The Kentucky Wildcats are locked in an intense recruiting battle for the services of the Commonwealth’s top prospect in offensive lineman Lexington’s own Jager Burton.
75% of 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball Projections have Burton landing with the Ohio State Buckeyes, while the other 25% have him staying home and play for UK. At Rivals, 50% are for Ohio State, 33% for Kentucky, and 17% have the Frederick Douglass High School star landing with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Despite the projections not in UK’s favor, Burton has still talked highly of the potential of staying home to play for the Cats. In a recent interview with Dave Lackford of Rivals.
“Kentucky has one of the biggest active fanbases on social media and stuff, which I think a lot of people overlook,” Burton said. “Also, however many years ago when coach Joker (Phillips) was here, it would be a lot harder for me to go to Kentucky if Kentucky wasn’t good and wasn’t becoming a big name. I think that was something I had to really understand to be able to put Kentucky in there.
“Whenever you grow up watching Kentucky win two games or whatever when Joker was here, now they’re beating Penn State in a bowl game and beating Virginia Tech and all these big-name schools. They’re beating them pretty bad. It’s a close score, but I was at both of the games watching and they’re physically dominant. You can tell their strength coach is the real deal.”
He added, “A lot of people say whenever they look at my top seven, it’s these schools and Kentucky. I think Kentucky, to me at least, is on the same level as all those other schools and they’re improving still, which is cool to see. I think one of the biggest sells for me to Kentucky is being able to — at some places you’re expected to win, and Kentucky is expected to win now, but they’re about to take the next step.”
Saying Kentucky is on the same level as his other seven schools is a massive statement from Burton as those include college football powerhouses Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Oregon, Texas and Penn State.
Burton says if he does pick Kentucky, being considered a “home town hero” would be a key factor.
“That’s a big piece for me, just making the people that I’m around really proud, the people that I grew up around, making Kentucky bigger than it is now. Being a part of that and playing with the guys that I grew up with in high school at the next level, it would be kind of crazy.”
Burton’s decision date is set for August 24.
Catch his full interview with Lackford below.