Consistent strength of UK's offensive line plays role in Jager Burton's recruitment

by:Maggie Davis07/12/20



Jager Burton is an offensive lineman, through and through. That’s why Kentucky is so high on the four-star recruit’s radar – the Cats are serious contenders for the Lexington native, alongside football powerhouses Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oregon. Although he’ll be taking longer than originally anticipated to make his college decision amid coronavirus restrictions, Burton is still using this time to virtually chat with coaches, current and former players, and even media members with each of his final five schools.

Burton recently talked with Eleven Warriors, a website dedicated to Ohio State football news and recruiting, about his top-five schools and why each one stands out to him.

“In speaking with Burton one-on-one Monday, it’s clear he has a strong affinity for both Ohio State and Kentucky because of the comfort level he has with both programs,” Eleven Warriors’ Zack Carpenter wrote following his conversation with Burton. “Those are the two schools that just about every recruiting analyst believes are in Burton’s final two, but there’s a much stronger sense that 1) His recruitment is far from over and 2) Those two programs might have a slight lead, but they have not come close to pulling away from the pack.”

For Burton, Kentucky’s advantages include the program’s recent growth on the national stage, the consistent strength of the offensive line and of course, the chance to stay close to home. Here’s what he had to say about the Cats:

“You grow up in Kentucky and you see all their games. I’ve seen the growth with Joker and Stoops and all that and how much it’s changing. Where are they gonna be in another five years if they’ve already come this far in two or three? Just think about that and then obviously all my friends are gonna go there. Just staying local.

“I definitely wanna respond to this, too – I’ve never responded to this on Twitter – but everyone will be like, ‘why is Kentucky in this group? Kentucky doesn’t fit in with this group.’ But if you really look at the numbers and you look at the best O-line classes, one of the best O-line classes in the rankings is Kentucky. They’re one of the best O-line schools. If I wasn’t an O-lineman then it’d be different. Kentucky is on the rise, and they’ve been in the top 25 for about three years now. So I just wanted to say something about that.”

The offensive line – also known as the Big Blue Wall – is certainly something for Mark Stoops & Co. to brag about, especially when it comes to locking down Burton’s recruitment. Next season, the Wildcats are poised to have three to four of the SEC’s top O-linemen (depending on who you ask); Drake Jackson, Darian Kinnard, Landon Young and Luke Fortner are each returning starters from the offensive line that was named as a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award last season.

Don’t forget Kentucky has a history of its most noticeable offensive weapons – see: Benny Snell, Lynn Bowden – crediting their success to the often-thankless work of the offensive line.

“Whenever I get rich, I’m going to take them out to dinner, and we’re going to spend as much money as they want,” Bowden told reporters after UK defeated Louisville 45-13 in last season’s Governor’s Cup game. “It was all of them – the best O-line in the nation. You saw it today.”

What Coach John Schlarman has built in the trenches is special. The offensive line doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves, but adding a highly-touted, in-state star to the pack certainly wouldn’t hurt the line’s visibility, right?

For the rest of Burton’s conversation – including what he had to say about each of the other school’s involved in his recruitment – check out the full story here: Eleven Warriors

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