University of Utah Utes
Clear Creek High School
Utah has sent four members of its secondary to the National Football League over the past two years, but the best may be yet to come. After two successful seasons as a starter, including a junior campaign that garnered an All-Mountain West Conference second-team selection, Brandon Burton is set to take his talents to the next level and is sure to warrant high draft consideration.
"Brandon Burton is the leader of the secondary and one of the best corners around," said Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. "He has all the tools—blazing speed, good size and plays the ball well. He is in the same mold as (former Utes) Sean Smith, Brice McCain and R.J. Stanford, who were all NFL draft choices."
As a redshirt freshman in 2008, Burton waited patiently behind Smith and McCain while Utah produced the nation's 33rd-ranked passing defense, allowing 190.0 aerial yards per game. Despite graduating two NFL draft picks at cornerback at the end of 2008, Utah actually improved vs. the pass with Burton in the lineup the following season. The Utes surrendered just 176.0 yards per game through the air in 2009, placing 16th in the country.
Burton is at his best in man coverage, showing the speed and quickness to run with any receiver. At the line of scrimmage, he shows tenacity when pressing the receiver and is willing to challenge anyone that lines up opposite him. Once the ball is in the air, Burton uses his exceptional height and timing skills to compete for the football. In two seasons as a starter, he's notched 18 pass deflections and three interceptions.
Burton's speed was well-documented during his prep career at Clear Creek High School, as he excelled as a sprinter on the Wildcats' track and field squad. During his junior season, he won the district title in the 200-meter sprint after turning in a time of 21.3 seconds and qualified for the Junior Olympics.
On the gridiron, Burton was a standout cornerback and return specialist. The two-time team captain notched 11 career interceptions while recording 10 touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns. Burton earned All-District accolades on defense during his final two seasons and was also a special teams honoree in each of his last three campaigns. He was named Clear Creek's Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
Despite his success, the standout prep was largely overlooked as a recruit, garnering two-star ratings as a cornerback by Rivals.com and Scout.com. He was offered scholarships from Southern Methodist, Tulane, Texas-El Paso and Utah. "I committed to the University of Utah after my visit," said Burton. "I felt real comfortable with the coaching staff. Coach (Derrick) Odum did a great job making me feel comfortable around the guys up there."
Burton enrolled at the University of Utah in 2007 and retained eligibility by redshirting as a true freshman. The following season, he was buried on the depth chart behind starting cornerbacks Sean Smith (Miami Dolphins) and Brice McCain (Houston Texans), seeing the majority of his action on special teams. He played in 11 games and contributed three tackles (two solos).
With Smith and McCain moving on through graduation, Burton earned a starting role in 2009. The sophomore placed fourth in the Mountain West Conference in passes defended (0.85 per game), as he deflected 10 attempts and notched one interception. He ranked seventh on the team with 47 tackles (35 solos), including one sack for minus six yards and four stops for losses totaling 10 yards. He added two punt returns for seven yards (3.50 avg).
Burton enjoyed his best campaign as a junior in 2010 after entering the season as a member of the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List (top college defensive back). He started all 13 games and earned All-Mountain West Conference second-team accolades after notching career-highs in tackles and interceptions.
Burton placed sixth on the team with 51 tackles (34 solos), including one stop for a 10-yard loss, and picked off two passes, gaining 69 yards on returns. He added eight pass deflections, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble and a quarterback pressure.
Burton earned Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors in the regular season finale vs. Brigham Young. He posted five tackles (three solos), but his biggest impact was made in the waning moments of the game. Burton blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt by the Cougars as time expired to seal the victory for Utah.
At season's end, Burton announced he would forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2011 National Football League draft. "My experience at Utah has been great, but after talking to various people and sitting down with my family, I decided that now is the time to pursue a career in the NFL. I feel I am ready maturity-wise to make the move," said Burton.
"Brandon played a big part in our defensive success the past two years," said Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. "After evaluating his options, he and his family have decided it's in his best interest to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft. We appreciate all that Brandon did for our program during his time at Utah and we wish him well in all his future endeavors."
