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Vontaze Burfict

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Vontaze Burfict - LB - Player

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn agrees with speculation that Arizona State ILB Vontaze Burfict could go undrafted.

McGinn is one of the league's most respected and well-connected beat writers, so it's unlikely he's simply giving his opinion. Burfict's offseason has been one prolonged free-fall, and at this point he'll be lucky to be a seventh-round pick. Name recognition alone may be all that prevents him from going undrafted.

Source: Bob McGinn on Twitter Apr 10 - 9:26 AM

Didn't some of you want this guy?

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I think Burfict's probelm lies within his personality and character. Albeit that is inherently two things, but aside from it. He has a lot of talent on the field. He didnt post great numbers at the combine. Then he had the issue of a lot of scouts and draft experts question his coachability and character. Honestly I'd love to see him get drafted late and come here if he slides. I think Spoon could do wonders with him especially putting him in the middle some. There was people that weren't thrilled Spoon's attitude. They thought he was brash and cocky when he came out. Later in the draft I think its worth it.

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Knight I hope so but I think he is a little more than our staff is willing to deal with. We need goons like him on the team -tired of this chior boy crap.....

You need at least one, even if just on the ST's you need a fool. TBH, I have heard Spencer Adkins is our resident goon around here along with Dunta.

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Yeah I am all for him from the 6th rnd onwards....as everyone above has rightly commented he's got issues and talent in equal measure. I don't think either warrant too much hype really but I feel the sting of the drop in value he has suffered will perhaps sober him slightly. We should be able to mould him enough to have a decent steal opportunity at such a late round.

I think it may pay dividends to add the odd nutter with a few chips on his veneer rather than someone who is broken mentally or physically. You can cut these guys early if you feel they are proper concerns.

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Jeez. Just a few months ago he was a 1st rounder, and now he could potentially fall out of the draft? Sucks for him, but I don't want him here even at that bargain.

How do you guys know so many details on Burfict? I'd have to look him up cause I've not heard of him.

How do you guys know so many details on Burfict? I'd have to look him up cause I've not heard of him.

Here is an article on him from about a year ago .....he was one of the most hyped players in the country, then went apesheet last year and fell off the radar ........


We begin with a story because it’s those tales of you’re-not-going-to-believe-this moments that best describe Vontaze Burfict.

It was Week 3 of his freshman season in 2009, barely two months removed from the first time he had strapped on pads at Arizona State, walked onto the practice field and shown he was the best player in the park.

Deep into the fourth quarter on a steamy night in Athens, Ga., the score was tied. The player Georgia coach Mark Richt would later say “should be playing in the (NFL) right now” saw from his middle linebacker spot that the defensive front was lined up incorrectly. So he did the unthinkable.

As the umpire walked away after marking the ball ready for play, Burfict pushed the official into the Georgia line of scrimmage to stop the play and allow the defense to reset.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler says. “I said to one of our coaches,

‘Did he just do what I think he just did?’ ”

And that’s just half the story.

After the reset, with Georgia in a goal-line power formation, Burfict timed the snap, leapt over the line of scrimmage, his body flying into Bulldogs fullback Fred Munzenmaier and disrupting the play. As quickly as he landed, he popped up to his knees and pulled Munzenmaier down for a loss.

“For every great story you have about Vontaze,” says Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, “another guy on another team will say he has one better.”

Here’s the best one of all: The toughest, meanest, nastiest player in the college game—the guy opponents fear and officials target, the guy once benched by his own coach because his violent makeup led to too many personal fouls—barely says two words away from his 53⅓-by-100-yard lined playground.

He is the ultimate enigma. A shy and reserved son who loves his mother and football and focuses on little else and a destructive, intimidating linebacker whose exploits have become so famous—or infamous, depending on how you see it—he has become a YouTube phenom.

Don’t believe it? Type Vontaze Burfict into the search field, and watch the ensuing carnage.

A Pac-12 coach calls him “deliciously violent.” An NFL scout calls him “what you get after you kick Ray Lewis’ dog.”

When told this story would proclaim him the “meanest man in college football,” four soft words escaped with one breath:

“I would love that.”

