Burton Seeks Stable Contender

Clay Burton, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound three-star defensive end/linebacker from Venice Senior High School in Venice, Fla., will be graduating in December and hopes to have his decision made sometime during his season.

DE Clay Burton Profile

"I'd definitely like to take a couple early official visits before I commit," Burton said. "I want to get a good education and get my degree for life after football.

"I'm also looking for a program with coaching stability," he said. "I really don't want to go through a coach change while I'm there, so I'm definitely going to be looking at that.

"Finally, I want to play for a contender," he said. "If not the national championship, then at least competing for its conference or division. I want to play for a winner."

Burton, ranked as the No. 42 defensive end in the country by Scout.com, now favors Clemson, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame solidly over LSU and Tennessee. All of his favorites have offered as well as South Florida, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Purdue, Boston College, Duke, West Virginia, Florida International, Ole Miss and a few others (18 total).

He has already attended junior days at Clemson and Georgia Tech.

"Clemson was my first offer (last September)," he said. "And I have a real good relationship with the coaches. They are all very genuine and caring and we just mesh.

"I also like their style of play," he said. "Clemson is in a good area and is a good school overall."

Burton says he has some family in the Atlanta area, which is a plus for Georgia Tech.

"They have great academics," he said. "They've been recruiting me real hard recently too. I really like Atlanta a lot. It's a nice city."

Although he hasn't visited Notre Dame yet, he's planning a trip to South Bend in June.

"I love their prestige," he said about the Irish. "It seems like a program on its way up."

Burton says he's a fan of new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

"Coach Kelly is great," he said. "I can see him leading them back to the top. They have great tradition and will be back."

He doesn't plan on attending any camps this summer and says he'll likely save visiting LSU and Tennessee for the fall.

"I'll try and visit them officially," he said. "I haven't been to either yet, but those are both good programs.

"LSU is consistently good," he said. "They are always a solid program. And the new coaches at Tennessee seem like good guys. They've already been to my school to see me."

Burton says he enjoyed following USC when he was younger.

"I was a fan of Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart and that team they had," he said. "They were just so dominant and it seemed like everyone went to the NFL."

Burton finished his junior season with 80 tackles and 13 sacks.

"I've got a good combo of speed and power off the edge," he said. "My motor doesn't stop and I'm very intense on the field."

He says he can bench 350-pounds, squat 420 and has a 28-inch vertical jump.

Burton plans to graduate in December and reports a 3.8 core GPA. He is scheduled to take the SAT for the first time in June.

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