“I was happy, I was happy,” Burns says. “It really made me excited that Cal wants me to join their football team, because it’s such a good place for academics and athletics. I was really excited.
“He said that he liked my work ethic, he liked how I competed, how I worked. He liked my talent, and how I carried myself. He said they’d love to get me up there and have me get a view of the campus, and then he offered me a scholarship.”
Burns worked out at both cornerback and receiver, moving between the two outside spots, during the course of the morning, wowing those in attendance with a pull-away touchdown grab on a deep post from the Z position. Burns is aptly named, as he recently clocked a 4.48 40 time, and he runs track, as well. Cal offered him as an athlete.
“I think I did decently,” Burns said of the camp. “I put in a lot of good work. I learned at the DB spot to always keep your hips low, and sink, keep your feet moving, keep your arms moving – that’s the most important thing. At the wide out spot, I had to jump in a little late, because I was with the DBs, but it was more reading the coverages, make adjustments, and once you make those, you’ll be fine.”
Last season, Burns did a bit of everything for Linfield, completing 68 of 108 passing attempts for 705 yards and nine touchdowns, rushing 94 times for 885 yards and eight touchdowns and catching 25 balls for 335 yards and two scores on offense. On the defensive side of the ball, Burns racked up 54 stops, including 3.0 tackles for loss, with seven pass deflections, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. He also returned three kicks for 98 yards, and seven punts for 149 yards.
Playing all over the field helps Burns’s vision and anticipation on both sides of the ball, and that was evident on the field on Sunday morning.
“It helps out a lot, because if you’re on the defensive side, and you’ve been on offense, you can recognize routes, you can recognize stems, formations and everything,” Burns says. “On the offensive side, you can recognize coverages and schemes, so it helps out.”
Beyond football, Burns also runs track and plays combo guard on the varsity basketball team. He’s a pure athlete, but at 5-11, 160, he wants to up his weight, which is tough with his track schedule – doing the 100-meter, the 200-meter, the triple jump, the long jump and the 4x100-meter relay.
His best 100 time is a 10.8, his best in the 200 is 21.9, and he’s bounded 46 feet, four inches in the triple jump, while leaping 21 feet, 9 inches in the long jump.
Burns was an unusual camp attendee, in that he’s already snagged a plethora of major Power Five offers, including Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado State, Oregon State and Washington State. Most rising senior prospects with that offer list wouldn’t be going to camps to get more offers.
“I want to show the coaches that I can do it,” Burns says. “I go to a small school, but I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you ball out. I go to camps to show the coaches that I’m as good as I am on the field, in person, as I am on film, no matter what talent I’m playing against. I show them that I can move, that I carry myself well. It’s more work that I can get.”
Beyond proving himself, the possibility of that Cal offer – realized so soon after camp – was a hard prospect to turn down.
“It would be a good choice, because I know the academics are high, and that’s the most important thing,” Burns says. “When you step outside of football, you’ve got to step into the real world, settle down, start a business, get a job, and I know that degree is powerful.”