Four-star offensive lineman Matthew Burrell found himself amongst one of the best groups of offensive and defensive linemen you'll see at any camp in the country on Saturday. And after hours of hustle and hard work, Burrell found himself honored as the offensive line MVP amongst extremely steep competition.
"I've been working on flexibility. I've gotten a lot more flexible, a lot faster, a lot stronger. I've had this date marked down for a while," Burrell said headed into Saturday's action. "It's great to get out here and compete for a shot at The Opening. I'm out to have fun and compete. I'm here to show off, but not too much."
When everything was said and done from Saturday's action, Burrell wasn't just the best of a loaded group of o-linemen; he was also bound for Nike's annual super combine, The Opening 2014.
"The in-state schools, LSU, Bama, Ohio State, Penn State. Those are just a couple I can just jot down real quick," the Woodbridge, Virginia product said of the many schools showing him love. Burrell was careful not to name any front runners though, but said he had a list in mind. "Probably after this weekend," he said for when that group would start to really come together.
Recent trips to Penn State, Ohio State, and Virginia have started to help the big tackle/guard get a sense for the recruiting landscape. Though PSU may have been somewhat an afterthought earlier in his process, James Franklin's arrival has definitely caught his attention.
"Penn State was great. Coach Franklin and his staff, they're overall a great staff. It's just charismatic up there. There's a lot of energy," Burrell said of the suddenly revitalized situation in Happy Valley. "Coach Franklin, the number one recruiting class in the country. One of my best friends is committed there," Burrell mentioned as some of the reasons for what was starting to make PSU more special.
But in terms of the biggest programs on a list of potential destinations that includes Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Texas, and Notre Dame, Burrell seemed to lit up a bit when Ohio State was mentioned.
"Ohio State, another veteran group of guys. Coach Meyer is a great guy as well. Relationships are really big for me," he emphasized.
The Buckeyes' biggest rival got into the act recently, however. Offering the big C.D. Hylton High School lineman.
"I got an offer from Michigan," Burrell said. "That Team Up North?" he joked. "Possibly [I would consider them.] Possibly."
"I visited last year and they didn't offer me. But they got the numbers right and offered me," he said of Brady Hoke's program.
Regarding whether or not the Wolverines' shake up in the offensive brain trust would change anything in his perception of the program, "[Coach Nussmeier]'s pretty cool. I definitely like the way he coaches; very productive [system]. I have to get to know him more personally."
He shifted the conversation back to Ohio State again, reflecting on the positive weekend he spent in Columbus a week prior. "The visit to Ohio State was great. They've got great energy. I love it. They treated me well." Tight end Chris Clark, who was checking out OSU at the same time, was also somebody Burrell made an immediate connection with. "Me and Chris? Probably might go to the same school. I can see that."
With 283 days between now and National Signing Day 2015, Burrell seems set to take his process one day at a time and make sure he's doing his due diligence before making a huge decision about the next three to five years of his life. As far as his visit plans for this summer, "I'm gonna make an SEC round. Don't know which ones I'm going to visit through there, but I'm definitely going to take some."