RECRUITING: UT Sold on Kentucky QB

It's reasonable to question whether Tennessee needs a quarterback in the Class of 2006 with three scholarship signal callers expected to return, but there's little question that Justin Burke is an outstanding prospect.

That's the best explanation as to why the Vols have offered the Lexington Catholic QB a scholarship. Rated No. 6 in the nation at his position by, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound field general passed for over 2,600 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior with only four interceptions.

Three of those INTs came in the first half of the 2004 season opener, but Burke rebounded in the second half to lead Catholic to a come-from-behind 43-42 victory over Boyle County. He finished the contest with 13-of-31 passing for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, he ran the ball 11 times for 93 yards and three TDs.

Burke possesses a strong accurate arm that can stretch a secondary as well as 4.70 speed in the 40 to avoid a rush. During two seasons as a starter he completed 312-of-509 passes (61 percent) for 4,900 yards and 58 touchdowns with 11 picks. He gained 419 yards on the ground and scored seven touchdowns as a junior to earn all-state honors.

Although he has no shortage of offers he was surprised to get a scholarship offer from Tennessee in May.

"That surprised me," he told's Larry Vaught. "I've never seen their campus and didn't even know I was on their list."

In the last 60 days the Vols have made Burke's list of favorites along with Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina State, Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan. He has taken unofficial visits to an estimated 30 campuses to this point and expects to have a final five by the end of summer.

Academics will play a major factor for Burke who has a 4.0 GPA, but he will probably be less discriminating when it comes to offenses. Lexington Catholic head coach, Bob Sphire, believes he could fit into most any offensive system.

"I don't think there's any offense out there in America that he couldn't run successfully," Sphire said. "There are a few that would be more to his expertise than others though."

Tennessee's multiple attack that showcases a QB's ability to read defenses and make adjustments is an ideal system for Justin Burke and his drop-back skills.

The question: Is UT's depth chart to Burke's liking?

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