Burgess has worked hard to improve

Cardinal Authority is counting down the days until the University of Louisville football team starts the season on Sept. 5 against Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Classic at the Georgia Dome. It's 52 days before the game and here's a look at how linebacker James Burgess worked in the offseason and is now on three watch lists.

University of Louisville senior linebacker James Burgess has been named to three watch lists - marking his being in the running for a college football award - during this preseason.

Burgess is on the watch list for the Butkus Award, Lombardi Award and Nagurski Award.

But defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said he's not surprised and think Burgess could be one of the "best players" in the ACC this season on the defensive side of the ball. Burgess and Sheldon Rankins will represent U of L at ACC media day this weekend.

"Burgess is a playmaker," Grantham said. "But what he did is continue to work. He didn't rest on his laurels after what he did last year. He really went to work in the offseason.

"He worked so hard to improve his craft and he's doing a tremendous job."

The senior from Homestead, Fla., had 71 tackles each of the past two seasons for the Cardinals.

Burgess was third on the team in tackles as a junior, recording a career-best 11 in a loss at Clemson. He also had four sacks and a career-bets three interceptions.

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