Jager Burton is one of the next big-time football prospects from Kentucky
Kentucky is riding a wave of in-state recruiting momentum following the signings of five prospects from the 2019 class in the Commonwealth.
As the Cats look to build on that momentum with another strong class in the 2020 recruiting class, the forecast with at least one much younger prospect seems to be bright.
There's a long way to go in the recruitment of Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass offensive lineman Jager Burton, a 6-foot-4 1/2, 275-pound tackle from the 2021 class, and he will have plenty of options to choose from by the time it's his turn in the spotlight. But Kentucky has made a strong impression early.
Kentucky has been recruiting Burton for quite some time already. Their contact with the high school sophomore is limited out of necessity, but the UK coaches have made it clear to Burton and those around him that he is a recruiting priority already.
So how did the relationship between Burton and UK start up?
"I've always been like best friends with Walker Parks and I've always trained with him," Burton told Cats Illustrated this week. "I trained with Drake (Jackson) and slowly I just started talking to (UK's coaches) after the camp I went to last year. We started communicating and when I went to the last game of the season they offered me.
"They were talking about how big I am and how I'm still flexible and can move fast to go down the field. I haven't lost my flexibility as I've grown," Burton said.
If Burton stays roughly the same height he is right now he will probably project as a guard at the college level. If he grows to 6'5 or 6'6, he said, there's a good chance tackle could be in his future. He is a tackle for Frederick Douglass right now.
Burton has a high opinion of Kentucky early in his recruitment.
"It's home," Burton said. "I love it. There's been a lot of love from Coach (John) Schlarman, Coach (Vince) Marrow, Coach (Dean) Hood, Coach (Mark) Stoops and all those guys. Since I was little and going to games with my family I've wanted to play there and it's just kind of surreal to have a chance to do that."
Cincinnati, Clemson, Ohio State and Virginia Tech are some of the other schools that are also showing early interest in Burton.
Since Burton is good friends with Parks, who is committed to Clemson, that begs the question: If the Tigers offer how much appeal would that option have?
"I'd love to play with Walker. We've been playing together since we were six," he said. "But if Clemson's not where I feel the most at home then I wouldn't go there. It would be a major plus but I'm not going to make my decision for anyone else. I want to go where I feel at home and comfortable."
Burton told Cats Illustrated that he has felt "at home" on visits to Kentucky, Virginia Tech and Clemson so far.
"I felt that at Kentucky, yeah, because it is home," he said. "I haven't really had a chance to look at a lot of stuff because I'm too young and it's hard to tell, but I felt that energy there and some other places I've been."