Saint Louis-area safety Marvin Burks, Jr. committed to Ole Miss last week (look, I know this is late, but I was deep in the North Carolina wilderness on a birthday trip, ok?), the 13th verbal pledge in the Rebels’ 2023 class. As we’ve discussed in recent weeks, Burks seemed to be on the verge of an Ole Miss commitment for a while, before momentum appeared to swing in the direction of home state school Mizzou. Last Friday, the day of Burks’ announcement, there was some level of concern that the Cardinal Ritter Prep star would pick the SEC’s third-best Tiger squad, and despite being an enormous nerd, Eli Drinkwitz will definitely continue to court Burks until signing day.
So what are Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin getting in the 6’2 safety? Burks is a four star prospect, rated the #339 player in the 2023 class, according to the On3 consensus. He is also the #31 safety and #10 player from the Show Me State. Burks doesn’t have any senior year Hudl highlights up yet, but his junior year reel shows an athletic, willing hitter who is also asked to play wide receiver for Cardinal Ritter. In his highlights, Burks just looks bigger, faster, and more athletic than the other skill players on either side of the ball.
Scouting reports on Burks are very positive; 247 recruiting analyst Allen Trieu says of the St. Louis safety:
Has the size and length desired in the position. Has a background that also includes wide receiver and running back. Uses his size to take on blocks and support the run with physicality. Shows short area burst and closing speed. Comfortable playing up closer to the line of scrimmage like an extra backer or playing deeper in the secondary. Depending on how a school plans to use him, he may need to polish up man to man skills as that is not something we see him asked to do much in high school although he has the size and tools to match-up on a tight end or back. Likely to be a strong safety or hybrid in college and should be a Power Five starter in time.
On3’s scouting report on Burks is similarly glowing:
Versatile playmaker on both sides of the ball who is athletic enough to get sideline to sideline but isn’t scared to play between the hashes either. Long and leaner defensive back prospect with a wiry build. Solid top-end speed who eats yards with his stride length. Ran an impressive 11.16 100m and 22.60 200m given his length during his junior track and field season. Beyond a willing tackler. Enforcer in the run game and runs the alley with malicious intent. Rangy center fielder who has excellent field vision as a deep safety. Shows natural ball skills while playing receiver. High upside and high floor player whose best ball is ahead of him. If he is unable to carry the necessary weight you still have a rangy safety who is a willing tackler. If he adds the necessary weight while maintaining his athleticism you have a potential top-100 safety prospect.
Burks is the fourth secondary commit for the Rebels’ 2023 class, joining cornerback Braxton Myers, athlete Ahmad Brown, and safety Daniel Demery. Ole Miss loses quite a bit in the secondary this offseason, with the departures of Deantre Prince, Miles Battle, Otis Reese, AJ Finley, and Dashaun Jerkins. That means the Rebels likely aren’t done with the 2023 defensive back class, though whether additional reinforcements will come from the high school ranks (Isaac Smith, maybe?) or from the portal remains to be seen.
We should have some more engaging recruiting content for you in the coming weeks; the visit list for the Rebels’ November 12 home game against Alabama should be pretty stacked, especially if Ole Miss manages to bounce back this weekend with a win in College Station. And just 55 days from now, the early signing period begins, followed by a flurry of early portal activity.