April 14, 2010

Burton gets first SEC offer

Clay Burton recently picked up his first Southeastern Conference offer, but it didn't come from the likeliest source.

Burton's brother, Trey Burton, is a freshman quarterback at Florida, but his younger brother's first overture from the league came from Ole Miss.

The Rebels are not in the lead for the 6-foot-3, 230-pound strong-side defensive end from Venice, Fla., but they appear to be in striking distance.

"I'd definitely say that right now," Burton said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm not going to rule anyone out right now. (Ole Miss recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks) Coach (Chris) Vaughn talked to my head coach, Coach (John) Peacock and then I called Coach Vaughn. He was a juiced-up guy, fun to talk to and then I got the written offer in the mail, so it was exciting.

"He had recently watched my highlight tape and liked my playmaking abilities. All their defensive ends are upperclassmen and they're looking for someone to come in and play and they're not afraid to play freshmen."

Burton has spent most of his time on the recruiting trails with Clemson, and the Tigers hold a lead. However, several schools are in a pack chasing Clemson. That group includes Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Stanford, South Florida and West Virginia.

"Those are my favorites at this time," Burton said, adding that he plans to visit Georgia Tech this weekend and Notre Dame sometime this summer.

The Rebels' SEC affiliation, Burton said, won't help or hurt their chances to land his college signature.

"It has no effect on me whatsoever," Burton said. "I could play in any league, as long as I could see myself succeed and have a great career."

That said, Burton said he'd like to learn more about Ole Miss in the coming months, as he prepares to build on a junior season that saw him record 80 tackles and 12 quarterback sacks.

"I know (Ole Miss) Coach (Houston) Nutt is from Arkansas and they knocked off Florida the year Florida went on to win the national championship," Burton said. "Dexter McCluster is from Largo (near Tampa) and I know Eli Manning went there. I know they had a good defensive end in Greg Hardy. That's pretty much all I know about them right now."

Burton, who also has offers from Purdue and Rutgers, said he's heard from his brother's team, though the attention has been lukewarm.

"I went to the Orange and Blue Game (last weekend)," Burton said. "I've talked to (Florida assistant) Coach (Joe) Addazio and he said they're going to come and watch me this spring. I hope in the future they'll start to recruit me a little bit more."

And if they do?

"I'd probably have to make that decision when the time comes," Burton said. "I'll have to stake out the place that's best for me. My brother would want that for me too."

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