Starting to flash during the second week of fall camp, Burrell worked his way on to the field for the much-hyped season opener against No.5 LSU. Considering his high school accolades, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Burrell is ahead of the learning curve.
Selected for the 2016 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, Burrell was a consensus all-state selection as a junior (37 tackles, interception) and senior (41 tackles, two interceptions). Finished his career with 172 tackles, seven interceptions and 12 touchdowns, Burrell is just the kind of playmaker Wisconsin secondary coach Jim Leonhard is looking for.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Burrell: It was pretty similar to high school because I lived at my high school during the week. Taking classes, taking some at night time when I was in high school and workouts. The adjustment has been pretty easy for me. I like the flow of things. I’ve been doing pretty good so far.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Burrell: Time is crucial. Every second you have something new to do. It’s either coming out to practice for two-a-days or game prep, meetings, lunch, meetings, lifting. You just have to be everywhere that you can at that time. It’s long, but I knew what I was getting myself into.
How did you prepare your body before coming to college so you would be able to step right in and start competing?
Burrell: I worked a lot with my trainers and tried to learn the plays. I talked to Coach Leonhard to find out the stuff he wanted me to do before I came here. He gave me basic stuff to master. I followed that lead and it’s been working so far.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Burrell: Being patient more. That’s my weakness, but I think my strengths are coming up and tackling. I like being a part of the run game. Interceptions are pretty good, too, but I like tackling a lot. I think that’s a strength I’ve always had.
How is Madison different than Severn, MD?
Burrell: There’s a lot of stuff to do in Madison. I didn’t do too much in my hometown. I had a couple friends there, but I just met these guys on the football team and they’ve been real cool. A couple of them have taken me under their wing.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Burrell: I am thinking business, but I’m still undecided.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Burrell: Probably State Street. I like State Street a lot. Za’s is my favorite spot to eat at.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Burrell: I have been (at Camp Randall) almost every day since camp, so I haven’t found any spot that I don’t like to go.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Burrell: I like to chill with my friends, go out and have fun.
Who are you living with this fall?
Burrell: Caesar Williams.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Caesar?
Burrell: We talk a lot of trash. We talk about what plays we messed up on, what plays we did good. We have a lot of competition. He’ll compete with anyone; he doesn’t who you are or how big you are. We’re from Dallas and Maryland, so we don’t know much about each other’s home towns. I like him. He’s a cool dude. I know we’re going to go a long way together.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Burrell: Probably my dad. He’s my number one supporter and worst critic. He gets on me when I mess up and sometimes he’ll tell me when I’m doing stuff good.
What’s your parents’ reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Burrell: My mom really don’t know too much about college football, but she’s knows what’s going on now. My dad is very excited. He bought his tickets for the Lambeau game and was excited to come.
From all of your scholarship offers, what made Wisconsin stand out from everyone else?
Burrell: Everything to be honest. Football was probably the easiest thing. The coaches here are very energetic, so I’m excited. The friends I’ve met had a part to do with it, but I really enjoyed it when I came down for an official. The academics were a huge part of my decision. I felt good where I was at.
What it’s like to put on the Wisconsin jersey every day, run out of the tunnel in front of 80,000 fans and be a part of this program on a daily basis?
Burrell: Coming out here and practicing when nobody is here is crazy, so seeing the place go crazy was exciting. Just looking at all these stands, it’s filled and sold out every time. I’m excited to be a part of it.