UNC in Fla. LB's Top Five

Desiring to blaze his own trail instead of following in his father's footsteps to Miami, James Burgess, Jr., a 6-foot, 196-pound linebacker from Homestead (Fla.), is intrigued by playing for the person who coached his father, Butch Davis.

"Every time I make the newspaper, I'm compared to my dad," Burgess said. "I want to do my own thing."

James Burgess, Sr. lettered four seasons for Miami (1993-96). Davis was hired as Miami's head coach prior to the 1995 season and remained there until he left for the Cleveland Browns following the 2000 season.

"My father said [Davis] is a really good guy," Burgess said. "If I went there, my father and I would have something in common that we could talk about."

Although he has offered recruiting advice, Burgess' father hasn't pushed him towards any school, including his alma mater.

"My father, he doesn't really talk about specific colleges," Burgess said. "He wants me to choose on my own and see wherever fits me best."

Assisted by the family connection, Burgess' interest level in UNC is "very high."

"It's a very good team," Burgess said. "Everybody loves that [Carolina] Blue. They always have great defenses – they always are a great team, actually. They never really have a real down season. I like their winning tradition."

Burgess lists UNC among his top five favorite schools, along with Alabama, Louisville, Oregon, and South Florida.

"[I like those five schools, because of] the contact with the coaches," Burgess said. "I've talked to the USF coach, I've talked to the Louisville coach, I've talked to the UNC coach and they seem like cool people, I've talked to the Alabama coach. And I just love Oregon, they made it to the national championship, have a really good program, and their uniforms are top notch."

Recently, though, Burgess' communication with coaches has been limited.

"I haven't been calling any coaches lately," Burgess said. "I have their card and all, but I'm so busy with spring practice and keeping up with these grades – I'm trying to graduate early – so I've been so busy and haven't called any college coaches lately."

With the exception of Oregon, Burgess has been verbally offered a scholarship by each of his top five schools, as well as approximately ten others, including Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and West Virginia.

UNC offered Burgess earlier in the spring.

"I remember it was the first week of spring practice," Burgess said. "I had just got my test scores back that day. According to my coach, the [UNC] coach said ‘This guy is good right now [academically]. When the time comes, we're going to offer him.'"

Burgess, who has only visited Florida and Miami, plans on camping at Florida State and South Florida this summer.

"I'll probably make more visits," Burgess said. "I have to talk to my coach more about my summer plans."

Burgess will take all five of his official visits and then make his collegiate decision after the football season in time to enroll at his chosen school in January.

"It starts off with academics," Burgess said. "I want to major in sports administration or sports medicine, because I love sports and I always want to be involved in sports.

"The history [is important]. I want a winning tradition – I don't want a team that's on the decline or anything, but always has a winning record.

"I want a family atmosphere – like the way they treat their players, the why the players look out for one another, and family bond. And I want to be able to come back to my school and receive a welcome home as a team member and not an outsider.

"I don't want somebody to tell me I'm going to red-shirt my freshmen year, because I'm too much of a football freak to sit there and not play. I want to at least have a fair chance [to play]."

As a junior, Burgess recorded 132 tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interceptions for Homestead.

James Burgess Profile

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