Commitment Date: 6/13/15
Commitment in the Class: Eighth
Accolades: Rated the No.1 outside linebacker in Indiana, No.6 in the Midwest and No.29 in the country … named a Semper Fi All-American his senior season … named to Indiana Football Coaches Association Top-50 All-State team as a junior and senior ... first-team all-state by Associated Press as a senior, logging 89 tackles, 14 TFLs, 6 sacks and 3 interceptions ... also earned honorable all-state honorable mention from AP as a junior, recording 120 tackles, 18 TFLs, 4 sacks and 4 forced fumbles ... two-time first-team All-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference ... two-time team MVP ... team captain as a senior ... finished career with 259 tackles, 36 TFLs, 13 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 4 interceptions ... also lettered in baseball and track and field ... father, Jeff, played football at Butler, earning first-team All-Pioneer Football League honors as an offensive lineman in 1993.
Recruiting Story: Burks was one of the best players on one of Indiana’s top high school programs, but his recruitment was quiet – in terms of scholarship offers - in the fall of his junior season. That started to change as Burks went on visits, making local stops at Illinois, Indiana, (those two schools offered him) Notre Dame and Purdue. He also started getting MAC offers to boost his scholarship total.
Wisconsin started paying attention to Burks in late fall 2014 and saw a fit in its 3-4 scheme. Visiting the campus in April, Burks was attracted to the school because of its defense, the facilities and the campus. By the time he was about to leave, Burks was informed by outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar that he was getting a Wisconsin scholarship.
“It got pretty real right then,” Burks said.
By mid-May, Burks had listed Wisconsin as his favorite with Maryland ranked second. After seeing Maryland’s campus, Burks knew that Wisconsin was the place for him and pulled the trigger.
Why Wisconsin? “I just loved Wisconsin from the moment I stepped on campus. It was just so beautiful between the two lakes, and it was better than I expected. It’s a great environment there, I have a great relationship with that staff, and I love how it’s straight blue-collar there. I’m a blue-collar guy, and that’s definitely the vibe I get at Wisconsin. Plus they have a great fan base there, and I like how they want me at outside backer, which is the position I play in high school.” - Burks after his commitment
“Coach Chryst is the dude. He is behind it all. He’s got his dream job now, and you know this guy is not going anywhere. He’s a very reliable coach, someone you can go to him with almost anything. Just talking with him all the time and building that relationship, you just know he is the most genuine guy in the program and what makes it run.” – Burks following January official
Scouting Report: I consider Burks one of the most talented defenders in the state in the Class of 2016. His work ethic and versatility stand out immediately when he takes the field. His biggest strength is in securing the edges in defending the run. He possesses great length and speed and has an outstanding first step in getting to the outside.
He’s big and savvy enough to take on linemen up front and will lay wood when he sheds them to get to the quarterback or running back. His athleticism allows him to man up against tight ends and the slot wide out in the flats. Last season he was called upon to be the spy ‘backer against top run teams and was active everywhere on the field.
His motor shines on special teams and he registered four blocked punts his junior year. Burks is also a smart player, is sound in technique and plays for one of the most well-known teams in the state in Class 6A Carmel. If he continues to add size, he could be an early contributor for the Badgers. – Scout's Indiana recruiting analyst Anna Hickey
Coach’s Quote: “First thing you look at on the tape is do they have the talent to play at the Big Ten level. It didn’t take very long watching his tape that he’s certainly talented enough to do that. He’s a great fit for us, especially schematically, because he’s basically playing in the same defense in high school that we play here. He’s rushing the quarterback, setting the edge of the defense, dropping into coverage and getting interceptions over the course of the year. He does all the things we’re looking for and it’s all right there on tape for you.” – Wisconsin outside linebacker coach Tim Tibesar
BadgerNation Prediction: This is a great pickup for the Badgers in a talented Indianapolis region. Wisconsin sees Burks as an aggressive rusher who can stop the run by taking on linemen with his strength and athleticism, more than hold his own in man to man or drop back into coverage to play the pass with his vision and his speed. He’s comfortable matching up with players as big as tight ends or as fast as tailbacks. Having one of the best motors at the high school level, Burks could factor in on special teams this season.