The obvious question on Prescott Burgess is what position he will play in college. Against Massillon, he played at both safety and cornerback. At present, Burgess has the size of a big college safety, but still looked like he could easily hold more weight. He looked to be a legitimate 6-3, although his weight was more difficult to gauge. If he really weighs 215 pounds, he could easily play at around 230+ pounds at the next level without slowing down. However, don't jump to the conclusion that he'd be a linebacker at that weight.
Burgess (#4) lines up in man coverage
Burgess showed great speed, quickness, and athletic ability. Certainly enough to play safety in college. Michigan defensive back coach Tyrell Austin likes big safeties, so if Burgess were to choose the Wolverines, safety would certainly be a possibility. However, while Burgess could make a very good safety in college, he could be absolutely special as a linebacker. His speed at the linebacker position would be very rare. As a result, I don't think one can jump to a conclusion about what position he'll play in college. If he gains weight, the temptation to put him at linebacker may be too great.
Prescott (#4) lines up at safety
Against Massillon, Burgess was removed from the game several times. He is still recovering from injuries, which is likely the reason that he sat out. It is notable that two of Massillon's three touchdowns occurred while Burgess was out of the game. In addition to safety and cornerback, Burgess played tight end on offense. While he did well there, he'll be a defensive player at the next level.
But at this point, which defensive position he'll play at the college level has yet to be determined.
Prescott makes the pre-snap read
Burgess waits for the offense to line up
In Harding's first playoff game, as well as this one, there was talk about Burgess not making very many plays. It was clear in the semifinal game on Saturday that he didn't make as many plays as Shawn Crable. However, Prescott was coming off two significant injuries (shoulder and hand). That might explain why his game participation was limited. He played about two thirds of the defensive series, while playing tight end on offense. Keeping in mind that he is just getting back on the playing field in recent weeks, I recognized that he probably wasn't going to be able to play at the level of dominance that has been attributed to him by others. Noting that, I tempered my expectations.
What I did observe was that Prescott was every bit of 6-3.5, 210 pounds. He definitely resembles a DB more than a LB at this point. However, his frame looked like it could hold more weight. I also observed good speed and excellent strength. His speed was quite evident in coverage and special teams situations. One of the bigger knocks on Prescott had been questionable cover skills. However, Massillon didn't really pass much when he was in the game. When they did, Burgess did a good job of sticking with his man in bump and run, and maintaining his area when in zone. When playing man coverage, he overpowered the receivers on the line of scrimmage with his superior strength. Once they got off of the line, he was effective in staying with them. I was hoping to see him against Devin Jordan, but that task seemed to be designated for teammate Mike Phillips. The one time I saw the ball thrown in Prescott's direction, he broke it up.
Prescott flows to the play
Prescott's strength became more evident after watching him block from the TE position. He stuffed most of the players he faced. A couple of times he was asked to block Shawn Crable. Those were some extremely intense battles that neither wanted to lose. Each player had their moments and it was evident that both are super athletes.
Burgess and Crable prepare to face off
Burgess blocks Crable to the outside
One of the questions I've been asked is whom I would compare Burgess to. The safeties in the NFL that he most resembles, in my opinion, are Tebucky Jones and Darren Woodson. Prescott is a bit taller, and T-buck is a little faster, but both of these guys love to come up in run support. That said, Woodson (early in his career), may be the best comparison. Some of Darren's skills have diminished with age, so the current Darren Woodson isn't as good of a barometer as T-buck. But, the Woodson of his early years with the Cowboys is a dead ringer for Prescott.
Burgess on punt coverage
Prescott is clearly bigger than Darren Woodson. However, one of the distinguishing aspects of Woodson's game, in my opinion, was the fact that he always played the safety position like a linebacker (probably due to the fact that he was a LB in college). He's good versus the pass, but a game changer against the run. I think the same can and will be said about Prescott. Burgess definitely showed a penchant for sticking his nose in versus the run. Pro football fans should get a chance to see both T-buck (Patriots) and Darren Woodson (Cowboys) play on Thanksgiving Day. Watch both of these players in action and you'll get a good idea of what Prescott could potentially bring to a defense.
Burgess (far right) prepares to make the hit
Burgess stops the man on the goal line
Prescott's body type is definitely that of a safety at this point. His athletic ability and nose for hitting are tailor made for the strong safety position. That said, if he decides to add 15 pounds, he'd turn into an equally good linebacker. His defensive back experience, along with his love of hitting would combine to make him the prototypical weak side linebacker. Wherever he ends up, it seems certain that his impact will be felt very early in his career.
(Be sure to check out the pictures that we didn't use in this report in a photo gallery appearing in the next few days)
Scouting Report: Prescott Burgess
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