*Burks’ path to being a receiver was an unexpected one. During his sophomore season at Warren High School, one of the top receiving targets for the team suffered a torn ACL. During a similar timeframe, Burks also broke his hand during the second game of the season.
*Forced into action at wideout, he played that game and nearly finished with 300 receiving yards while having a large white cast on his hand. Burks finished his high school career with 3,403 receiving yards and 43 touchdowns.
*A three-sport athlete (baseball and basketball), he was a consensus 4-star prospect that was graded as the top prospect in the state of Arkansas. Burks was named as an all-state baseball player during his sophomore and junior seasons.
*Tore his ACL during his senior season (Oct. 2018), which kept him from participating in baseball during his final year.
Scheme tendencies: No huddle, up-tempo offense that incorporates a mixture of personnel groupings, but mainly 11, 20, and 21 personnel sets.
2021 projected role: Third-year starting wide receiver that’s expected to have an even bigger role as the centerpiece of the team’s offense.
Pros: Burks is a maturely built wide receiver prospect whose game is reflective of his stature. The Razorbacks treat him more along the lines of an H-Back hybrid instead of a true slot or perimeter receiver. He plays from a lot of different alignments, but his most consistent has been from the slot (82% of snaps in 2020). Containing strong hands, he’s capable of snagging the ball away from his body even if it’s outside of the strike zone. Burks is a frequent pre-snap mover as the team attempts to isolate him on favorable matchups. He’s often seen being involved in motions from the slot to the exterior, short motions to the hip of offensive tackles, and funky orbit motions that places stress on defenses in man-to-man coverage situations. As a route-runner, when asked to attack the intermediate-to-deep areas, Burks is savvy with working his initial route stems to set up where he wants to attack (touchdown on bench route vs. Georgia, 2020). Extra with his plant foot in routes, he over-exaggerates when redirecting at the top of routes with head fakes, which creates panic moments from corners when backpedaling. When given free releases against zone coverage, he’s strong with fighting through second-level releases. Confidently avoiding re-route attempts from second-level defenders, he’s been able to generate explosive plays on vertical concepts. Utilizing a mature frame combined with his instincts as a return specialist, Burks has plenty of body armor. This has boosted his ability to immediately turn into a natural tackle-breaker after the ball is in his possession. He’s capable of stepping through tackles, but he also performs an effective stiff-arm with either arm to create extra opportunities.
Cons: Because Burks is the engine of the team’s offense, he is placed in a lot of various places even if it doesn’t directly correlate to his skill set. Because of his constant movement, he hasn’t been able to settle into a finite area to focus solely on developing there. When placed in the slot, his route tree was very basic and vanilla (36 of 68 targets consisted of slants, screens, or quick outs). There may be more branches on the route tree that he’s capable of, but it remains a mystery due to the basic concepts involved in the scheme. The biggest area of improvement that will need to come from Burks is the variety of his releases. Because of the offense moving him in multiple areas, his release package remains unknown. When playing in the slot, he wasn’t often challenged at the line of scrimmage. The branches on his route tree that he feels the most comfortable with running are all in the underneath areas, but when asked to win deep, he’s proven to be capable of doing so—but the reps have been widely spread out of him winning solely based on his own doing. He contains speed, but his top-end ability has limited some of his explosive plays from ending in touchdowns. He’s not an overly great change-of-direction player as there are lots of extra/stutter steps in between changing his desired directions when the ball is in his possession.