Burger gets Recognized as Preferred Walk-on
By John McCallister
(Editor’s Note: John McCallister is a long-time football scout and friend of the-Ozone. He is a former high school football coach and English teacher who has worked to provide the best information on Ohio's top high school football prospects since 1989).
Photo by Jim Davidson
Congrats to Ohio State preferred walk-on Joe Burger on being the eighth freshman to have his black stripe removed from his helmet. I have not taken the time to really find out all the details of the black helmet tape removal. Obviously, it is one of Urban Meyer's motivational ideas for the incoming freshman.
Burger, a 6-1 228-pound linebacker, is from Cincinnati LaSalle High School. A preferred walk-on is promised to be one of the 106 to report for the beginning of fall practice. He has done well enough to be rewarded by the Ohio State coaches.
I liked the comments of OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell on Joe Burger's impact thus far:
“When you come in, those stars all those things you had in recruiting, don't matter,” he said.
“It's about what you do here. We don't care what you did before, it's what you do now and how you can help this team. There's a bunch of ways you can help this team, and we're proud to say Joe helped this team in a lot of different ways.”
I respect Luke Fickell and I liked his comments for two reasons. One, he is stroking a "preferred walk-on" and recognizes that getting it done on the field is what it is all about.
If you are a preferred walk-on, at times, your life will be miserable, but if you work really hard and the timing is right, you have a chance.
Second, for the most part the “star system,” is just a marketing tool. The star system excites fans and alumni and is used as a recruiting tool for some college programs, but as a true test of a recruit's ability, the system largely is overrated.
Hopefully, Joe Burger's losing the “black helmet stripe,” will motivate other walk-ons at Ohio State, as well as this year's Class of 2013. With hard work and good timing, a preferred walk-on has a chance to make it.
Maybe not a high percentage, but at least, a chance. Every college has preferred walk-ons who are a very important part of the success of the football program. It looks like Joe Burger could be on that path.
*John McCallister is the founder of McCallister Scouting Report (MSR Ohio). If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out more of his work at http://msrohio.blogspot.com/.
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