- Name: Amari Burney
- School: Calvary Christian HS
- Height: 6-foot-2, 215-pounds
- Rank: 4-star | Scout Rank: No. 150 | No. 8 Athlete
The Gators did not wait long to offer Burney and it ended up being one of their best decisions. The Scout 150 athlete picked up plenty of suitors over the years, including the likes of Auburn, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Ole Miss, Louisville, Michigan, and Miami, however, Burney always remembered the school that showed faith in the beginning. Florida's offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was his main recruiter from the start, however, UF made sure to include wide receiver coach Kerry Dixon and now defensive back coach Corey Bell in his recruitment as well. According to Burney this full court press made UF a top school.
Although Virginia Tech and Ohio State battled, especially with Burney's cousin playing in Blacksburg, it was the playmaker's relationship with the coaches throughout the years that made the Gators his choice.
"The coaches [are the reason why they are a finalist]," said Burney. "From when I was a sophomore, and I had two offers, they offered me right away. They said I can become be their guy."
"I thought he [Bell] was great. He coaches hard and that makes you a great player," said Burney after meeting Florida's new assistant during a junior day in March. "He pushes his player hard and always going to tell the truth."
"Burney is extremely lengthy with a great physical makeup for either side of the ball," said Scout Recruiting Analyst Corey Bender. "Burney flashes a nice burst when getting out of his backpedal, and breaks on the football with good anticipation as well. This is a type of kid that can turn an interception into six points in a hurry, so you have to like his playmaking and running ability when the football is in his hands. Burney shows no problem coming downhill with physicality, but must continue to work on his tackling technique and pad level moving forward."
"He's not the most quick-twitch athlete on the field, but he plays a patient and physical game while in coverage," added Recruiting Analyst John Garcia after he watched Burney at the Under Armour camp in Orlando this spring. "An understanding of angles and efficient paths paired with strong force near the point of contact to make plays on the football, Burney simply gets the job done within his responsibility."
Impact on Florida
Burney is a great addition to the Gators' 2018 class. First of all the Calvary Christian playmaker has great skill and talent at his position. Florida is recruiting him at both sides of the ball, but in my opinion he will probably develop more into a safety in the collegiate level, while also helping UF in the return game. However, I will not discount his ability at receiver. With Burney, a potential safety, joining CJ Smith in this class, I think the Gators will focus on cornerbacks moving forward.
Who is Next?
The Gators still have a few defensive backs and wide receivers on the board in this class.
At this time the Gators have two commits at this position with four-star safety Cajuan Smith and three-star cornerback Divaad Wilson both pledging to this class. Here are some of the top remaining defensive back targets for Jim McElwain and his staff.
At this time it does not look likely that five-star corner Patrick Surtain will be a Gators and that LSU is still the team to beat in his recruitment, however, Surtain has voiced a desire to learn more about the in-state program. In the same vein, UF still needs to do work with Tyson Campbell. Although Campbell has changed his stand in the last few weeks. In a recent interview with Scout, Campbell did mention an interest in visiting Gainesville when before a visit did not look likely. Bell and UF are working hard to switch momentum with the American Heritage standout - no doubt a top target among this group.
On the other hand, things are moving in the right direction with Tyreke Johnson. The Jacksonville native went from not visiting Florida's campus to becoming a frequent visitor to the Swamp this spring. UF linebackers coach and area recruiter, Tim Skipper, and Bell have done well making a mark with Johnson.
As above, Florida has two commits at the moment in this position group: three-star Corey Gammage and three-star Jalynn Williams. So who remains on the board?
Although there are more receivers on the board for Florida and available, these are the three that stand out at the moment. All three are showing a lean towards the Gators.