Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007. He also hosts Recruiting Thursday each Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. statewide.
Greenwood's Burgess credits two mentors for success
Greenwood quarterback Jabe Burgess looks for a receiver during a 2012 game at Little Rock Parkview.
Greenwood quarterback Jabe Burgess played sparely as a sophomore but knew he wanted a shot at playing major college football.
Burgess, 6-2, 180 pounds spoke to Coach Rick Jones and that got the ball rolling along with some advice from his cousin, Tyler Wilson, a former quarterback at Greenwood and Arkansas.
"I sat down with Coach Jones after my season and I told him I wanted to go play ball somewhere," Burgess said. "He said if you really want to do that and put the time into it I'm going to help you out and talk to some coaches for you. He really got my name out there. Obviously, Tyler helped me out with previous staff. That's how I got my name out so quickly. Coach Jones did such a great job for me. He's helped me a lot. "
Burgess helped himself out with an outstanding junior season and leading the Bulldogs to the Class 6A state title. He completed 219 of 296 passes for 3,128 yards, 36 touchdowns and suffered only 5 interceptions. In mid-December, Illinois offered Burgess and recently Tulsa came on board with his seconds offer.
He and Wilson talked recently.
"We talked about 20 minutes just about college football moving forward," Burgess said. "He's really been there for every step of the way. I'll call him about anything. What do you think about this school? What do you think about this coach?"
Burgess has spoken to Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. and plans to visit them on campus next Wednesday. He said he's heard good things about Coach Bret Bielema from one of his favorite targets this past season, Hog signee and receiver Drew Morgan.
"From what I've heard so far is very positive, very uplifting," said Burgess, who's also drawing interest from Oregon, Houston, Arkansas State and Auburn. "Nothing negative. Just positive about everything. I like the way coach Chaney coaches quarterbacks. It's very similar to how coach Jones coaches his quarterbacks."
It was the 45-21 victory over Fort Smith Southside that gave him the boost of confidence in making him realize he could be a major college prospect.
"It was the biggest game of my life," said Burgess, who was 8 of 17 for 146 yards and 1 interception. "It really didn't hit me until then but I didn't throw any touchdown passes or I didn't do anything like spectacular. I just think the way the game went and looking back at everything that happened. It was a great learning game."
Burgess, who has a 3.8 grade points average while taking all honor classes, knows being a quarterback puts him in a leadership role.
"I think the quarterback position people naturally look up to it," Burgess said. "You can't be goofing off. You have to be straight and keep good head on your shoulders . You're always in the film room preparing everyday and definitely in the classroom."
" You can't be a quarterback and have bad grades. It just doesn't happen like that. I think you're on the field play is a result of what you do prior. Coach and I will watch film every day after practice for an hour, two hours sometimes and then we'll watch it the next day in the morning. I probably watch 20 hours of film every week on the next opponent . I think that's a huge factor for all quarterbacks."