Coach: Burris Makes Plays

Raleigh (NC) Broughton High School head coach Chris Martin believes his star player, Juston Burris, is the total package when it comes to being a student-athlete.

Raleigh (NC) Broughton High School head coach Chris Martin believes his star player, Juston Burris, is the total package when it comes to being a student-athlete.

"I think there are no problems with Juston," said coach Martin. "He has a lot of physical tools athletically, including a great first step, and academically there are no problems at all with him being strong in the classroom.

"He's a great kid. He is a yes-sir, no-sir kid and does a great job in the classroom and on the field. He's a quiet kid who gets the job done. Juston does what we ask him to do and sometimes he does even more."

Last season Burris starred at safety for Broughton, and his head coach is counting on him to lead the defense again this fall. In 2009 he finished up with 86 tackles, two interceptions, and had two kick returns for touchdowns en route to all-conference honors, and look for him to potentially impact on offense as well.

"We're trying to get him to the point where he can be the quarterback on the defense," said coach Martin. "Hopefully he'll mature and take charge out there this year... just take care of business.

"Last year he didn't play as much wide receiver as we wanted him to. He had a high ankle sprain from a basketball camp, so he didn't get into the shape we need him to be in so he could play a lot on both sides of the ball. Hopefully that won't happen this year and we'll see a lot more of him on both sides of the ball because he can make plays with the ball in his hands."

What makes Burris a special talent at defensive back?

"He's explosive," said coach Martin. "He has quick hips and very good explosiveness. He drives through guys when he hits them... once he realizes what he needs to do as far as coverages he will be an even better player.

"At safety he can come up real well and fill the hole. With his strength, once he gets a hold of you you're going down. He comes in so fast, takes great angles, and is a very good tackler. It's quick for running backs... I don't think they realize he's coming so quick ,and that helps out. Ball-skill wise, if we could have had him on offense you would have seen his ability to make plays even more. You saw some stuff in the return game, but I think his best is still to come."

Burris landed offers from Maryland and NC State before committing to the Wolfpack. NC State's first verbal commitment in the 2011 class, Burris was receiving interest from programs such as Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, and Wake Forest before selecting his hometown school.

NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer recruits Broughton athletes for the Wolfpack.

"Our relationship with NC State and coach Archer is very good," said coach Martin. "We've been over there a few times with some of our guys. Before Juston committed, we went over there with him and our sophomore linebacker, and coach Archer did a great job of walking us around and showing us the facilities.

"They did a great job on that, and we stayed in contact with each other. They liked his film a lot, extended the scholarship offer, and Juston accepted."

It didn't take long for coach Martin to receive back positive feedback after sending out the highlight tape he created of Burris. He believes the film and physical upside that Burris has is what appealed to college coaches.

"The coaches like how he comes up and fills a hole... makes plays," said coach Martin. "With his highlights, a lot of times he's not in the picture and then all of a sudden he's making the play. That shows you how quick he is once he makes his decisions, and he's got an explosive first step. He also has great natural instincts for the game.

"Justin is probably 180 pounds right now, and I think he can hold 205 pounds easily on his frame. Once he gets to that next level his body will mature even more. He hasn't been pushed as much in high school, and we are trying to get him to understand that when he gets to that next level all of the guys can play and are in great shape. We want to get him in great shape for the next level... don't worry about this level so when you get to the next level you're ready."

Although he's mainly played safety for Broughton it isn't a guarantee that Burris will play that position for the Wolfpack. His head coach believes he could possibly end up at corner or even play wide receiver once he heads to college.

"I think he'll be a safety, but if they see his athletic ability they might want to put him at receiver," coach Martin stated. "He can play there too. We put kids in positions where they are successful for us, but that doesn't mean they can't be better somewhere else on the next level.

"He went to one of the combines and did a lot of one-on-ones and he said it was tough at first because they don't put them at safety, they put all the defensive backs at cornerback. He wasn't used to it. As a safety you're used to coming downhill, but after he did that he came back and said he wanted to play some corner."

"He liked that a lot but it took him some time to adjust to it," coach Martin added. "I think you might seen him line up for us at any of four spots back there on defense. He can play sideline-to-sideline so it's nice having him anywhere in the secondary."

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