California RB Taking Care of Business

Occasionally a recruit vanishes from the recruiting radar screen like a ninja in the night and just as mysteriously reappears out of nowhere. A lot of coaches will be scratching their heads about a one-time much-ballyhooed running back from San Jose's Oak Grove High School that hasn't stepped foot on a football field in nearly three years.

The last time many people heard about Burton Iosefa, he was helping the South squad to victory in the 2005 Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star Football Game. Iosefa had been previously named the Sports Focus Central Coast Section (CCS) Player of the Year in California and the Cal Hi-Sports CCS Offensive Player of the Year. The Central Coast Section governs all high school sports in the large area from San Francisco down to King City.

The well-mannered Iosefa led the Oak Grove Eagles to a CCS championship in his senior season and rushed for 2,071 yards. He also rushed for 1,700 yards in his junior year. One would think the 5-foot-10-inch, 185-pound dynamo would be getting all kinds of recruiting attention. Iosefa won the Andre Carter Scholar Athlete Award, so qualifying academically wasn't an issue. He was also a gifted track athlete with personal bests of 14.26 in the 110 meter hurdles and 37.8 in the 300 meter hurdles.

Actually, Iosefa was recruited. He was recruited by a lot of schools. He even got an offer to run track for UC Santa Barbara. For Burton, however, one thing was more important than football or track. He is LDS and he wanted to serve a mission for his church. He greyshirted, going to school part-time at San Jose State, while preparing for his mission. Then for the last two years he has been serving and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in New Zealand.

"My parents always taught me to take care of business," said Iosefa. "That means not only taking care of business on the football field, but also in the classroom, in church and in all parts of my life. Being a missionary was important to me, so I wasn't going to let anything get in the way of that. This opportunity only comes around once."

Prior to the mission, Burton's father Leone Iosefa, a retired army sergeant and ROTC instructor at Overfelt High School, helped pare the college list down to 10 schools: UCLA, Arizona State, Utah State, Colorado, Idaho State, Penn, Princeton, Cornell, San Diego State, and BYU. When Burton decided to go on a mission, he fell off every radar screen. After a change in the BYU coaching staff when Gary Crowton was dismissed, Iosefa fell off that radar, too.

Iosefa came back from New Zealand on March 11, having served a successful mission, and is ready to get back to the business of school and football. He is now looking for a place to go to apply his significant talents. His older brother, Lancer, is a running back at Mt. San Antonio College, so Burton has visited that campus.

"I would like to visit BYU, too, since that is my church's university and I know it is a solid educational institution," said Iosefa. "I have heard good things about the philosophy of the new coaching staff."

Iosefa knows this is not the best time of year to start the recruiting process, but he also knows if he stays positive he will be blessed.

"I am running and lifting weights every day to keep myself busy," said Iosefa. "It's been a long time so I need to get back in football condition. Heavenly Father has blessed me with talents and He expects me to work to develop those talents. I just want to be the best person I can be in all parts of my life so I can serve my Father."

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