Sometimes it’s about more than just football.
Sometimes the game can become that conduit where an athlete is using that time on the field as nothing more than a way to honor all of those that believed in him, that encouraged him and that loved him.
Such was the case Saturday night with Florida Gators 2016 recruit Brian Burns (6’5”, 217, American Heritage) as the defensive end helped his team to an exciting win over IMG Academy, and for him, an emotional one as well.
“It means a lot and I know how much these boys wanted it so I had to give it everything I had. Like I told the other interview, I didn’t go to sleep for weeks cause [my grandfather] has been sick, but I had to give everything I had. I was tired the whole game but I just kept going.”
Burns actually had to attend his grandfather’s funeral Saturday morning before playing in the game that night, and that swing of emotions was a layer of football he’d never encountered.
“Man it’s really hard. You just gotta find whats in you and try to bring it out. I just knew if we could pull this off, I’d be happy on the inside and I’d try to go to sleep tonight.”
A guy who understands that it can be more than football is Florida Gators coach Chris Rumph, who has been the primary recruiter for Burns, and the DE says Rumph is his biggest pull to Gainesville right now.
“I talk to him a lot, we talk on a consistent basis and he’s more of a mentor than just a coach. That’s what makes my connection with Florida so strong…he’s trying to make me a better person than football player. He cares about his players…he’s just a great guy overall and I gotta go back up there and talk to him.”
There are other schools in the mix with Florida and they help round out Burns five official visits. They’re LSU, Florida State, Georgia and Alabama.
Florida along with the others are primarily recruiting him to come off of the edge in a manner which Gator fans are accustomed to.
“It’s basically the whole Dante Fowler, blitzes from everywhere. That’s what most colleges want me to play.”
He says those visits and being able to see the atmosphere at each school will make a big difference since he’s currently wide open to any possibilities.
“Right now I’m really undecided. So many great coaches, great programs and I’m just blessed to have all of this. There’s nothing more I can really think but thank God.”
But first, it’s time for Brian Burns to sit back, realize he did all he could to honor his grandfather, and maybe finally get some sleep.
Watch below for our full interview with Brian Burns along with some highlights from his game.