Welcome to Buckeyes Crootin’ 2022 Class-In-Review, with me, Shane Bailey — or as many of you may know me @BuckeyesCrootin on Twitter. In this series I will be discussing and highlighting the strengths of all of the 2022 Ohio State football commitments, along with what to expect when they get to Columbus. If you missed any of my prior articles, I covered RB Dallan Hayden right here, WR Kaleb Brown here, and Kyion Grayes here as well.
Current 2022 Offensive Commits
Caleb Burton - Lake Travis HS, Austin (Texas) - 6-foot, 165 lbs.
Caleb Burton is one of the most highly touted prospects in the nation, ranking 40th in the 247sports Composite, the number four wide receiver, and the 11th best prospect in the state of Texas. If you ask 247sports themselves, however, their specific rankings have him as the No. 9 overall player in the country, the second best WR, and the second best prospect in Texas. So, there’s obviously a bit of a disparity in their own rankings versus the composite ranking which combines 247, Rivals, and ESPN’s rankings. Not bad for a kid who didn’t start playing competitive football until middle school.
247sports analyst Gabe Brooks says that Burton compares well to NFL WR Jerry Jeudy, a former Alabama stand-out. I tend to lean more on the side of 247Sports opinion in that he is a top-10 prospect in the country, and I will tell you why.
Burton has offers from almost 40 different schools and is widely considered an absolutely elite playmaker in the state of Texas, a state which has been very kind to the Buckeyes. He is the son of Charles Burton, a former linebacker at Syracuse University. Burton was named to the All-American Bowl Roster, one of only a few handfuls of players chosen to compete in the high school all star game.
During his junior season, he suffered an unfortunate injury in the first game of the year that kept him sidelined, so much of his film comes from the start of his senior season, or his sophomore campaign at Del Valle High School in Dallas before he transferred to Lake Travis in Austin (the high school where Garrett Wilson came from as well). His last full season of football, he grabbed 50 catches for 906 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 18.12 yards per reception.
If route running was the name of the game for Kyion Grayes, contested catches is it for Burton. He has shown that he has not missed a beat so far in coming back from injury, and is consistently showing why he is still one of the nation’s best.
High-pointing the football when a jump-ball is thrown in the end zone is a skill that every receiver who strives to be a red zone nightmare wants to attain, but few players at the high school level do it as well as Burton. He has absolutely elite body control when in the air and his vision to be able to track the football all the way into his hands while his body is in midair is incredible. his uncanny ability to reposition himself when it seems that gravity should be working against him is truly a special sight to behold.
Burton has a Garrett Wilson type catch-radius at the same point in their respective careers. You see Wilson make these catches at ridiculous body angles such as the one in the Clemson game in 2019 (last ever mention of that one I promise) and are reminded of it when watching some of Burton’s plays.
With him now playing for the same coaches that Wilson did in his time at Lake Travis, I can see his trajectory mimicking a similar path to that of the star Buckeye wide receiver. Seeing as how he and Wilson are also offseason workout buddies, I am almost certain that he has been picking up some things from the future NFL draft pick. Texas seems to be the new pipeline for all-star caliber wideouts wanting to play for Brian Hartline.
His skills aren’t limited to being elite in the red zone however, as Burton is perfectly capable of stretching the field as a deep-threat or delivering yards after the catch in bunches. He has great burst off of the line of scrimmage and shows good acceleration when trying to reach his top gear and take the top off of the defense. The elite catch radius I mentioned earlier is what makes his deep ball skills so dangerous. Burton’s ability to not only track the ball mid-flight, but to contort his body into some insane positions to make receptions, makes him a nightmare for opposing cornerbacks to guard.
When watching his film, corners almost always want to give him a cushion in fear of getting beat deep, and that is where the route running aspect comes into play, as he makes decisive cuts and fakes to always keep the defender guessing and biting on his fakes.
This lends to why many think he also compares to Jeudy. As a coach’s son, Burton possesses an incredibly high football-IQ, and an understanding of coverages that may be thrown his way. This gives him a crucial head start when he gets to Columbus and shows he already has great practice and film-watching habits, which he surely enhanced during his junior season when he couldn’t get on the field due to the injury.
With Caleb Burton’s catch-radius, route running, and above average to elite separation skills, it’s easy to see why he is so highly touted and why Hartline and every Buckeye fan should be ecstatic for what they are getting in the Texas receiver.
Stay tuned next week for my article on the last, but certainly anything but least, wide receiver commit in the Buckeyes class of 2022 coming to Columbus, Kojo Antwi!