By LARRY VAUGHT
Growing up in Lexington, it’s no surprise that Jager Burton says he’s always been a Kentucky football fan. What is a bit more perplexing is that he also grew up an Oregon fan.
“I saw their uniforms and liked watching them when I was little,” said Burton about his fascination with the Oregon.
Now he is a 6-4, 280-pound junior offensive lineman at Frederick Douglas High School attracting attention from a lot more colleges than just Kentucky and Oregon. Others include Clemson, Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State and West Virginia. He’s also made a camp visit to Alabama this month and got a scholarship offer.
He knows there’s going to be some added pressure on him because of the Division I scholarship offers, but he doesn’t plan to change what has worked for him.
“I got the offers because of all the work I put in. I expected I would get some offers, just not quite this early,” Burton said. “But I have to work just as hard now even though I’ve got the offers to be an even better player.”
His senior teammate, offensive lineman Walker Parks, has been a verbal commit for some time even though UK and others continue to recruit him. Burton says Kentucky coaches have told him what a “priority” it is to keep top in-state players at home.
“They talked about some of the players they have missed out on in state like Jed (Willis), Damien (Harris) and even Wandale (Robinson) last year and how much it could have helped if they had stayed home,” Burton said. “They are really giving me the ‘stay at home and make your state proud’ scenario. I would really like to be close to home but that also will not be a deciding factor in where I go. I don’t care to be away from home.”
He admits Parks, his friend since he was 5 years old, talks to him some about Clemson, a school Burton readily admits he likes a lot.
“But there is no pressure from him to go there because of him,” Burton said. “I would not go just because he is there. It would be a plus having him there but I would not pick a school solely off where he is going.
“Walker has helped me a lot. Some mistakes he made in recruiting by focusing on things that did not matter as much he told me before I did the same thing. I focused more on things coaches are looking at and it helped me know what things would be like.”