As we all projected the 2021 class for Kentucky, in a lot of ways it was going to be determined a success if they could secure one specific commitment. After losing recent local offensive line talents to Alabama, it was imperative for the program to score a big one in this crop so the Big Blue Wall can keep on producing at a high level.
Frederick Douglass offensive lineman Jager Burton is currently ranked as the No. 125 prospect in the country and is the clear top ranked recruit in the state of Kentucky. The 6-foot-4 lineman figures to be a guard at the next level, but also has the athleticism to play multiple positions in the trenches. UK nabbed their top target and it’s time to step in the KSR Film Room to see what Burton is bringing to the table.
John Schlarman’s position room is adding a top-shelf athlete who can play a variety of positions and is just a few pounds away from competing for playing time as a true freshman.
When watching the tape, the first thing you notice is that this is a high-level athlete for an offensive lineman. Right around a slim and lean 270 pounds, Burton really moves well and can flat out run when he is in the open field. He is light on his feet and you could see this guy as someone who could play multiple positions on both sides of the ball.
On the gap scheme run, Douglass uses some misdirection and pulls the left tackle around to lead the tailback. The defenders get caught up in the wash and that leaves no one for Burton to block. Therefore, he runs stride-for-stride with his running back down the sideline. The safety wanted no part of taking the rumbling tackle on and the result is an explosive play touchdown.
In a strength program at the next level, it is easy to add weight and mass but it is hard to obtain speed. Burton has a trait that is very valuable at every position in football.
Oh, he also brings some power when he pulls.
Last year we saw Kentucky throw in a bunch of counters, zone reads and option looks to take advantage of Lynn Bowden Jr.’s skill set at quarterback, but at their heart they are a heavy inside zone based rushing attack. That means guards and centers will be working a ton on combo blocks before moving to the second level to take on linebackers and straight up double teams in other situations.
In the red zone, Burton works through a successful double before moving onto a linebacker and finishing the play with some gusto. That motor and nastiness seem to be something Kentucky targets when recruiting offensive line prospects and Burton should fit right in when it comes to playing with some saltiness.
There is no denying that Jager Burton was the top target on Kentucky’s board in the class of 2021 and Vince Marrow pulled off a strong recruiting win. Right now both Alabama and Ohio State are lapping everyone when it comes to recruiting and each really wanted Burton. UK was able to hold both off.
When the blue-chipper steps onto campus in 2021, Kentucky will be entering a massive transition year as it tries to replace Luke Fortner, Drake Jackson, Landon Young and potentially Darian Kinnard. That’s a gaping hole and the chance will be there for the Frederick Douglass product to play very, very early. He is the fifth top-150 recruit to come to Kentucky out of high school and the third from the home state who played offensive line.
Kentucky had two must-get players playing just down the road at Frederick Douglass and they were able to secure commitments from both Burton and Dekel Crowdus. The Wildcats now have pledges from five of the state’s top-eight players and are still in the running for Bowling Green tight end Jordan Dingle. Getting Burton in the fold helps provide some much needed star power in the class in addition to allowing the Big Blue Wall to reload.
Big time recruiting win.