Interview by Eugene Hankerson
Story by Brice Marich
With the conclusion of the 2017 recruiting cycle right around the corner, many schools have taken a closer look at the next crop of talent in the country. A prospect that has grabbed the attention of several programs is Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic 2018 safety Amari Burney. The versatile Sunshine State phenom has been a playmaker at both receiver and safety, which has helped him rack up 18 offers in his recruitment.
However, Burney currently prefers to play on the defensive side of the ball and many of his suitors agree like Florida, Ohio State and Michigan. He recently went out to the Army Combine to display his game and show why he’s already very highly coveted.
“My expectations is high (competing at the Army Combine),” Burney told The Michigan Insider. “I mean I’m trying to let nobody catch a ball on me out there, so if they do, then it was luck.
“Overall game, I’m a hard hitter. Sometimes at combines, they put me at cornerback, so I got to guard the outside receiver and usually I guard the inside receiver, but it doesn’t make any difference. My technique is well and I come down hill hard. Sometimes I play receiver too, so I can learn what receivers do when I play defense.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Burney has also been busy in the recruiting process by visiting several programs and establishing early bonds with some of the coaches along the way.
“I’ve visited Florida and Ohio State,” said Burney. “I also visited South Florida, who has offered me. I think I’m going to Michigan this summer. Florida State has offered me as a safety and I visited up there one time too.”
“Ohio State and Florida (I have made good relationships with). I have a strong relationship with (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Greg) Schiano and for Florida, (Offensive Coordinator) Coach Nussmeier.”
Both the Buckeyes and Gators have made early impressions on Burney after his experiences to each campus and gives his thoughts on them.
“Just the coaches and players,” said Burney of Ohio State. “I see what they are doing with the defensive backs and all the picks they had this year, so they must be doing something right. The fans are loyal. They were playing and winning by 50 or something and the fans came out 104,000, so that is a lot for just a little game.”
“For Florida, every time I go up there, it just feels like home. Coach Nussmeier is a father figure. Over time I talk to him, I can play wide receiver or safety, but I was just told I will play safety.”
While Burney hasn’t made the trek up to Ann Arbor quite yet, he does see much success for the Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh and a program that he’s seriously considering.
“My coach had told me and I think they came in there and couldn’t talk to me, so they told my coach that they wanted to offer me,” said Burney. “I was very surprised and hyped up. It is Michigan, so that is a great offer for me. Michigan is headed in the right direction when they got Jim Harbaugh. He came in there and changed everything around. The way they use Jabrill Peppers too. I think they are headed in the right direction.”
Burney will next look to participate in the Under Armour All-American Combine