SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The comparisons between Brian Burns and former Florida defensive end Alex McCalister are warranted.
Both stand a hair above 6-foot-5 and possess the versatility needed to rush off the edge as a hybrid outside linebacker. For those reasons and others, Burns, a four-star defensive end from Plantation, Fla., has Florida among his final three schools.
“Alex had success there and he puts you in the mind frame of me,” Burns told SEC Country. “That lets me know it’s possible for me to have success the same way that he did.”
On Monday, Burns confirmed to SEC Country he had trimmed down his top schools to Florida, UGA and Florida State, respectively. He will officially visit the Gators (Jan. 24) and the Seminoles (Jan. 29) in the coming weeks.
“They’re still among my top schools,” Burns said of Florida. “I feel comfortable with them. I’m just making sure that when I take my officials, I know exactly where I want to go.”
Burns, the No. 6 weakside defensive end in the country, says his relationship with defensive line coach Chris Rumph has grown considerably in recent months. The two communicate often and about everything — from utilizing his skill set in the same way as McCalister to topics other than football.
“My relationship with Coach Rumph is really good,” Burns said. “He’s a cool coach. We talk all the time. I like him because we don’t always talk about football. He teaches me life morals right now and we’re not even together.”
Burns’ return trip to Gainesville, Fla., in the next few weeks will mark his second visit since November, when he took in Florida’s contest against Florida State. Despite the 27-2 loss, Burns has been impressed by the defense’s performance under first-year coordinator Geoff Collins, one of his lead recruiters.
“That defense was really good this year,” Burns said. “They always competed at a high level. They really seemed like they were hungry this year.”
Burns is expected to announce his decision on Feb. 3.