewer has fit in off the field as well. UNT’s coaches and players describe him as an outgoing person who is highly competitive but also fun to have around.
Young was surprised to see Brewer transfer to UNT after getting off to a solid start at Kansas but has seen the positive impact the move has made on his former star.
“He needed to be somewhere he is happy,” Young said. “It reinvigorated him. He is having a good time.”
Brewer is quick to say that he benefited from his time at Kansas; it just doesn’t compare with what UNT has to offer. His sister came in from Oklahoma City for his first game at UNT. So did his grandmother, who made the trip from Kansas.
Young said Brewer’s debut with the Mean Green has been a topic of conversation in Corinth this week.
“I appreciate the time I had there,” Brewer said of Kansas. “But I love it here with the chemistry we have. Everyone is super close.”