Last December four-star cornerback Artie Burns (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) made an early commitment. He picked Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. But a few short months later Burns backed off his Alabama pledge.
"At the time Alabama was the place I wanted to be to play football. I really wanted to be there," Burns said. "Then I decided I just wanted to open things back up to make sure."
Now this 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback prospect is sitting on 20 plus scholarship offers. Miami was the first program that actually offered Burns after the spring of his sophomore year. Alabama, LSU, USC, FSU, Louisville, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin are a handful of others that have followed suit. Flash to the present and Burns says he has a top five.
Well, sort of.
"My top five would be Miami, FSU, USC, Louisville, and LSU," Burns said. "Alabama is still up there too. I doubt I will visit any schools except for camps this summer. I want to camp at FSU, LSU and Alabama. As far as other visits I will wait and make my official visits this fall. Right now the plan is to wait until National Signing Day."
Burns is just the latest big time recruit from one of the Sunshine State's top high school football programs. He's watched first hand as a parade of Northwestern standouts before him roamed the halls and dominated the gridiron. Now he realizes that he has to hold up his end of the bargain.
"It's a long legacy, a proud legacy and something I take very seriously," Burns said. "It makes me work harder. It makes my teammates work harder. You get to the point where you just don't want to let anyone down."
That focus, drive and commitment has turned Burns into one of the most sought after defensive backs in the nation. The country's No. 18 ranked cornerback is also highly coveted because he's a big corner that can really run. In fact, Burns is a standout hurdler (110 and 300) and one of the very best in the nation.
"I play safety but just about everyone wants me at corner," Burns said. "I have very good speed and an eye for the ball. I am a bigger guy and a sure tackler that's always around the ball.
"Of course I want to play both sports in college. That's important to me. But I am just looking for a place where I can be comfortable. All the schools I like have a very strong tradition of defensive backs. I am not worried about playing time because that will take care of itself once I get to school and start working."