Lawrenceville’s Brunswick High is sort of in no mean’s land, sitting between South Hill and Emporia on the south side of Virginia. But Hokies offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has been familiar with the school for a while, having been involved in the recruiting battle there for linebacker E.J. Wilson, an eventual North Carolina commit, years ago.
“Coach Stinespring always comes, every year, whether we have anything or not. He’s always there,” Brunswick head coach Harold Williams said. “So he’s familiar with our program. He’s been familiar with Xavier [Burke] the last two years.”
It paid off Wednesday when Burke, an under-the-radar 6-foot-3, 247-pound athlete, committed to the Hokies, becoming the fourth player who said he’ll sign with Virginia Tech in 2014.
A rising junior, Burke had drawn some interest from smaller schools like James Madison and William & Mary. He attended Virginia’s one-day camp the last two seasons, but last Saturday was his first camp at Virginia Tech. He got an offer and days later made his decision.
“They were No. 1 on his list. So he said, ‘Why wait?’” Williams said. ” He really thought that’s where he wanted to be.”
Burke is a three-sport athlete who plays basketball and participates in track. Williams said he runs a 4.8-second 40.
It’s why Burke can play almost anywhere on the football field … and he has. In his two years on the varsity team, Burke has been a quarterback, running back and tight end on offense, occasionally splitting out wide. On defense, he played defensive line, outside linebacker and even safety.
He’ll play some quarterback again this year as Brunswick tries to improve on a 1-9 season in which it scored only 64 points.
As for college, Williams guesses Burke will be a tight end or defensive lineman.
“But with those things, you never know until he gets there,” Williams said. “He still has two more years of growth in high school and other things to go. … He’s just a great athlete that attacks and loves getting to the ball. He loves getting to the football. When it’s in the air, he believes it belongs to him. He’s determined.”
I had a chance to catch up with Burke himself for a few minutes. Here’s a quick rundown of what he had to say:
* He had been a Virginia Tech fan for a while, rooting for them since he was a kid. Last weekend’s one-day camp was his first visit to Blacksburg, though.
* He bonded with the coaching staff, which made his decision easier once he got an offer. “The coaching staff, they were very great to hang around,” Burke said. “They like to have fun, but it was all serious, all business.”
* Burke didn’t have any other offers, but he was starting to get some attention. He said he was on the verge of getting a few other offers before he committed to Tech, though.
* Although he played some quarterback last year and might do so again this year, he didn’t sound completely enthused about it. “I don’t plan to [play there], but if it comes down to it, I might just have to,” he said. He said he’d prefer to play tight end or defensive end in college, adding that right now, Tech has plans for him at tight end.
* Burke said his uncle is NFL receiver Plaxico Burress. They’re related on his dad’s side. The haven’t met, though.