Gardena (Calif.) Serra athlete Brandon Burton is set to announce his college commitment Feb. 2. He has four schools that he is still considering: his childhood favorite USC and three other schools, UCLA, Florida State and Arizona, that have a similar trait.
“They all have one thing in common,” Burton said. “One thing that was very important to see is that they all have a level of loyalty. They always came after me hard and came after me steady. They didn’t back away from me at any time like that.”
USC’s recruitment of Burton was different. The Trojans were active recruiters of Burton as he made his name as an underclassman at Serra High, but the Steve Sarkisian staff was of the opinion that Burton had plateaued as a junior and didn’t have further room for growth. The Sarkisian staff slowly faded from the recruitment, only making the occasional contact.
But the Trojans’ new staff under Clay Helton has made Burton more of a priority. Other potential safety prospects, such as Elk Grove’s Lamar Jackson, seemed to have slid down USC’s target board while Burton and junior college safety Kyzir White have risen.
“I know it was at the discretion of the former coaching staff that they had. They backed away from me. But when [the new USC staff] came back, I had a discussion with Tee Martin. We had that discussion and saw eye to eye.”
The new USC coaching staff has told the 6-foot, 185-pound athlete they see him having the ability to make an immediate impact fitting into the Trojans’ defense under new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. USC has been trying to sell Burton on playing for defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford, who Burton said he really enjoyed meeting.
Burton said USC “speaks for itself in every possible way.” The No. 126 player in the 2016 Scout 300 has continued to talk with USC, but said he didn’t talk with them last week as he prepared for his official visit to rival UCLA this weekend.
“They offered me pretty much the same thing they’ve always offered me. I haven’t talked to them this week and the decision is coming up, so I’m just trying to make the best decision that I can.”
“I’m taking my visit to UCLA and then…after that I’m going to make a decision.”