Branden Burdette showed his talent as a sophomore wide receiver when he had 57 catches for 981 yards and 13 touchdowns in Lexington Christian Academy's drive to the 2007 Class A finals.
Now a senior at LCA, Burdette is still a standout receiver, but also much more.
"Branden used to be a one-dimensional player," Coach Paul Rains said. "But this year he blocks, plays defense, and is on special teams. Whatever we ask him to do, he does it at full speed.
"He's developed into a complete football player."
Burdette agreed that he had room for improvement.
"My sophomore and junior years, I probably wasn't as physically fit as I should have been," he said. "But this summer, I made sure I got in the best shape possible, and I worked on my blocking and other parts of the game.
"I wanted to do everything I could as a senior to help the team go out in a big way."
The biggest way would be with a state championship.
LCA (12-1), rated No. 1 in Class A, plays host to Hazard (9-4) in Friday's semifinals. The winner earns a spot in the state championship game in Bowling Green on Dec. 5.
LCA's offense, which averages 50 points and 435 yards a game, is led by three seniors — quarterback Lucas Witt, running back Domonique Hayden, and Burdette — all of whom have big-play potential.
"A lot of people say it's like picking your poison," Burdette said. "It might be Dom one night, Lucas one night, and me one night. We can get you in a lot of ways."
Burdette's primary role is still catching passes. He has used his 4.5 speed and athleticism to push his career totals to 135 receptions for 2,567 yards and 37 TDs.
He also has caught the attention of recruiters from Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky and Campbellsville.
"Branden has great hands and great jumping ability, so he can go over the top of people to get the ball," Rains said. "He's also gotten stronger and more elusive. That makes him even tougher to cover."
Burdette is also tough to cover on the basketball court. The 6-foot guard averaged 11 points for LCA last season and is expected to be one of the best backcourt players in the 11th Region this year.
Branden has basketball in his blood. His dad, James Burdette, and his uncle, Morgan Burdette, were standout hoops players at Lafayette in the 1980s.
But Branden isn't ready to trade in his spikes for sneakers just yet. He hopes he has two more football games to play for LCA, including the state finals.
For that to happen, the Eagles must beat Hazard. LCA is favored, but that was also the case last year when Hazard pulled off a 28-21 upset in the semifinals.
"We've got a big score to settle with them," Burdette said. "Last year, we were looking ahead to the finals, not this time. We're only focused on this game.
"Our group of seniors, we've got a brotherhood. We fight for each other every Friday night. It's been a fabulous ride so far."
If LCA beats Hazard, it will be a fabulous ride to Bowling Green next week.