OT Burkett Ballin' Despite Injury

Jesse Burkett

St. Johns (Fla.) Bartram Trail High School offensive tackle Jesse Burkett talks about returning from an injury that almost cost him his senior year. The 6-foot-4 and 310-pound senior has been committed to Vanderbilt since July but is still hearing from Stanford and Florida State. The University of Florida has also been in contact with the athletic tackle.

St. Johns (Fla.) Bartram Trail High School offensive tackle Jesse Burkett went from a lightly recruited prospect as a junior to one of the most highly sought after offensive lineman in the state of Florida heading into his senior year.

The 6-foot-4 and 310-pound Burkett, who committed to Vanderbilt this past July, had just two offers after the first week of spring practice this past May. Heading into this season, which was almost lost due to a broken wrist that had to be surgically repaired heading into fall camp, Burkett held over 30 scholarship offers. The senior is still firmly committed to the Commodores but continues to hear from several schools as he plays through injury this season .

Burkett broke a bone in his left hand/wrist area in the spring but found out just before the start of pre-season camp this past August during a physical that the injury would require surgery and he would be lost for the season. According to Jesse's father, Bill, the family sought a second opinion and his son was given the go ahead to play his senior season with the hand clubbed up in a cast.

"It feels great to be back. I'm not completely back to full capacity but it's better than nothing, so I was really excited when I got the news," said Burkett of learning his senior year would not be lost to the injury. "I only missed the first two regular season games. It was tough; there is only so much you can do from the sideline. It's good to be out there again."

Burkett has tried to make a positive of being limited by the cast saying that he believes it has helped him become better fundamentally.

"In some ways I think having the injured hand has helped me with my footwork and made me focus on getting in the right position with my body. I am making do with what I have," said Burkett.

The athletic lineman who also plays basketball for Bartram Trail says he thinks he has continued to improve as a run blocker despite not being able to lock on to a would be defender with both hands.

"I feel like I have improved and there is still room for more improvement but I feel like I'm playing pretty solid. I think my feet have gotten better but since I am in a cast it's tough to shoot your hands but I am doing what I can," said the Vanderbilt commit.

Despite being committed to Vanderbilt Burkett said that he is still hearing from both Stanford and Florida State on regular basis. Florida has also been in contact with Jesse according to his father and has been invited to attend Florida's game with Vanderbilt by the Gator coaches.

"I am hearing mostly from FSU and Stanford. Coach Pruitt (FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt) is usually who I talk to from Florida State," said Burkett.

The offensive tackle didn't elaborate much on hearing from Florida.

"It feels great to get the recognition from them, it's interesting," said Burkett of the new interest from the Gators. Burkett says he has not made up his mind if he will attend the game in Gainesville.

Please check back with Scout.com and Fox Sports Next for future updates on Jesse Burkett.

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