December 18, 2009

Freshman Spotlight: Julian Burnett

Like many true freshmen, Julian Burnett's first season as a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket was like a rollercoaster ride. After injuries forced the staff to burn Burnett's redshirt year, he found himself starting in the ACC Championship in a completely new defensive scheme. Overall Burnett is happy about his first year as a Jacket and has big expectations for the Orange Bowl and the 2010 season.

"Going to the Orange Bowl was a crazy surprise to me," he said. "Starting in the ACC Championship was an even bigger deal to me though. I know to some people the BCS games are a big deal, but the ACC title was our goal and to get one as a true freshman is really special. I wasn't even sure I was going to play this year when I got to campus it is has been a lot of fun."

Burnett's ability to tackle and make plays was never in question and his talent moved him off the bench, but the mental side of the game was the real struggle for him.

"It has been a challenge this year. Going to the 3-4 for the ACC Championship was really different. In high school we ran a 5-2 my freshman year and then a 4-3 the other three year," he said. "We had to do what we had to do to win the title and we came out on top so that is what matters. Hopefully we can get some guys in here to have more depth on the line so we can stay in the 4-3 and don't have to repeat this again."

With Sedric Griffin graduating, Burnett is hoping to be able to fill his shoes next season. He is also hoping some of the other true freshmen and maybe a couple of recruits for the 2010 class can help provide some better depth for next season.

"With Sed leaving us we all have to step up," Burnett said. "I am hoping one of the safeties (Lance Richardson) moves over to linebacker in the spring. Brandon Watts is also really coming on in practice and I think he will be able to help us a lot next year because we need to build our depth up. Hopefully the coaches can bring a couple of guys in to help as well."

With a few weeks of bowl practices and the Orange Bowl on the horizon, Burnett is hoping to finish out the season with one more big win to carry momentum into next season for a possible championship run.

"We have on more game and we have to finish what we started. We need to go down to Miami and take care of business," he said.

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