Coach's Corner: Devonta Burns

In this edition of "Coach's Corner", Arlington Martin head coach Bob Wager gives an inside look at Devonta Burns skills on the grid iron and previews what kind of player Mike Sherman will be getting in 2011. You don't want to miss this exclusive interview which also gives some rare insight on Coach McMillian and his recruiting abilities.

What kind of Player is Texas A&M getting with Devonta?

"First of all, I'm just ecstatic for him. It's fantastic for him and his family and certainly we are excited as a program to have an Aggie on our hands. Devonta is 6 foot tall, 200 pounds, he runs a 4.4-forty, and he will hit you -- terrific special teams' player as well as a safety. He plays very well in space, good kickoff cover guy, he is a good punt cover guy, and a pretty good kick returner as well. So, you have a very rangy player in that regard. He is an extremely hard worker and loves the game of football."

Is there a memorable play Devonta has made that stands out in your mind? "What we try to do from a recruiting standpoint is at the end of the season, we have all of our players who have aspirations to play college football come in and go through all of their games and they pick their top 30-40 plays throughout the year. Then, our position coaches come in and cut it down to 12-15 plays for each player. Devonta was the toughest for our coaches to cut it down to that many plays. He does so many things well. You want to show him doing a wide range of things. You want to show him in coverage, you want to show him as a blitzer, you want to show him as a good open-field tackler, all of those things. I don't know if there is one play that stands out because there were so many good ones."

What are his strengths as a player?

"Physical, tough, great speed, and he is a disruptive defensive player. He is an unselfish player. In this day and age that is pretty rare. He is a guy that if I said, ‘Hey Devonta, we are getting ready to go out and game plan against whomever and you're going to be the kickoff guy this week' (laughing). He would say ‘ok coach whatever I can do to help the team.' I don't think you can have enough guys on your team like that."

If you had to critique his abilities and give him some advice to become a better play at the next level what would it be?

"Probably to expand his role as a player. He spent most of his time around on or around the line of scrimmage. Like I said, he is such a good blitzer, he such a disruptive player. Unlike college football, in high school football you have play with the kids that you've got. So, it was difficult for us to take him away from the line of scrimmage. At this level of football, you have to stop the run first and he was heavily involved as a run-stopper. I think if he has an area that we would hope to grow and improve upon it would be playing as a high safety. He spent so much time at or around the line of scrimmage that I don't know if it's necessarily a weakness just more of the fact that he hasn't spent that much time as a high safety.

Describe his recruitment and the relationship between him and Coach McMillian:

"Chuck McMillian is a fantastic recruiter as I am sure you have already figured out. Chuck was actually up here last fall going through a Friday walk-through before a game. He came in my office and commented to me afterward how impressed he was with the focus of our players during that 3:30 walk-through. He was at the game, of course. This game in particular was against Arlington High with the two Joeckel brothers. The game was actually a live radio broadcast and Devonta was the MVP of that particular game. I saw Chuck and he knew then that was a guy that could play ball. I don't know if he watched any film at all, but just from his presence and the performance he [Devonta] had in that one game, Chuck knew that was somebody they were going to take a hard look at. Chuck is a guy that relates to kids. He is relentless in his pursuit and he has an established rapport with coaches and that translates to kids.

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