Ryan Burns’ high school career at Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) didn’t start off exactly like he had hoped.
After he moved to Virginia from Jackson, Wyo., prior to his freshman year, the talented signal-caller only saw the field in mop-up duty during his first two seasons while playing behind current Virginia Tech quarterback Brian Rody. And during one of his brief appearances as a sophomore, Burns landed on his left shoulder awkwardly after being pushed out of bounds.
The result was a fractured shoulder, and Burns needed surgery to have the chipped bone screwed back in place. As a result, the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder had to miss the rest of the season.
But after months of physical therapy, Burns made it back to impress at the Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp last April in State College, Pa.
And this past fall, in his first season as a starter, Burns showcased the talent that’s earned him a five-star rating in RecruitingNation’s look at the Top 100 recruits in the Class of 2013.
Burns’ skills have always been evident to talent evaluators — he earned a scholarship offer from Boston College the summer prior to his sophomore year despite never taking a snap as a varsity starter. Since then, he’s earned offers from Rutgers, Virginia, West Virginia, Penn State and Stanford.
This offseason, Burns is hoping those skills earn him a spot in this year’s Elite 11 finals.
ESPNHS: How did it help you playing behind Brian Rody?
Burns: I learned from him on how to handle myself on the field and to be a great leader. By watching him, I got a feel for what a Stone Bridge quarterback is like. He’s a guy I want to be like.
ESPNHS: How difficult was it to miss most of your sophomore year?
Burns: That was terrible. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office and I broke down. It taught me that I have to play every game like it’s my last. It was a lot of doing nothing. I missed a lot of school, too. It was an awful feeling all around.
ESPNHS: What’s it like going through the recruiting process with (RecruitingNation four-star recruit) Jonathan Allen?
Burns: It helps. It brings both of us more exposure. If coaches come in to see one of us, they’re going to see the other one, too. Luckily, we don’t do contact in practice — that would be tough. He’s a great player. I’m glad I’m not playing against him. He’s a freak.
ESPNHS: How shocked were you to get a scholarship offer before starting on varsity?
Burns: That was definitely a big surprise. I was just going out there to see what the competition was like. I didn’t expect an offer, but I’ll take it.
ESPNHS: How do you feel you performed at last year’s Elite 11 regional?
Burns: I did pretty well, but I definitely think I could have done better in some events. Those are some of the best quarterbacks I’ve been around. It was a great experience.
ESPNHS: How motivated are you to make this year’s Elite 11 finals?
Burns: I’m always looking to compete. The Elite 11 has a great tradition and a lot of great quarterbacks have come through there. I’d love to be a part of it.
School: Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.)
2011 Team Record: 10-2 (lost in Northern Region Division 6 semifinals)