Two-Deep Analysis: FB Michael Burton

With spring camp over, ScarletReport.com is ready to look ahead to training camp with an in-depth, daily look at the depth chart. Going player by player, we break down the key players of training camp with an in-depth look today at fullback Michael Burton.

Michael Burton best demonstrated his value at fullback by giving Rutgers a look at what it was like without him after a season-ending injury. A walk-on out of West Morris Central (N.J.), Burton emerged as one of the walk-on turned starter stories out of Rutgers and was in for a big season before his leg injury.

Now fighting fit with a full spring camp under his belt, Burton's role in the Rutgers offense is expanding and he projects as a key cog in the transformed scheme.

Spring Performance Burton was steady as ever at fullback, but emerged as one of the biggest surprises of spring with the way he handled carries out of the running back position. Rutgers had serious depth issues at the position during camp, which allowed Burton to showcase his skills. He ran the ball efficiently and consistently at halfback to the point where head coach Kyle Flood said he will get a deeper look there this summer and could fill multiple roles for Ron Prince's offense in the 2013 season.

Expected 2013 Role -- Burton is a fullback first and the most complete option Rutgers has had at the position since Brian Leonard. Depending on the development of other backs in the program, Burton could very well see an expanded role with the ball in his hands. Jumbo sets with Burton at tailback are a definite possibility and with health concerns for tailbacks Paul James and Dontea Ayres, time can be won behind Savon Huggins.

Scouting Report -- Burton brings an old school mentality to fullback. He bangs heads with the best of them and is an underrated run blocker. When Burton went down with injury, the Rutgers run game suffered significantly without him. Burton is best utilized as a lead blocker in I-formation packages, but can also pick up blitzes and be used as a receiving threat when put in motion. He is athletic enough to explode on blocks and stick with linebackers for the duration of running plays. Burton has the athleticism to excel, but can improve his agility and quickness.

A former 1,000-yard rusher for West Morris, Burton can be used as a short-yardage running back. He is faster off the edge than some other options on the roster and has never shown signs of ball security issues in practice or in games. Burton did not show signs of sluggishness after missing the second half of the season.

The Bottom Line -- Burton's career statistics – 25 touches for 93 yards – do not come close to displaying his value to the Rutgers running game. In the four games Burton played in 2012, Jawan Jamison ran for 491 of his 1,075 total yards.


Scarlet Report Top Stories