After an offseason of turmoil, after both teams that played in last year’s BCS national championship game find themselves in the middle of NCAA investigations, a crossroads season begins with little certainty about where the game is headed.

Leave it to a guy who idolizes Ray Lewis and **** Butkus, who at 6-3, 252 pounds has eye-popping closing speed, to bring it all into focus. The game is still about blocking and tackling and X’s and O’s and ultimately about who plays defense.

It’s the Arizona State defense—and Burfict’s place in it—that reveals some delicious possibilities this fall for the Sun Devils: perhaps a Pac-12 championship, a national championship and maybe even a Heisman Trophy run for the nation’s best defensive player. All from a team that finished 6-6 last season and from a player very few know about outside the West Coast.

So while every television bobblehead and basement blogger knows every statistic connected to Luck and his fabulous right arm, maybe it’s time to go retro and celebrate the beauty that is violence. Unvarnished, unhinged, unreal physical violence.

I know one thing,” says Oregon State coach Mike Riley. “Somebody is taking a blow every play (Burfict is) on the field.”

Poor Russel Hill. The Idaho State quarterback was just trying to get through a game two years ago when his FCS Bengals played rent-a-victim for Arizona State in the season opener. That was also Burfict’s first game—Idaho State was the first opponent to experience the terror that is Burfict.

Midway through a typical blowout game against an FCS patsy, Burfict left his zone responsibility as Hill rolled left out of the pocket. Burfict’s rush from his spot 5 yards off the line of scrimmage to 5 yards into the backfield was so fast and furious, Hill could not avoid the collision.

Burfict hit Hill so hard with a textbook tackle—shoulder pads in stomach—Hill was knocked about four feet off the ground and four feet back before Burfict drove him into the turf.

“That kind of opened everybody else’s eyes,” Arizona State linebacker Colin Parker says, “but we knew what we had.”

Arizona State knew what it had on the field. But away from the field, away from the collisions and destruction that play out like a video game, there is real life—and there are reasons the most violent player on the field becomes the quietest person in the room like the flip of a switch.

There is a boy growing up in a single-parent household, who was named after a father who hasn’t seen or spoken to him in years. A boy raised by a mother who did all she could to protect her children, so she eventually moved from the streets of Los Angeles to Corona, Calif., because she could take no more.

“I earned my ‘I survived South Central’ T-shirt,” says Burfict’s mom, Lisa Williams. “I wasn’t going to put my kids through that anymore.”

Burfict, at age 12, devised a plan of his own. He’d go to the NFL and with his first paycheck buy his mother a beautiful home. When as a young man he recognized he couldn’t fulfill that dream without correcting his academic shortfalls, he made another decision that will someday help him take care of the mother who’d always taken care of him.

Burfict was a sophomore in high school when he decided he had to leave home and stay for weeks at a time with the family of Tia Magee, an academic counselor and mother of his Centennial High School—and current Arizona State—teammate Brandon Magee. Burfict was ineligible for nearly his entire sophomore season, and he had to make up a year and a half of coursework with summer school, night classes and independent courses over the next two years.

From near academic casualty to a player former USC coach Pete Carroll whined about upon losing the recruiting battle to Arizona State, Burfict now is arguably the most gifted—and complicated—player in the game.

“I’ve never seen anyone who can change his personality so quickly and so differently,” Arizona State defensive tackle Bo Moos says. “It’s almost like it’s building up and building up, and then he releases it when he’s in pads and gets on the field. Then you see the plays he makes, and it blows your mind.”

Like the first day of pads at ASU, when the sound of one of his hits reverberated.

“The entire practice just stopped,” former Sun Devils assistant coach and current Duke passing game coordinator Matt Lubick says. “We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Whoa, we’ve got something here.’ ”

Or the play against Washington in 2009, when Burfict shot the gap on a fly sweep, knocked the guard off his feet and made the tackle. During film study, coaches replayed the moment over and over in sheer disbelief.

“I swear to God, he decleated a 325-pound guy,” Moos says. “You wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t on film.”

