Rutgers Visits Fla. MLB with School Ties

Homestead (Fla.) Senior High linebacker James Burgess has a cousin who was an all-American at Rutgers, and Scarlet Knights assistant coach Chris Hewitt paid a visit to the school this week. Burgess, who previously listed a top three, said he is re-assessing his recruitment, and he talked about how Rutgers factors in.

Homestead (Fla.) Senior High middle linebacker James Burgess thought he had a top three, but that changed in the last week when a number of schools came through to watch him workout and practice.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Burgess is getting plenty of interest from a number of new schools, including Rutgers, North Carolina, Ole Miss and West Virginia.

"Now, I have to reconsider because I have some top schools involved," Burgess said. "It's back to square one."

Of the new quartet of schools, Rutgers ranks third on the list when it comes to familiarity for Burgess. However, he has instant inside access because of his relationship with former Scarlet Knights all-American defensive tackle Eric Foster.

"Rutgers, I didn't grow up around them but I had a cousin play for them," Burgess said. "He's in the NFL, so whenever he comes back I talk to him.

"I knew West Virginia for always having great skill players. Ole Miss, I don't know much about. I know for North Carolina, it's a great academic school. They're always in bowl games, and (coach) Butch Davis was a coach at Miami when my dad (James) was there."

The Scarlet Knights' interest was accentuated when running backs coach Chris Hewitt, who recruits Florida, stopped by the school earlier this week.

Burgess previously told Alabama, South Florida and Louisville were his top three, and while he still likes those schools, he is reassessing his situation.

"I'm waiting and being patient to see who else comes," Burgess said. "I got my test scores back, and that's going to help me. I got a 23 on my ACT."

As a junior, Burgess made 132 tackles and had one forced fumbled from his middle linebacker position, which is where he wants to stay.

"It's the center of attention," he said. "It's the quarterback of the defense. It's mano-a-mano, the best many winning. I've been playing there since I was a kid."

However, one program that doesn't figure to factor into Burgess' recruitment is Miami.

"Every time I make the newspaper, any time there is an article, everyone always compares me to my dad," Burgess said. "Me going to UM, it would be me following in the footsteps of my dad. I'm ready to make my own footsteps."

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