Burnett said depression led him to life on the streets and that he was 16 when he started drinking, 17 when he started doing drugs, 18 when he was homeless.
Burnett got hope through Joann Reyes of The Hope Center.
"When he came forward I thought, 'Whoa!' I wasn't expecting this wild guy who smelled bad and had no teeth," said Reyes, who met Burnett when he applied to teach math in the GED classes at The Hope Center.
The math-tutoring job ultimately led Burnett toward Texas Wesleyan University.
"He's probably one of the most upbeat, optimistic students," said Joe Brown, dean of freshman at Texas Wesleyan.
Burnett may be the best-dressed student at the university, he's always wearing a jacket and tie and he says it's intentional.
"Everyone I read about who's had success, they do something every morning to prepare for their day and part of that, for me, is the way I dress," said Burnett. "The way I dress helps me get into the mindset of getting things accomplished that day."
While he's partial to a tie with smiley faces on it, people who know him said he has an infectious smile, even though he has some teeth missing because of neglect.
All of that will change soon.
Dr. Laurence Oliver of Oliver Dental Implants in Colleyville is donating his services to Burnett so that he can get his teeth fixed.
"It's really mind-boggling," Burnett said, of the changes that have come to his life. "A few months ago I was homeless and now I'm a college student. They're talking about putting me in the honors program. That happens when you get a 4.0."
While a 4.0 grade point average sounds impressive, Burnett's five-year goals of graduating Magna Cum Laude with a triple-major are even more impressive.
Brown believes Burnett's love of math serves him well.
"I see somebody who'd be a pretty incredible college math teacher," said Brown.
Burnett's $12,000 a semester tuition is paid through grants and loans, but The Hope Center recently started a scholarship fund for him.
If you would like to make a donation to Jeremy Burnett's scholarship fund -- the information is below.
Jeremy Burnett Scholarship Fund
The Hope Center
3625 E. Loop 820 S.
Fort Worth, TX 76119
817-654-0877 or 817-319-8133