Except, well, he can.
Because the defensive end still has 20 pounds to gain. Last week, USC doctors cleared Burks after having knee surgery in the fall. Since September, he's been doing a whole lot of watching and thinking and not as much 'doing.'
Until now. Now, he's eating. And eating some more. And he's getting those around him to support him in his eating efforts. Because Burks wants to put on the necessary weight by spring in order to be taken as a serious pass rusher and contender for a spot in the fall.
But it's nearly impossible to gain that much weight -- the healthy way -- in that kind of time frame. Burks, however, won't look at what he can't do. He's too positive for that. Instead, he'll just try to do what he can.
"I've never really been a guy that gains weight easily. I've always been the opposite actually. I lose weight like nothing. And it helped me back in high school when I used to wrestle but in football it always kind of hindered me. For me it's just making myself actually eat and timing it out," he said.
Nowadays, texts from his mom read "you have to eat right now" because Burks has to be reminded of this new lifestyle. You see, he's a happy go-lucky guy rom Costa Mesa (Calif.) Edison High and blew past athletes in high school. It was easy then to be at the top. In college, he's on the low end of the totem pole hoping to climb his way back up.
Little things like putting on weight and seeking advice from older teammates is quickly boosting Burks' confidence.
"I talked to like Christian [Tupou], or even Kevin Greene or Devon Kennard, guys that have been in the program I'll ask them if they can come watch film with me or if they can break something down for me on paper so I can understand it better," he said.
"They're really helpful and they've helped me a lot in the past couple of weeks."
Burks knows his strengths, and is keenly aware that his stats aren't one of them. His mentors are all taller: Tupou is listed at 6-2, Kennard at 6-3 and Greene at 6-4. Still, Burks is not one to be knocked down by averages.
"Whereas my height and my weight are sometimes a disadvantage when it comes to things like playing against the run, I make up for it when it comes to getting to the quarterback," Burks said. "Because of my quickness and I have better leverage than the bigger linemen."
"I can play the run though, don't get me wrong."
Getting him right, however, becomes another challenge altogether because Burks hasn't gotten on the field. But with USC's relatively thin defensive line, that opportunity could soon become a reality.
One in which he positively mutes any negatives.