Football Prospect Opens Season In Style

This talented football prospect from Florida who is interested in Auburn had a night to remember as he began his 2004 season.

Eustis, Fla.--It is doubtful that many high school seniors had a more spectacular start to their high school football seasons than Eustis High star Joe Burnett.

The defensive back prospect more than lived up to his billing as one of the most exciting football players in central Florida when he led his team to a thrilling 35-34 overtime victory over rival Leesburg High School on Friday night.

The 5-10, 180-pounder is a rare four-year starter at his high school and he started his senior season in style by returning the opening kickoff of the season 89 yards for a touchdown.

Burnett also had a big finish by running for the winning touchdown in overtime, scrambling into the end zone on third and goal at the 10-yard.

Sandwiched in between those two big plays were plenty of others. Playing quarterback for the first time after moving to the position from running back, he rushed for 101 yards while directing a Wing-T offense. He scored his team's other first half touchdown on an 18-yard run and helped Eustis rally from a 28-13 second half deficit by scoring again on a one-yard run with 3:32 left in regulation.

On defense Burnett intercepted a pass, the 27th of his career, which puts the senior sixth on the all-time Florida list.

With sub 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash and excellent agility, college scouts have been watching. "Right now my four favorites are Auburn, Georgia, UCF and Florida," Burnett says. "I haven't set up any official visits yet, but I know that one of them will be to Auburn."

Burnett is also a standout in basketball. He was named the Orlando Sentinel Boys Player of the Year for the 2003-2004 season for the Lake and Sumter counties area after he averaged 11 points, five assists and four steals per game to lead his team to a 27-3 record as a junior. He was also named to the Florida Sports Writers Association Honorable Mention All-State listing.

"I am a cornerback prospect for college and that is the position that Auburn is recruiting me to play," Burnett says.

With Hurricane Frances doing damage in the Eustis area, Burnett says his team's week two game might be in jeopardy. "We haven't been able to go to school or practice," he says. "I am not sure if we will be playing a game this week or not."

Burnett has already been on the Auburn campus this summer for an unofficial visit and says that he is definitely interested in the AU. He also attended some football camps during the summer and said that went well. "I think I showed I have very good footwork and quickness," he says. "I was really encouraged how I did compared to other prospects at the camps."

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