When Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln wide receiver John Burt named the Texas Longhorns as his leader shortly after his decommitment, it seemed hard to believe, but on Monday morning he unexpectedly announced that he's once again a member of the Longhorns 2015 recruiting class:
Officially commiting to University of Texas (for good ) see yall on the 40!! pic.twitter.com/z6HgghtKtH— Sparq10 (@burticus21) January 26, 2015
As the picture indicates, the decision came when a massive contingent of Texas coaches made their way to Tallahassee, including head coach Charlie Strong, assistant head coach for the offense/quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, new wide receivers coach Jay Norvell, and defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn, Burt's area recruiter.
Great way to start the week! #LetsRide— Charlie Strong (@Strong_TexasFB) January 26, 2015
The 6'3, 180-pound Burt had also seriously considered Auburn and looked likely to become a Tiger after he took two visits during the fall and then decommitted in early January.
The decision means that his mother, who wanted him at Texas, ultimately won out over the wishes of his father, he wanted to see his son play at Auburn. The family split was clearly weighing on Burt at check-in day for the 2015 Under Armour All-America game, as he also had concerns about the direction of the Texas offense even before the Texas Bowl debacle, feelings that were likely exacerbated
But talk of changes to the offensive attack and the prospect of flipping quarterbacks Kyler Murray from Texas A&M or Kai Locksley from Florida State could have Burt feeling more optimistic about the future in Austin.
Following a strong senior season that saw Burt improve tremendously, he's now ranked as the No. 138 player nationally, the No. 14 wide receiver, and the No. 21 player in Florida, though to these eyes he was certainly worthy of a higher ranking based on his development as a senior.
Most importantly, however, Texas now has another potential replacement for departed wide receiver John Harris.
Interestingly enough, Burt's development has mirrored that of Harris, except that Burt is just as physical with less mass and has better quickness than Harris did in high school. So he's basically a better athlete who is starting to develop impressive skills as a route runner, while maintaining the physicality as a blocker and interest in doing the small things to succeed.
Coming out of high school, he's starting to get to the same point it took Harris years out of high school to reach.
In one play on his senior highlight reel, Burt makes a block, gets downfield for another, falls in the process, then gets up anyway and hustles in the hopes of making another before his teammate scores. That's a defining play and it defines Burt in all the right ways.
I got a little teary-eyed watching it.
But where as a junior he was mostly great on those hustle plays and on special teams, he's now showing a deeper understanding of being a wide receiver, perhaps aided by his time at The Opening last summer -- it's like a light flashed on for him at some point in the last several months.
The result is a big, physical receiver who can run comeback routes, break the first tackle, and then outrun the safety to the end zone, go up strong over the middle for catches in traffic made possible by attacking the football with his hands, and beat opponents with his route-running ability coming out of his breaks or simply run by defensive backs who don't completely respect his pure, vertical speed.
In months, Burt has gone from being a raw prospect to looking like a true wide receiver, while keeping all the hustle and toughness attributes that made him so appealing even when his pure skills as a pass-catcher looked more limited on film.
Burt is now the third wide receiver commit in the class for Texas, joining potential H-back DeAndre McNeal and prep wide receiver Gilbert Johnson, another Florida prospect. With Burt's recommitment, the Horns now have 24 pledges in a class that ranks No. 11 nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings and No. 1 in the Big 12.