Missouri has picked up its first commitment for the 2013 recruiting class from a longtime fan of the program.
Linebacker Joe Burkett (Jefferson City, Mo.) gave a verbal pledge to the Tigers after attending Missouri’s junior day Saturday afternoon. A 6-foot-3, 200-pound weakside linebacker who lives roughly 30 miles away from campus, Burkett was recruited by defensive coordinator Dave Steckel and wide receivers coach Andy Hill.
“Living in Jeff City, you’re around Mizzou a lot,” Burkett said. “I went to a lot of games when I was younger. I went to the basketball game here, and the crowd and everyone were amazing. It’s an incredible atmosphere. It was a pretty easy decision.”
Burkett said finding out that Steckel and Hill were players' coaches only made the decision easier. He’s been to a couple of Missouri camps and has had the opportunity to speak with both coaches.
“I’ve met them several times. They’re pretty awesome,” he said. “Just watching them, they’ll do anything for anybody. I’d like to be a part of that.”
Burkett, who could see time at outside linebacker in college, is a three-year letterwinner for Jefferson City and coach Ted LePage. As good of a football player he is, however, Burkett may be a better track and field standout, as he is one of the state’s elite pole vaulters.
Burkett has vaulted 15 feet, 9 inches during summer competition, and he has plans on eclipsing the Jefferson City school record of 15-7¼ this spring. He said he will continue pole vaulting throughout the rest of his high school career -- even after being Missouri’s first 2013 football commit.
“That’s special to me,” Burkett said of being No. 1. “The whole experience is pretty cool.”