Burton started 25 of 37 games at cornerback for Utah…Recorded 101 tackles (71 solos) with one sack for minus six yards and five stops for losses totaling 20 yards…Deflected 18 pass attempts and intercepted three others, gaining 69 yards on returns…Caused one fumble and tallied one quarterback pressure…Blocked two field goal attempts…Gained seven yards on two punt returns…Tied Bill Gompf (1978-81), Pat Kennedy (1985-89) and Harold Lusk (1993-96) for 12th in Utah annals with 18 career pass deflections, as that mark is topped by Andre Dyson (47, 1997-00), Sean Knox (42, 1987-90), LaVon Edwards (42, 1988-91), Clarence Lawson (27, 1994-97), Jeff Griffin (24, 1977-80), Teneil Ethridge (23, 1995-98), Eric Weddle (23, 2003-06), Brice McCain (22, 2005-08), Mark Swanson (21, 1990-93), Kareem Leary (19, 1992-94) and Reggie Richardson (19, 1982-85)…Ranks 15th on the school's season record chart with 10 pass deflections in 2009…Tied for eighth in Utah game annals with three pass deflections vs. Brigham Young in 2010.
All-Mountain West Conference second-team selection…Member of the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, presented annually to college football's top defensive back…Earned Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors vs. Brigham Young…Started all 13 games and ranked sixth among Utes defenders with 51 tackles (34 solos), including one stop for a 10-yard loss…Caused one fumble and had one quarterback pressure…Led a secondary that ranked seventh in the conference and 73rd nationally in pass defense (225.15 ypg)…Deflected eight pass attempts, including three on third-down and another on fourth-down…Intercepted two passes, gaining 69 yards on returns (34.50 avg)…Placed sixth in the conference and tied for 100th in the nation in passes defended (0.77 per game)…Made 36 stops vs. the aerial attack, holding receivers to 385 yards (10.69 ypc) and 19 first downs on those receptions, as he made eight third-down stops and two more on fourth-down…Made 14 stops vs. the ground game, limiting runners to 68 yards (4.86 ypc) and three first downs, as he made one third-down stop and took down one ball carrier at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Delivered four of his hits inside the red zone, including three on goal-line plays…Tied for eighth in Utah game annals with three pass deflections vs. Brigham Young.
Played in all 13 games and started 12 contests, as Utah started four linebackers vs. Air Force…Ranked seventh among Utes defenders with 47 tackles (35 solos), including one sack for minus six yards and four stops for losses totaling 10 yards…Deflected 10 pass attempts and intercepted another…Placed fourth in the Mountain West Conference and tied for 73rd in the nation in passes defended (0.85 per game)…Also gained seven yards on two punt returns (3.50 avg)…Ranks 15th on the school's season record chart with 10 pass deflections.
Played in 11 games, seeing the majority of his action on special teams…Registered three tackles (two solos)…Stopped Trevyn Smith after a two-yard rush and brought down Mike Phillips following an eight-yard reception vs. Weber State, as he finished with two tackles (one solos)…Had a solo stop after a seven-yard rush by Devin Moore vs. Wyoming.
Red-shirted as a freshman.
No major injuries reported.
4.52 in the 40-yard dash…1.62 10-yard dash…2.65 20-yard dash…4.07 20-yard shuttle…11.59 60-yard shuttle…6.93 three-cone drill…32-inch vertical jump…9'6" broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times…31 ½-inch arm length…8 ½-inch hands…74 1/8-inch wingspan.
Attended Clear Creek High School (League City, TX), playing football for head coach Darrell Warden…All-District selection at cornerback as a junior and senior, as he recorded 11 career interceptions…All-District choice as a return specialist during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, returning 10 punts/kickoffs for touchdowns…Named the Wildcats' Defensive player of the Year as a junior…Two-time team captain…Rated a two-star cornerback prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com…Chose to attend Utah over scholarship offers from Southern Methodist, Tulane and Texas-El Paso…Also excelled as a member of the Track and Field squad, where he won the district 200-meter championship as a junior with a time of 21.3 seconds, qualifying for the Junior Olympics.
Economics major…Made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll in 2007…Son of Mark and Shawn Burton…Father is an engineer and mother is a doctor…Has one sister named Ashley…Born 7/31/89 in Germany…Resides in Houston, Texas.
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