Gamecocks land Alabama sleeper
The 6'3", 185 pound Burns, who racked up 79 tackles and 1 interception as a safety in his senior season, talked about the series of events that led to him receiving a South Carolina offer and ultimately pledging his commitment to the Gamecocks on Monday night.
"I committed to South Carolina tonight," said Burns. "It's just been a real long process with South Carolina since the spring. Me and Coach (Ron) Cooper talk on a weekly basis, and I talked with Coach (Steve) Spurrier a couple times. I went down to the game last weekend, and Coach Cooper showed me what South Carolina's all about. He made me feel at home. It was basically about comfort and where I felt most wanted. He had been telling me for a long time that they were about 95% sure they were going to offer. Weeks went by and they never did it, but I went to the game last week and gave them my highlight tape and he watched it. Then he called me (on Monday night) and said they wanted to make it a 100% offer. When they did, it felt good, and I went on and committed. It's been in my mind for a long time that as soon as South Carolina offered, that was probably where I wanted to go. I just feel that that's the best place for me to be."
Burns' only other scholarship offer was from Louisiana Tech, but he was receiving strong interest from a number of other SEC and ACC schools.
"I was getting really strong interest from Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Southern Miss, Clemson and Kentucky. I think a few of them like Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Clemson are close to offering too, but I doubt I'll change my mind. I'm pretty firm in my commitment. It was a nice group of schools that were showing me a lot of interest, but South Carolina is the place for me."
The versatile athlete has played multiple positions on the high school level, but he specified what position/s South Carolina plans to utilize his talents at next fall.
"They' recruited me as an athlete, but I think they want me most as a safety. They've also talked about playing me at wideout because I play wideout too. They've also talked about trying me at corner. I'd be a very tall corner and I cover pretty good, but I think they really want me at safety," said Burns. "To be honest, I think I've played every position in high school except anything on the offensive or defensive line. I think I've played every other position. I finished out my senior year at safety. I have pretty good experience at the safety spot."
Although he's not blessed with blazing speed, Burns believes he has a lot to offer at the safety position.
"As a safety, I'm very long. I'm not the fastest. I think my fastest time was on a great day when I ran a 4.51. I think I'm very consistent running a 4.6. I'm not really all that fast, but I cover a lot of ground and I move well. I have very long strides. Then because I play receiver, I also have good hands. I know a lot of DB's don't have good hands, but I think I have the best hands on my team. I can catch just about anything that comes my way. If they throw it up, I can cover just about anybody. I can cover the fade and cover the corner route, anything. I also like to lay the big hits if anyone comes over the middle."
Another key factor in Burns' decision to commit to South Carolina was the fact that he is good friends with a couple of current Gamecock players that hail from the state of Alabama.
"I have two friends at South Carolina, Darian Stewart and Captain Munnerlyn. Me and Darian played high school ball together. He played with me my freshman and sophomore years. Me and him are real close. We went to elementary school, middle school and high school together. We're real close. Then me and Captain Munnerlyn, I've talked to him on the phone a couple times and I met him in person. Him and Darian are roommates, and when I went up to stay with Darian, me and him talked a lot. Those are the only two connections I have there, but me and Darian are real close. That was a big thing weighing in on my decision too, having him there."
Burns also feels extremely comfortable with his recruiter and future position coach at USC, Ron Cooper.
"Coach Cooper went to my high school. He's from this area, and he's down here a lot. I've been talking to him really since my sophomore year. I know what type of person he is and what type of coach he is. When I went up there last week, he showed me a lot of comfort and that he'd be there for me. He showed me that when my parents aren't there and I needed something, he could be that person. He said he'd do whatever he can to help me."
One of the biggest draws to South Carolina for any recruit is the ability to play under Coach Steve Spurrier, who is working to lead the Gamecocks to their first ever SEC Championship, and Burns believes big things are ahead for Spurrier and the USC program.
"I know that wherever Steve Spurrier goes, he's not going to take too many losses. He prepares his team the best. He's one of the best coaches in the nation to me, and I see South Carolina's program on the rise right now. They should be in the SEC Championship game to me this year, but they had a couple slips. I think in the next couple years they will definitely be in the SEC Championship. That's another big thing that weighed in on my decision."
Burns, who plans to take an official visit to South Carolina in January, believes that he has a good opportunity to earn early playing time as a freshman next season.
"Coach Cooper told me that I've got a good chance to play early. I've seen for myself that I'm bigger than all of their DB's, and I like to be real physical. I cover a lot of ground, and I don't give up the deep passes or anything. He just told me that if I come into practice and work hard and do what I'm told and show a lot of enthusiasm when I practice, which won't be a big deal at all, if I'm not starting my first year as a freshman that I will see enough time to play my first year. That was good for me to hear that."
Fresh off his commitment to USC, Burns closed by sharing an enthusiastic message for the Gamecock Nation.
"I'll be up there next year looking to make some big plays. I know Gamecock fans are very loyal as fans, and I'm looking forward to making more plays for them."
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