OL Offer Goes Out to Burton

The Florida Gators have got to improve play along the offensive line and one of the biggest things they need to do is add depth. Injuries to starters and backups have the Gators playing hurt and even more ineffective than they would be and so Florida is now looking into possibly signing in the Junior College ranks. Two weeks ago, City College of San Francisco tackle Pierce Burton got the call.

Pierce Burton signed with San Jose State out of high school in Sacramento (CA) after having grown up on the basketball court and playing only one season of high school football. Two years later, Burton will graduate from City College of San Francisco this December and has a number of offers around the country.

Burton talked a little about his journey to this point. He started college at San Jose State, but decided it was best for him to check out of there and into CCSF so he can go wherever he wanted when he was done with there.

"We got a new coaching staff and I felt it was just time to leave," Burton told FightinGators.com Wednesday night. In high school I was mainly a basketball player. When I graduated I was only 235, now I have gained 60 pounds and have become more of a prototypical lineman."

While in college he has improved dramatically in certain areas of his game.

"I have improved my pass blocking and hand placement the most since I have been in college along with keeping my head out of blocks," he said. "I used to kind of lead with my head."

Now he has offers from the likes of Fresno State, Indiana, Kentucky, SMU, UTEP, West Virginia, Arkansas State, and New Mexico State. "I think every school that has called me has offered me the first time they talked to me," he said.

Florida recently offered. The Gators need linemen in the worst way and Burton sees an opportunity to play at a big time school.

"It happened about a week and a half ago," Burton said of the offer from Florida. "They said they really liked me and would like me to come in and compete for a starting job at left or right tackle. I haven't set up (a visit) yet, but it is definitely one of the schools I want to visit. I am a mid-year guy so I would be attending whatever school I sign with in the spring."

It appears that line coach Frank Verducci is the guy that has been all over him and as the offensive line coach really wants him. But defensive line coach Bryant Young already has a relationship with Burton.

"I have been mainly talking to Coach Verducci and have spoken to coach Muschamp as well," he said. "They like my toughness on the field, my athleticism, and think I am pretty athletic for a tackle.

"When I was at San Jose State, Coach Bryant Young was the defensive line coach there and he knows me. They told me that he spoke very highly of me."

Burton has high praise for Florida's assistant defensive line coach.

"I like Coach Young," he said. "He is a no-nonsense kind of guy and expects the most out of his players. For a while I was on the scout team at San Jose and I got to go against his guys and he coaches them real hard. A future Hall of Famer, he has a lot he can teach to defensive linemen and offensive linemen. I learned a lot from him about what defensive linemen might do to offensive linemen."

As far as Florida goes, there is a lot to be desired if he were to choose the Gators.

"As far as school prestige and academics, I don't think you can do any better than Florida," he said. "They are ranked top 25 in football and academics pretty much every year."

He also likes the prospects of playing against the best competition in college football, the Southeastern Conference.

"I think it would be great," he said. "You have to play the best to be the best and that is obviously what I am striving for. The SEC is obviously one of the best, if not the best conference."

Burton is a mid-term enrollee as he will graduate in December. He hasn't made any official visits yet, and he doesn't have a lot of time to take them.

"I am taking one to West Virginia this weekend," he said. "That will be my first one. I am talking to coaches heavily about other visits.

"I have an idea about when I will visit Florida. I am going to figure that out this week and next week. We are actually in the Nor-Cal Championship and ranked number one in the country. If we win that game we go to the state championship. Now, if we lose, I will have another full weekend where I can do something."

Finally, he has no leaders at this point. Without much time, putting an order to the schools will come after he gets to see them.

"I don't want to put any one school ahead of the others," he said. "I would like to evaluate each program and coaching staff."

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