Many would consider last Friday’s game for Athens Academy against Providence Christian to be a statement game. Athens Academy thoroughly beat down their once-undefeated opponent by the tune of 51-19, and perhaps no play encapsulates the one-sided nature of the matchup than freshman Keyon Standifer’s kick return.
The standout from the class of ’27 handled the kickoff just outside of the endzone, and quickly veered off to the left side of the field where a gang of tacklers were closing in. Standifer made a jump cut to the right, then another and before you knew it the freshman was breaking towards the right sideline with open space in front. He sprinted the final 50 yards to finish off the incredible kick returns and will surely be remembered as one of the more exciting plays of the 2023 season.
Standifer was quickly named to the top 10 plays of the week, and then the following night was voted top play in the state of Georgia. Sometime in between, Standifer also received an invite to the Elite Georgia Classic All-Star game.
So needless to say, it’s been a great week for the freshman. That’s just a microcosm of his excellent freshman season too.
“My freshman years had been great. I love the atmosphere that I’m around. I feel at home every time I walk into the locker room or on campus. The teachers and coaches are great also,” Standifer said.
On the season, the playmaker has 430 receiving yards on 14 receptions on top of an additional ~200 yards returning punts and kicks.
“My goals for the rest of the season are to get invited to the UA All-American Game and also get a couple of offers rolling in. I would also like to reach 1,000 receiving yards or close to that by the end of the season,” he said.
Impressively, Standifer already is halfway to his goal with 4 games left in the regular season and surely more in the playoffs. There is a strong chance he can attain 1k yards as a freshman, which would be a rare occurrence in the state. His lofty goals are supported by his incredible work ethic, and his ability to hone his craft.
“I need to improve in selling the route more to get open more. I also need to work on creating space with the defensive back.”
The freshman continued to talk about his mindset on the field.
“My mindset on the field is just to kill and give it my all. I don’t care if we are down by 30; I still give it my all and try to play like it’s 0 to 0. I have a lot of love for the game so I try to play it like it’s my last time playing it.”
The passionate freshman has been an X-factor of sorts for Athens Academy, who will once again attempt to make a long push into the playoffs. This Friday they will faceoff against Fellowship Christian, who ranks #9 in our 2A poll. Many pundits, myself included, consider that game to be the region championship, so be sure to follow @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter/X to hear the latest on Athens Academy and their dynamic freshman.