Burch is recovering

Most that follow high school football closely in the Bayou State are familiar with Robert Lane, who was widely considered the state's No. 1 prospect for the Class of 2003. It's been several years since Lane graduated from Neville, but head coach Mickey McCarty has another signal caller that will likely be his most heralded recruit since Lane signed with Ole Miss in 2010 prospect Taylor Burch.

Burch, a 6-2, 205-pounder with 4.7 speed, had high expectations heading into his junior campaign after the productive summer he had that included several camp stops.


One of the camps that Burch attended was at LSU back in July and his performance made a strong impression on the LSU coaches.


Burch returned to Monroe with the hopes of leading the Tigers deep into the playoffs during his junior season and he was on track to do so as Neville sat at 6-2 heading into the ninth week of the season.


It was during the fourth quarter of Neville’s matchup with Shreveport-Byrd when Burch’s season took a turn for the worse and ended abruptly with an ACL tear in his knee.


Prior to the injury, Burch completed 89-of-177 passes for 1,315 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.


Now, the focus for Burch is on getting the knee back to full strength and continuing to develop his skills not only on the gridiron, but also on the baseball and soccer fields.


“He’s about three weeks out from his surgery and surgery went real well,” McCarty said. “Dr. [Sol] Graves [former LSU quarterback] did the surgery and he was very pleased with it.


“Taylor’s started his rehab and he said things have gone well and that he’s right on target where his rehab is at. Taylor’s an all-district outfielder and an outstanding soccer player too, and the target is to hopefully be able to get him back at the end of baseball season.”


Burch’s stats may not jump off the page and scream major college quarterback, but don’t let them fool you. In fact, McCarty feels that his quarterback would have been more productive had he brought him along a little more slowly and if he had a few more playmakers on the outside.

Taylor Burch of Neville High School is one of Louisiana's top quarterbacks for the Class of 2010

“I think throughout the year, as a coaching staff, we tried to figure out the things he did well and tried to really target those things as far as game plans go,” McCarty said. “I thought early in the year, I was asking him to maybe do a little too much and as we backed off of him some he got more comfortable and really played well for us. I can put a lot of things on his plate, but I have to remember that he’s a high school kid.”


“Our deal here is we didn’t have the receiving corps that a lot of folks are playing with and that hurt a little,” added McCarty. “But, I thought with what we had he did a good job and I’m looking forward to seeing how far he goes.”


What Burch’s stats don’t show are the skills that he possesses that make him a prospect for the next level according to McCarty.


“He has good feet and good throwing mechanics and a very strong arm,” he said. “He made some great throws for us and he ran the offense really well. He understands things that are very coachable and he soaks in everything that you tell him. He runs pretty well too and ran for 146 yards on 23 carries, and of course he lost a lot of yards because of sacks.”


Sometimes it’s unfair to compare players from different eras because often time numbers and measurables don’t paint a true picture. But Burch has some qualities that McCarty hasn’t seen in several years.


“Taylor has the most presence of a pocket passer since Robert came through here,” McCarty said. “He’ll stand back there tall and see the field and make the throws down the field for you. He and Robert both ran real well and they’re both about the same size as Robert was at this time. Robert was a little more polished at this point, but when you grow up with a dad as a coach then you’re going to be pretty polished.”


Once Burch gets back to throwing passes, which will hopefully be in time for spring football, McCarty said that his young gun slinger will work on the things that he needs to work on such as his accuracy and honing his leadership skills.


Once he improves in those areas then Burch’s stock should rise, but college coaches are already well aware of his potential.


“He’s got a lot of folks watching him like LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas and a bunch more,” said McCarty. “He gets a ton of mail, but they’re all kind of just watching him to see how he develops and are anxious to see how he comes back from the knee injury.”


McCarty said that recruiting will come into play a little more when Burch makes his return to the gridiron and they see how the knee responds. Until then, there will not be a lot of talk about favorites, but McCarty knows that one school holds a special place in Burch’s heart.


“Growing up, if you would have asked if he had a dream of where to play he would probably tell you Tiger Stadium,” said McCarty. “Then you get into high school and you get the recruiting process where a lot more people show you some attention then you kind of open up a little more. Certainly, though, I think LSU is high on his list.”

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