Fla. DE discusses Rutgers offer

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end from South Florida added a written offer from Rutgers to his resume this week. He also carries offers from Clemson, Stanford, Purdue and FIU, and more could be on the way. Find out what he had to say about the Scarlet Knights, and what will be the focus of his recruitment as the process continues.

The maturity level already seems in place for Venice (Fla.) Senior High defensive end Clay Burton, and now the offers are starting to trickle in for the talented class of 2011 player.

Burton received his written offer from Rutgers a few days ago, adding to the ones from Clemson, Stanford, Purdue and Florida International.

When it comes down to a college decision, don't expect Burton to look solely at the football side.

"I take academics pretty seriously,'' said Burton, who is 6-foot-5, 235 pounds. "It's the most important thing. If I commit somewhere and anything happens with injuries, and if I can't play football, I have to do something.

"That's really the whole thing about it, get a free education and set yourself up to succeed as a man and support your family. My main goal is the NFL, but if that doesn't work out, it's smart to get a free top-of-the-line education. That's going to factor into a school I choose.''

Burton's knowledge of Rutgers, to this point, is limited to the basics.

"It's in the Big East, and I know they've been recruiting Venice High School a lot,'' he said. "And I know Ray Rice went there.''

There are family bloodlines with Purdue. His grandfather is Lawrence Burton, who played for the Boilermakers and was an Olympic sprinter for the U.S. National Team.

But that appears to be nothing more than an interesting factoid when it comes to Clay Burto's recruitment.

"It is a cool thing, but I'm not going to base (the decision) on it,'' Burton said. "The decision is about me, and not anybody else.''

Burton, who doubles as a tight end, helped the Indians to a 9-2 mark last season.

"I developed a good motor,'' he said. "I have a pretty good first step off the edge and I always figure out how to stop the run, and I have a mean streak, and always give an effort and don't stop until the whistle blows.

"I kind of take it as disrespect if the offense is trying to score on me. It's kind of like the Hulk, and it just clicks and I start messing people up.''

However, off the field Burton's demeanor is cordial, and his answers are thoughtful.

His stated goal is to play in the NFL, but if that doesn't work out he knows having options are vital.

"My plan,'' he said, "is to major in education and come back to Venice High School, or any high school, and be a teacher and coach football. Just try to help the community.''

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