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Over the past three seasons the Purcell Marian Cavaliers have mustered just three wins. The team has dropped 32 straight league games during that span. Still, there is reason for optimism and hope heading into the 2011 campaign. The climb back to respectability lies squarely on the legs of tailback EJ Burnett.
His numbers over the past two seasons have grown and entering his senior campaign he is easily one of the Greater Catholic League’s best kept secrets. Burnett followed up his 1,340 all-purpose yards in his varsity debut as a sophomore by exploding for 2,011 all-purpose yards during his junior campaign.
“EJ has the ability to take any kick for a touchdown,” head coach Brian Miller said. “His feet never stop moving and he is extremely hard to tackle.”
Burnett has averaged over 23 yards per kick return over the past two seasons and took one to the house in one of his three punt returns in 2010. However, it has been his growth as a tailback that has opened some eyes.
He is capable of carrying the load on the ground, but also is a viable option out the backfield as a receiver. That makes the senior-to-be even more valuable to a Cavaliers' offense that is often playing from behind.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound running back tallied 1,148 yards on 221 carries (5.2 ypc) and scored nine times on the ground. In addition, he pulled in 21 catches for 119 yards. He carried the ball 65 more times a year ago than he did the previous season and that workload could increase in 2011.
Miller expects an even bigger season ahead for Burnett, who will be the focal point of Purcell Marian’s attack on offense. Burnett clearly has the attributes to take advantage of the opportunity.
“He is usually two to three moves ahead of the defense because of his vision,” Miller added. “His speed also allows him to out run defenders trying to tackle him.”
Burnett does not boast any offers yet, but Miller claims that several schools have expressed interest and he appears confident that Burnett has what it takes to play at the next level.
FINAL TAKE: The cat is out of the bag inside the GCL on how good Burnett is as opposing coaches are paying much respect to his talents. He’s a good bet for another stellar season, but he’ll need some help from elsewhere in the Cavaliers' offense if he’s going to reach his full potential.
Dan Clasgens is a co-founder of TSF and serves as the President/Director of Media & Content for our parent company, GetSports Enterprises LLC. In addition to nearly a decade of experience in covering local high school football, Dan is a widely recognized as a fantasy football guru. He is both a local and national radio personality, including hosting a weekly show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.