Burns Still Working Hard After Commitment

Even though he already has verbally committed to sign with Pitt next year, Wilmington High School junior Derrick Burns still expected to attend as many combines and camps as possible before his senior season.

That way, Derrick Burns said, he can make sure he stays on top of his game and is not complacent. That would be the easy way out, but Burns has never done that before. That's why the New Wilmington, Pa. native decided to go with Pittsburgh, even though his big brother, Chris, will be a redshirt freshman tailback competing for a starting job this coming season.

"I don't mind it at all that Chris is at Pitt,'' Burns said. "It's always been that way, and it's been great. People wonder why I don't go out and make my own way, but I think I'm doing that. And they wouldn't have offered me a scholarship if they didn't think I could do it.

"I was concerned about how well I'd fit in at college, and I feel real comfortable at Pitt. It's always a good time when I visit, and I know most of the guys already from when I visit my brother. So, Pitt was perfect for me. When I go into the locker room after games, they treat me like I'm already one of the guys.''

Burns is a tailback and defensive back for Wilmington, but he eventually should settle in as a safety with the Panthers. And once Pitt offered him, he couldn't wait to commit.

"I'm real happy that Pitt offered me and I was able to commit early,'' Burns said. "Now, all I have to do is get ready for my senior year. I can just concentrate on playing football.''

Pitt running backs coach David Walker recruited Burns, and the two get along famously. The younger Burns said that Chris speaks highly of him. Derrick also had good things to say about Panthers head coach Dave Wannstedt.

"Coach Wannstedt's really personable, and I like him a lot,'' Burns said. "I can talk to him any time about anything. He's a great guy. It's another big reason why why I came here. (And) I think it's important for Chris to be here, because he can show me the ropes, just like in high school. I always looked up to him.

"And I know he won't steer me the wrong way. He's a good role model. There's a lot of good guys on this team, and I'm looking forward to getting in here next year. But it's still a good idea for me to come to these Combines, a chance for me to get better and see how I stack up to some other good players.''

Burns ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns and was in on more than 100 tackles from his secondary spot to help Wilmington capture the PIAA Class AA championship after consecutive runner-up efforts.

He is Pitt's only verbal commitment so far in the 2010 recruiting class.

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