On Friday, Syracuse received a surprising commitment from offensive tackle Jonathan Burton out of Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union (VA). While not much was known about what the Orange have in the 6-foot-8 prospect, CuseNation.com found some film and broke down the incoming player.
Burton is imposing on film. His large 6-foot-8, 310-pound frame stands out. He combines that size with great strength. Burton dominates his man with his strength, driving his man to the turf. He is able to open up running lanes when he's blocking playside, and seal his man away from the play.
In pass protection, Burton shows solid use of his hands to keep defenders at bay. His footwork is decent, but could use some work. There is a tendency to rely on his long arms too much, and reach at his opponent rather than dictating with proper footwork and hand technique. On those occasions, his hips can get turned the wrong way, causing him to lose leverage. But his size and strength cover that up to some degree.
Burton's strength stands out the most on tape. He can be dominant at the point of attack, frequently knocking defensive lineman and linebackers to the ground. He utilizes that strength in both the run game and passing game, driving his defender with solid leg work.
Also impressive is Burton's speed. For a big guy, he can really move. This allows him to get to the second level quickly, and attack linebackers or safeties to create the potential for big plays by the running back.
Burton projects as a bit of a project. The skills are there, but there are tendencies and techniques that need work. The combination of size, strength, and speed cannot be taught. With some work on refining his footwork in pass blocking and hand technique, Syracuse could have a potential star down the road.
Orange fans should be patient, however, as it will take some time before Burton reaches that level.