San Jose State’s new coaches realized they had some needs on offense this spring, and they may have found the answer in a “Swiss Army Knife” of a player right in their own back yard.
San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep athlete Jackson Burrill was on several colleges’ radar in his junior year, but despite a successful high school campaign he was left without an offer on National Signing Day. He stayed persistent, and remained in heavy talks with Utah, Oregon and San Jose State.
Burrill was stepping onto a plane to Oregon for an unofficial visit when he got the news he was waiting for.
“I was physically on the plane when I got the call from (San Jose State Head) Coach (Brent) Brennan that they were going to offer me,” Burrill said. “That was probably the highlight of my life.
“I worked so hard to get that. He’s awesome and I love what the San Jose State program is doing right now. The staff is bringing great energy and they’re really going to turn the program around. I’m just so happy they believe in me enough to give me a scholarship.”
Burrill took some time to consider the offer and watched one of the Spartans’ practices before eventually concluding that SJSU was the right place for him. Growing up in San Jose, he and his family have been Spartans fans and fondly remember the MacIntyre years not long ago. However, the top selling point, Burrill said, was the energy that the new coaching staff brings to the field.
“That was probably my No. 1 thing I saw at spring practice,” Burrill said. “They bring it. Coach Brennan does a great job of getting all the players hyped and all the other coaches hyped to get better. Everybody pushes each other. That’s how winners are made.
“Utah and Oregon have nice facilities, but that’s not why you go there. I think other recruits have to know that. You’re not going to a school for the facilities. You’re going for your best fit. I really think my best fit is at San Jose State.”
Burrill believes his most natural position is at fullback, and feels that is why he may have been overlooked by college - due to many colleges spreading the field without a lead blocker. Burrill also doubled as a linebacker, racking up 181 tackles in his senior year. The 6-foot-2 and 230-pound athlete has also timed at a 4.68 40-yard dash time. It is his football IQ that Burrill said that makes him stand out most, however.
Another reason Burrill cited SJSU as a good fit was the role they have ready for him.
“Right now, I’m kind of going in as a Swiss Army Knife,” Burrill said. “They said they have a few needs on the offensive side of the ball, so they’re putting me at a fullback or h-back, at tailback, at tight end and slot receiver."
All of his attributes are wrapped in a mindstate that has a chip on his shoulder.
Said Burrill, “I’m grateful for the Spartan coaches to believe in me enough to give me an offer and I’m going to prove to all the schools that didn’t offer me that they made a big mistake.”
Burrill plans to major in Business - Entrepreneurship.