Wide receiver John Burt has plenty to consider as his recruitment continues to heat up. An expansive list of opportunities presents plenty of potential scenarios.
The 4-star Tallahassee playmaker could commit to the national champions who reside in his hometown or venture out of the neighborhood to establish a career far away from Florida State. Auburn is in hot pursuit, along with several SEC programs, while a new contender out west has emerged as a slight front-runner.
Like most prized prospects, Burt has plenty to juggle when it comes to deciding where he wants to play college football.
"I have a lot to think about," he said.
The Lincoln High School playmaker is undecided, but recent developments have brought a new team to the forefront.
Burt received an offer from Texas in February during a visit to Austin and has quickly established a relationship with the new Longhorns coaching regime.
“I hadn’t really heard from [former head coach] Mack Brown," he said. "Charlie Strong has ties in Florida and his assistants at Louisville were recruiting me to play there. That carried over when he went to Texas.”
Burt, who routinely communicates with Strong and first-year defensive backs coach/special teams coordinator Chris Vaughn, has been pleasantly surprised by the program's ability to quickly rebound from a high-profile coaching change.
“The team has a lot of cohesiveness for not being together that long," Burt said. "Expectations are high at Texas but not unrealistic. With the coaches they have there, I think they have a chance to succeed in whatever they want to do.”
Despite growing up in a community that glorifies Florida State icons and Seminoles success, the Longhorns have always been a favorite. Burt's family ties to Texas fortified those feelings from an early age.
"Having an opportunity to go to college at Texas is surreal. I’ve been following the team for most of my life," he said. "I have family in Austin. My aunt works at the university and my grandmother was involved in the administration department there."
Still, the hometown team remains a legitimate option.
“I talk to FSU every now and then," Burt said. "I plan on going to the spring game this weekend [April 12] and I’ll talk to coaches then. Obviously it’s very close to home.”
So is that proximity a positive or negative?
“I don’t have a problem with staying so close, but I need to figure out where I want to spend my college years," Burt said. "Whether I want to stay nearby or leave the area."
Auburn isn't as much of a hike as Texas, but the university presents another potential landing spot beyond the Sunshine State. The Tigers hosted Burt earlier this year, and he was in attendance for the team's epic 2013 Iron Bowl victory over Alabama.
"I like Auburn a lot. Coach Craig talks with me a lot about what I could do there," he said, referring to wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig. "The campus is small and the community really supports Auburn, which I like.”
Campus environment is crucial, according to Burt.
“The main thing for me is about feeling comfortable at the university," he said. "That’s why it’s important for me to visit as many schools as I can."
Burt plans to expand his horizons by lining up future college trips. He lists South Carolina as a definite destination and would like to explore UCLA and USC if his schedule allows.
“It wouldn’t make sense for me to come up with a top-three or a top-five list until I visit more schools," Burt said. "I don’t think I’ve seen enough campuses to come up with a top group yet so I don’t want to rush it.”
When Burt eventually whittles down his list of offers, plenty of programs will be in play. His options also include Alabama, Miami, Tennessee and LSU.
A look at Burt's highlight reel reveals obvious reasons for his frenzied recruitment.
He enjoyed a strong junior season during a journey to the state playoffs. Burt caught 37 passes for 713 yards and nine touchdowns.
A well-rounded receiving approach makes him a top target for offensive coordinators across the country.
“I just want to make plays any way possible, whatever the team needs," Burt said. "If we need five yards, I’ll pick up five yards. If you need me to go deep for a big gain, I can do that too.”
When he self-assesses his skill set, Burt doesn't need to look far for a comparison.
“Calvin Johnson is my favorite receiver, but at the college level I would compare myself to [Florida State's] Kelvin Benjamin," he said. "Like them, I’m a guy that can go up and high-point the ball. They’ll also catch short passes and create big plays that way. I can do all those things.”
Burt, who lists himself at 6'3", 185 pounds, belongs at the highest level of FBS competition but faces several decisions during his journey to a final choice. A commitment doesn't appear imminent, so expect him to continue surveying options while lining up campus visits.
All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R college recruiting columnist Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.
Recruit information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
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