(photo credit Larry Vaught)
By Dr. John Huang
Jager Burton, the state’s No. 1 recruit in the class of 2021, committed yesterday to the University of Kentucky. Since he announced his decision at the KSBar and Grill, it was no surprise that he picked the Wildcats. It was surprising, however, that he agreed to talk to Michael Bennett at 8:00 this morning as one of his first on-air interviews.
We all know about the athletic prowess and talent of the 6’4”, 271-pound offensive guard out of Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington. Here’s what you may not know about his personality and character.
He’s already picking on Louisville
Immediately after he chose the Big Blue, Burton flashed the “L’s down” on the dirty birds. “It just felt right, so I threw it up,” Jager explained. You couldn’t ask for a better start to a career.
He can be trusted to keep a secret
Burton knew of his decision to attend UK two or three months earlier, but he wanted to keep it quiet. “I wanted to wait and make sure I didn’t teeter,” he said, emphasizing that there will be no decommitments from him. In other words, BACK OFF—Oregon, Ohio State, Alabama, and Clemson.
He’s a high-character dude
Burton spoke individually to each of the other coaches (including James Franklin of Penn State who recruited him early) informing them of his decision. No ducking anyone through text messages, emails, or third parties. He let them know directly through personal man-to-man phone calls. “That was the hardest part of my entire recruiting process, having to make those calls,” Burton admitted. “You feel like you’re letting down those coaches, but at the end of the day, they’re going to do what’s best for them. And you’re going to do what’s best for you. Kentucky is what’s best for me. So that’s what I chose.”
He’s got a wicked sense of humor
Burton got Vince Marrow to help prank Coach Stoops about his decision. “Coach Marrow and Stoops were together,” he said. “Coach Marrow was the first one to know because I told him the night before. Me and Coach Marrow were like, ‘Let’s mess with Coach Stoops.’ So, I called him and said, ‘You all are my first offer, so I feel like you all deserve to know no matter where I’m going.’ I made it like I was going to go to a different school…but then I picked Kentucky, and he just started yelling.”
He has his priorities in order
Burton chose Kentucky based on some really solid decision making. The relationship with the coaching staff, the highly-rated offensive line, and the chance to take the program to another level were all factors that influenced him to ink with the Wildcats. Never mind that all those other programs were already schools competing for national titles. “It was more important to me to try to get Kentucky in a national championship, try to win the SEC, beat Georgia, beat Florida, beat Tennessee—all those teams. That’s more important to me than the national championship was.”
Jager left us with one final recruiting note that should make all of BBN salivate.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to make this one of the best recruiting classes in Kentucky history,” he said. “My current target right now, to let everyone know, is Jordan Dingle [Bowling Green’s coveted tight end being heavily sought after by the Wildcats]. I’m going to be pushing that as hard as I can.”
Let’s welcome Jager Burton to Big Blue Nation.