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What Jager Burton’s Commitment Means for Kentucky

After sitting atop Kentucky’s 2021 recruiting big board for years, the Cats have successfully secured a commitment from hometown star, Jager Burton. How big of a deal is it for the big guy to stay home? Let me try to explain.

Beating the Big Dogs 

I don’t care where the kid is from, anytime you can beat out Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oregon for a recruit, you’re doing something right.

Lexington has become a hot bed of talent for elite offensive linemen. A trend that Landon Young began, the other top 100 prospects from Lexington that followed Young opted to go elsewhere: Jedrick Wills chose Alabama and Burton’s former Frederick Douglass teammate, Walker Parks, signed with Clemson. Even with the biggest players in college football involved, Vince Marrow and Co. were able to convince Jager to play for his home state school.

A Plug-and-Play Talent 

The Big Blue Wall has developed a reputation for mauling opponents in the run game. Often times, the players that become household names are developed over time before being unleashed on SEC opponents. Landon Young and Darian Kinnard have been exceptions to that norm, forced into action right away as true freshmen after underclassmen suffered injuries.

Kentucky’s offensive line boasts four preseason All-SEC selections in 2020, all of which are excepted to take their talents to the NFL in the spring. Burton is talented enough to fill the void right away. Even if he isn’t a day one starter, the All-American will find a way into the rotation in the fall of 2021 after he enrolls in the spring.

John Schlarman is a Soothsayer

Before Burton was one of the most highly-touted players in America, he was a kid at Kentucky football camp playing defensive line. John Schlarman felt the need to intervene.

“Coach (John) Schlarman pulled me aside. He was like, ‘You’re a pretty athletic defensive lineman, but if you move to offensive line you’ll be extremely athletic,’” Burton said earlier this year on the KSR Football Podcast.

Burton took Schlarman’s advice and moved to offensive line for his sophomore season at Frederick Douglass. Once his season ended, he unofficially visited campus and received an offer from UK, his first scholarship offer. Schlarman’s eye for talent will pay dividends for years to come.

Kentucky Dominates In-State Recruiting 

The commitment from the state’s top-ranked player now gives the Wildcats’ 2021 recruiting class five of the top eight players in the state. Vince Marrow could increase that number to six if he can successfully secure a commitment from Bowling Green tight end Jordan Dingle.

Since Marrow made Kentucky part of his recruiting territory, he’s picked up commitment from 15 players in three recruiting cycles, with only one player outside of the top ten. In that same timeframe UofL has only one top ten commitment from the Commonwealth. You can’t keep every top-ranked player home. Some just feel the need to leave the state. For the rest, the Big Dog has made sure that UK is the place to be.

An Anchor in a Bizarre Recruiting Cycle 

The 2021 recruiting class is unlike any other, thanks to COVID-19. The pandemic ceased all in-person recruiting and eliminated Mark Stoops’ favorite recruiting weapon, the official visit. Without official visits, recruiting has become more regionalized. It’s not all necessarily a negative.

Burton always appeared to be a Kentucky lean, yet his decision ultimately seemed predicated on how he felt at official visits to his five finalists — Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon and UK. By eliminating official visits to other schools, Kentucky had the inherent advantage.

The addition of Burton moves UK up to No. 39 in 247 Sports’ team rankings. The 16th commitment in the class, Burton leads the way alongside his talented Frederick Douglass High School teammate, wide receiver Dekel Crowdus.

Kentucky Football 2021 Recruiting Class

Jager BurtonOGLexington, KY6-42704-star, #170, #8 OGMarrow
Dekel Crowdus WRLexington, KY5-101704-star, #44 WRMarrow
Christian Lewis WRPleasant Grove, AL6-31853-star, #69 WRSumrall
La'Vell Wright RBRadcliff, KY5-112053-star, #8 APBMarrow
Jordan Lovett DBRadcliff, KY6-21953-star, #5 KYMarrow
Kaiya Sheron QBSomerset, KY6-32003-star, #8 KYHinshaw
Armond Scott WREuclid, OH6-3`2053-starMarrow
Chauncey MagwoodWRLeesburg, GA6-01763-star, #65 WR Sumrall
David Wohlabaugh DBWadsworth, OH6-52773-star, #54 OTMarrow
Paul Rodriguez OLMason, OH6-53103-star, #32 OHMarrow
Martez Thrower ILBRochelle, GA6-22153-star, #41 OLBSumrall
Kahlil Saunders DLHuntsville, AL6-52603-starSumrall
Adrian Huey CBNashville, TN5-10.51603-star, #69 CBClinkscale
Maxwell Hairston CBWest Bloomfield, MI6-11603-star Clinkscale
Joko WillisLB (JUCO)Lagrange, GA6-32153-star, #51 LB (HS)Sumrall
Wilson BerryPunterMelbourne, Australia2-star Duffy




Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

5 Comments for What Jager Burton’s Commitment Means for Kentucky

  1. michaelb
    6:57 pm August 30, 2020 Permalink

    What a pick up . I’m ready to see one of these freshman wide receivers make an impact

  2. BigBluSoTru
    9:32 pm August 30, 2020 Permalink

    Omg the number 3 player ranked in 247 we are now defenitly winning the sec two years in row .

    • Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
      1:54 am August 31, 2020 Permalink

      Seeing a player as the lead recruiter is priceless.

    • ClutchCargo
      9:19 am August 31, 2020 Permalink

      I noticed that the other day. I didn’t know a player being the lead recruiter was even a thing, and I’m still not really sure.

    • satcheluk
      12:55 pm August 31, 2020 Permalink

      I suspect that was tongue in cheek, as Duffy encouraged him to come here. They know each other, as they both went to the same college punter prep school in Australia.