Burks, Miller plan to help revitalize Razorbacks

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2018
Batesville Southside running back Brayden Duncan (3) is tackled by Warren defensive tackle and Arkansas commitment Marcus Miller (right) on Aug. 25, 2018 in North Little Rock.
Photo by Jimmy Jones
Batesville Southside running back Brayden Duncan (3) is tackled by Warren defensive tackle and Arkansas commitment Marcus Miller (right) on Aug. 25, 2018 in North Little Rock.

— Warren head coach Bo Hembree has sent some great talent to Arkansas' football program over the years and it appears next year will be no exception.

Lumberjacks senior wide receiver Treylon Burks (6-3, 210 pounds) and senior defensive lineman Marcus Miller (6-5, 300) are two of Arkansas’ 19 commits in a highly-regarded 2019 recruiting class that is ranked 17th nationally by Rivals.

Both could provide immediate help to first-year coach Chad Morris. Burks is a four-star prospect ranked as the 88th-best player nationally by ESPN, and Miller is a three-star prospect who is part of a stellar defensive line group of seven pledges.

“They are going to need more than that right now and Coach Morris is going to do that,” Hembree said. “Two guys are not going to change every thing, but our two guys will help and when you get two guys of this caliber you are going to get more of that caliber.

“(Morris) is going to need to get a bunch of them and right now he is doing a good job of recruiting and it is just going to be a process.”

Burks, who chose Arkansas over LSU, Clemson, Florida State and others, and Miller are solid in their pledges commitment despite the Razorbacks struggling to a 1-3 start.

“I think the 2019 class is going to come in and be pretty good,” Burks said. “I think it will help the Razorbacks out a lot.”

It’s the staff - including wide receivers coach Justin Stepp and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock - that has Burks sold on the Razorbacks’ future.

“I like Coach Stepp a lot,” Burks said. “He is almost like a stepdad to me. He treats me good. Coach Morris is good coach, Coach Craddock, all the coaching staff.”

Burks, a four-year starter, noted he visited with Craddock after Arkansas’ home loss to North Texas.

“I talked with Coach Craddock,” Burks said. “He was down a little bit, but I think they are going to get it going.”

Miller, who chose Arkansas over Tennessee, Missouri, Memphis and others, agreed and pointed to a fellow commitment in Sardis, Miss., North Panola quarterback KJ Jefferson.

“We have got a good class in 2019,” Miller said. “It is going to be a good class. Coach Morris is waiting on us. I think the quarterback (Jefferson) is better than the other ones and he is going to run the offense better, like Chad Morris likes.”

Miller has a few reasons Fayetteville’s the place for him to play his college football.

“It felt like home, they have got good fishing and the coaches treat you like you are their own son,” Miller said.

Warren, ranked No. 1 in Arkansas Class 4A, improved to 3-0 on Friday night by jumping out to a 35-0 first-quarter lead at Crossett, pushing that to 49-0 midway through the second quarter and then taking out Burks, Miller and others in what turned into a 49-24 final.

Unofficially, Burks had three catches for 64 yards with a 44-yard touchdown, rushed a couple of times for 13 yards, returned a punt 40 yards and also booted a 49-yard punt in Friday’s win.

“Treylon does a lot for us,” Hembree said. “He is our Will linebacker, he is also our wideout, punts for us, returns kicks, returns punts for us. I thought he had a really good game tonight.”

Miller had five tackles unofficially, including one fumble forced and recovered on the Crossett 3-yard line that Warren immediately turned into a touchdown.

“I thought Marcus probably had his best game of the year tonight,” Hembree said. “That’s just from me watching. I haven’t watched film yet, but he is a big guy, he can run and his upside is really good.”

Hembree was intent on his team coming out strong after bad first halves at Crossett in both 2014 and 2016.

“I thought we came out early the last couple of times that we over in ’14 and ’16 and did not come out play very well in the first half,” Hembree said. “We made some adjustments and played better in the second half.

“Tonight our kids came out and really worked the game plan. Outside of the first drive on offense in the first half when we drove and didn’t score, we played really well. I think we have up one first down while our starters were out there on defense and I thought we moved the ball and spread it around well.”

After a strange ending last season in the Class 4A state title game that Warren players, coaches and fans will always believe robbed them of a fifth state championship, the Lumberjacks are playing this season with a vengeance.

Arkadelphia defeated Warren 28-27 last December in a state championship battle in which the Lumberjacks were driving for a potential game-winning touchdown when one of their fans ran out on the field, prompting a unsportsmanlike penalty.

A last-ditch pass into the end zone was intercepted. Burks scored two touchdown catches that day, and also had 16 tackles.

“It drives us a lot,” Burks said. “We feel like it was taken away from us. So we are going to work hard to get back there and hopefully get the job done.”

The Lumberjacks defeated Batesville Southside 49-26 in the Hooten's Kickoff Classic to open the 2018 season and led Stuttgart 9-0 in the second quarter in Week 2 before the game was called due to weather.

Warren has since defeated Dollarway 43-0 and dominated Crossett.

“We are on a mission,” Miller said. “It didn’t end like we wanted it to last season, we lost by one point. So we are on a mission to get back.”

Burks noted Warren was intent on throwing a knockout punch early.

“We came out pumped,” Burks said. “…The last couple of years when we came down here we were down at halftime, something crazy would happen and we would be down. We just put it on our shoulders to end it early.”

Miller agreed that a fast start was the goal.

“The past couple of years Coach Bo said we didn’t come out as hard,” Miller said. “So we tried our best to come out hard and we got up on them.”


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