Burgess switches commitment to Louisville

James Burgess kicked off a potential recruiting bonanza for Charlie Strong's Louisville program Tuesday night at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl game in Phoenix, Arizona, switching his commitment to Louisville from Miami.

James Burgess kicked off a potential recruiting bonanza for Charlie Strong's Louisville program Tuesday night at the Semper Fidelis All-American game in Phoenix, Arizona.

As Louisville awaits decisions from four-star linebackers Nick Dawson and Keith Brown this Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio, Burgess, a three-star linebacker from Homestead, Fla., chose the Cardinals over Miami.

A former Miami commit and legacy recruit – Burgess' father played for the Hurricanes - Burgess made an official visit to Louisville in December with high school teammates Herbert Waters and Pedro Sibiea. Sibiea, a 6'3, 275-pound defensive lineman, has also committed to Louisville.

"I love that Louisville is an up and coming program," Burgess told Scout.com's Inna Lazarev. "They played a lot of freshmen this season. It's a team on the rise. All the coaches at Louisville are cool. Coach (Clint) Hurtt knows my dad and they go way back. So there's a bond."

Rated the No. 17 overall prospect in Dade County by SunStateFootball.com, Burgess missed most of his senior year with a broken hand. As a junior, Burgess, ranked the No. 91 outside linebacker in the nation, made 132 tackles, intercepted a pass and caused a fumble.

James Burgess kicks off a possible recruiting windfall for Louisville.
Though he missed most of his senior season, Burgess' talent isn't in question. Despite being somewhat undersized, the 6'0, 200 pound Burgess, who runs a 4.55 forty, impressed scouts this week at the Semper Fi bowl game with his explosiveness.

Jake Worthen, a Scout.com recruiting analyst, proclaimed Burgess one of the Top 5 defensive performers during Semper Fi practice sessions. During one practice, Burgess made an interception, prompting Scout.com's Allen Trieu to call him, "very aggressive and explosive."

"The best word to describe Burgess is active. He can really run for a linebacker and had some of the Scout team wondering if he could play in the secondary," Worthen said. "Burgess had his best moment during the team session when he took an errant pass back for a touchdown."

Burgess' announcement after the nationally televised high school game is a major boost for Strong's ascending program – a program that won a share of the Big East championship.

The Cardinals landed a commitment from Gerod Holliman during last year's U.S. Army All-American game, and could receive more good news this weekend from Dawson and Brown, who will announce their decisions in San Antonio. Dawson will choose between Louisville, NC State and Clemson, while Brown has narrowed his options to Louisville, Miami and Illinois.

"Burgess' announcement is a big deal for Louisville," Scout.com's Jason Higdon said of Burgess' announcement.

In choosing Louisville, Burgess becomes the latest player to de-commit from the Hurricanes to play for the Cardinals. Last year, Charlie Strong's staff, particularly recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt, took advantage of a coaching change at Miami after Randy Shannon was replaced by Al Golden to snatch Teddy Bridgewater, Eli Rogers and B.J. Dubose from the Canes.

More good news for Louisville is that Burgess will enroll early. Burgess, who has already graduated from high school, begins school at Louisville this month and will be able to participate in winter conditioning and spring practice for the Cards.

"I start college the week after I leave here (Semper Fi bowl)," Burgess said.

Burgess is Louisville's 19th public commitment. He is the sixth player from the state of Florida in the Cardinals 2012 recruiting class.

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