Or the play last year against Oregon, a game many NFL scouts say defines Burfict’s talent—which lies in his ability to chase and pursue from one side of the play to the other without giving up ground or explosive power—because the Ducks run read option plays where the quarterback reads the defensive tackle and directs the flow of the play away from his pursuit.

Burfict shot the gap, knocking Oregon guard Carson York into the backfield and forcing Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas to commit to handing off to tailback LaMichael James. Burfict then tackled both York and James—460-plus pounds of player—at the same time for a 5-yard loss.

“You’re thinking he can’t do that,” former Oregon center Jordan Holmes says, “and then he does it, and you’re left thinking, Holy cow.”

Or two years ago against Oregon State, when the Beavers ran a simple isolation play with tailback Jacquizz Rodgers. Left guard Grant Johnson was pulling to the right side. Burfict negotiated traffic, burst through a hole as the play was stringing out and hit Johnson—who was in front of Rodgers blocking—with such force that the near-300-pounder flew into Rodgers and put him on the turf.

“Oh yeah, I remember that one,” says James Rodgers, Jacquizz’s brother and then-Oregon State teammate. “Players, we see a lot of stuff on the field. It’s not often that you’re left saying, ‘Did he just do that?’ ”

Almost always, he did, and here’s the best part about it: He’s already moving on to the next play, the next adjustment, the next chance to get better. In this age of chest thumping, me-first peacocks primping and posturing for all to see, Burfict is a rarity.

He doesn’t really care about the highlight reel. In fact, he has never seen his videos on YouTube and doesn’t plan on searching. The game, he says, is simple: The toughest guy wins.

“Especially in the position I play,” Burfict says. “I can’t be soft. I’m going against 300-pound guys coming at me full speed. You’ve got to bring that violence.”

Sometimes that hellbent style does more harm than good. At least in the eyes of officials. Since that first game against Idaho State, he has built a unique relationship with them: He doesn’t like them, they don’t like him.

Arizona State has become so concerned about officials targeting Burfict, they sent game tape to the league office this offseason so new Pac-12 coordinator of officials Tony Corrente could better evaluate the situation. The league fired 11 officials after last season, and although commissioner Larry Scott didn’t give specifics, a Pac-12 source said poor and inconsistent calls during and after plays—including personal foul calls—were determining factors.

“People paint him as a monster, make it seem like he’s eating babies or something,” ASU linebacker Oliver Aaron says. “When he’s on the field, he’s not saying nice things; it’s definitely R-rated. Then you see him making plays 99 percent of the guys don’t make, and you can see how (officials) may have it out for him.

Every play is a highlight.”

So everyone has a story. Like the time Burfict—from one knee—threw a perfect spiral 60 yards in practice.

Or the time in a high school all-star game when a game of rock, paper, scissors with a teammate allowed him one carry at tailback—a carry he took 73 yards for a touchdown.

Or when people would tell Lisa Williams that her youngest son wouldn’t make it, that he’d be a “street thug” because he didn’t like school and didn’t want to put in the effort to change.

Or when, after yet another All-American-level performance last season, Burfict stood outside the gates at Sun Devil Stadium and signed autographs and mingled with young fans long after the crowd of players and coaches had thinned out.

“I told Junior, I’m so proud of who you have become,” Williams says. “He looked at me and said, ‘Mom, that was me once before.’ ”

For every story you’ll hear about Vontaze Burfict, someone somewhere will have one better.

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Locker room cancer.

If our locker room is not strong or secure enough, at this point, to bring a guy in like this, then we are a long way from reaching the promised land. This guy could get drafted by the Steelers, Patriots, Giants, or Ravens and you would never know he was there. With a fan-base, organization, and local media filled with a bunch of conservative "chicken littles", we'll almost never take a gamble on these type players. But we will take chances on overmatched coaches and then hope for the best.

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Wasn't his 40 clocked with a calandar? Like over 5.0?

Brandon Spikes from Florida ran a slow time too. You know, the starting LB for the AFC champion New England Patriots. I know many Falcon fans here hated his guts as a player and didn't want him anywhere around Flowery Branch.. Looks like he's done prety good for himself with Belichek and co.

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