Jersey RB/LB set for visit

A record-setting running back from North Jersey recently moved onto Rutgers' recruiting list and he is set to make an official visit the weekend of Jan. 29. He also has a few other visits lined up, and is getting interest from FBS schools like Northwestern and Temple. What is the latest on this player, and what are the chances he winds up at Rutgers?

Many players have scholarship offered and school decisions made before their senior seasons, but some recruits need their senior seasons to make favorable impressions.

Such is the case of Michael Burton, a running back and linebacker at West Morris High (Chester, N.J.).

After setting school records for rushing yards in a season and career while leading the Wolfpack to the North Jersey Group 3 state title, Burton is getting interest from Rutgers, Northwestern and Temple, and a handful of upper echelon Football Championship Subdivision schools.

Burton is scheduled to take an official visit to Rutgers the weekend of Jan. 29.

"(Rutgers) already guaranteed me a preferred walk-on spot where I would already be on the team,'' Burton said. "So that was good news. I will definitely consider something like that.''

So far, Burton said much of the talk between Rutgers and himself has centered on walking on, but he is hoping his official visit ends with a scholarship offer.

"I talk to Rutgers. They come to the school and we talk on the phone once a week,'' Burton said. "I know they're really interested. Whether they are going to give me an offer or not, I don't know right now.''

The Scarlet Knights are facing a scholarship crunch, and will sign well under the NCAA one-year class limit of 25 because they are approaching the NCAA maximum of 85 scholarship players in the program.

In the past Rutgers has come up with a few gems late in the recruiting process on the defensive side of the ball, most notably safety Ron Girault and linebacker Steve Beauharnais.

The Scarlet Knights are recruiting him as a fullback, as is Northwestern.

He rushed for a school-record 1,769 yards on 200 carries and set a school mark with 2,376 all-purpose yards. He finished his career with a school record 3,372 rushing yards while running out of the wing-T.

Burton said Northwestern has not offered him a visit yet, and his schedule is full. He visited Monmouth in December, will visit Maine this weekend and will make an official visit to either Lehigh or Lafayette the weekend of Jan. 22.

Burton said Albany has also offered him a scholarship if he visits, New Hampshire has been by the school to see him and Temple is evaluating him.

He is holding offer from Monmouth and Maine, and academic scholarships are possible from Lehigh and Lafayette.

But if Rutgers does not offer, are Burton and his family willing to give up a free education to a walk-on to his state school?

"I talked it over with my parents and coach,'' Burton said. "We haven't really talked thoroughly about it. (Rutgers) told me they wanted me to come up for an official visit where we will talk about the situation. That's when I'll know more.''

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