This week, ESPNDallas.com spotlights five of the top quarterbacks returning to Friday night football in 2011.
School, class: Highland Park, Sr.
2010 Stats: 126-for-176, 1,945 yards, 15 TDs, 6 INTS
Burgin had the opportunity to get significant playing time at quarterback at Dallas Highland Park as a junior in 2010, splitting time with senior Jake Howeth. For the majority of the season Burgin, a strict pocket passer, would take control of the Scots offense in the second and fourth quarters, only relinquishing his position to Howeth, who was a running threat, during those quarters in short-yardage or high-pressure situations.
Highland Park head coach Randy Allen changed his season-long quarterback strategy when his team fell behind to Mesquite Poteet in the regional round of the 4A Division II playoffs at Cowboys Stadium, leaving Burgin in at quarterback for the entire second half. While Highland Park would go on to lose, that experience gave Burgin a taste of the high-pressure atmosphere he will be more likely to face as the full-time starter this year.
Burgin’s biggest asset going into his senior season is the experience he gained splitting time with now-graduated Howeth. That includes developing a connection with his receiving corps, Howeth said, which returns two top pass-catchers from 2010 in Dalton Stogner and William Morris.
“Brady is a great thrower and a really good leader,” Howeth said. “The thing I like about him, he’s a good leader. He gets the guys together and throws all the time with them. He has a great sense of camaraderie with is receivers.”
Beyond the intangibles, Burgin flat out has skill. His ability to sit back in the pocket and manage the traditional Highland Park offense fits right in to Allen’s plan for the Scots in 2011.
“He is a good drop-back passer and he runs play action spread-outs very well,” Allen said. “He can run the ball, but passing is his strength.”
The only question that remains for Burgin in 2011 is how he will preform in pressure situations. While he will no longer have Howeth to help pick up that key first down or short-yardage touchdown, Burgin is not alone. Allen said he worked senior running back Preston Miller at quarterback in a wildcat formation through spring ball, which will give the Scots a Howeth-like threat in short-yardage situations.
Burgin and Highland Park will be thrown into the fire in the first game of the season when they face a very athletic Everman defense at SMU. The Scots' other big test is the first game in October against Wylie’s aggressive defense.
As usual, Highland Park will be a very complete team with the ability to maintain a balanced attack that will keep any defense off guard, relieving some of the pressure from Burgin to carry the offense in his first year as a full-time starter.