California had only gotten Jesse Burkett's junior year tape very recently, but in that time, the Golden Bears saw enough that when the Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail offensive lineman stepped onto campus on Tuesday for a last-minute visit to Berkeley, offensive line coach Zach Yenser enthusiastically extended a scholarship offer.
"I had my mom, dad and little sister with me," said Burkett. "We came in and met with the offensive coordinator and coach Yenser, and then he let me know that I have what they want there, and that I had a scholarship there, if I wanted it."
Burkett had only just begun to talk with Yenser, and Tuesday was the first time the two of them had met.
"I talked to him just a few days ago, before we got in to California, setting up the visit," Burkett said. "My dad had sent him my film a week or two earlier, so really, we just met, and he seemed like a great guy, and I enjoyed my time with him."
Burkett's parents were both excited, "as they usually are," and Burkett himself was "very appreciative."
"I wasn't really expecting it on this visit," Burkett said. "It's definitely something to consider."
Burkett boasts an eye-popping 4.41 GPA and takes almost entirely Advanced Placement and Honors classes, with his favorite being calculus, making him quite a fit for the academic rigors of Berkeley. He also visited Stanford on Monday.
"It was a great visit," Burkett said of his time in Berkeley. "I really liked the campus. I didn't really know what to expect, but it was a great tour. It's beautiful. Really, as a whole, I think the whole family enjoyed it."
Burkett has also made a visit to North Carolina, and plans on visiting Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech.
How did the Cal and Stanford visits stack up against one another?
"The Cal visit was a little short-notice, so we didn't get to go as in-depth, but it was still a great visit," Burkett said. "They were kind of the same. I met with coaches, got a tour of the campus, got to meet some of the players and their workouts and stuff. I met with the head coaches, learned about the academics, what I'd be doing there, pretty much the same stuff. Honestly, I enjoyed both of them. I'd give them both an ‘A'."
At 6-foot-4, 271 pounds, the three-star Burkett now has 23 scholarship offers, including Harvard, and was a high school teammate with current Cal punter Cole Leininger.
"We met for a couple minutes before we started [the visit]," Burkett said. "We were planning on meeting him for lunch, but we kind of ran out of time."
When the two did get a chance to talk, Leininger obliged by giving the Burketts the hard sell.
"We asked him how he liked it and what he was studying, and he said he enjoys it there," Burkett said. "He didn't really miss home, much, he said. That's good that I got to talk to him about it."
Our Scout.com regional analysts say that Burkett is "an extremely talented offensive lineman who has the size at 6-foot-4 and athleticism to play anywhere across the offensive line. He is explosive off the ball and comes off the low. He moves well and has shown himself to be very effective and getting down field to block defensive backs. He moves very well. His pass protection will need a little work when he gets to college and plays against bigger and more athletic lineman."
What makes Burkett such a good fit for the Bears?
"They said that my athleticism at the tackle position is really good, and the screens that my team runs is really similar to what they do, and I guess they liked what I saw on my film," Burkett said. "I guess it's really just the way I move."
Burkett Scores Cal Offer on Unofficial
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