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All-American DL Victor Burley was at UGA on Saturday, January 15, 2022, for the national championship celebration. (Instagram)
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Victor Burley: 5-star in-state junior DL gushes over Georgia’s fans, its present and future

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This entry is about the latest with 5-star Warner Robins DL Victor Burley after he took all the sights and sounds of Georgia’s championship celebration on Saturday.

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The first real Victor Burley story on DawgNation.com has to be about a stop.

It will require two stops, actually. The first will reflect something about the nation’s No. 6 DL and No. 33 overall recruit (247Sports Composite) that one would never find on a prospect database.

“I can see the cameras in the school building,” Warner Robins coach Marquis Westbrook said. “When the national anthem comes on in the hallways, he just so happened to be in the hallways one morning. Just a random morning when the bell rang. He stopped. Paused for the national anthem.”

“Then another kid walked by. He just held up that big paw. Told him to stop. The other kid stopped and nobody was watching. He’s doing stuff like that. He is a great young man and a great individual.”

Give him a helmet sticker for that one.

“Really for me, I am all about respect,” Burley said. “I try to show respect to elders. Veterans. That’s a form of respect to me. The Pledge of Allegiance is our respect for the United States of America. Our United States of America. I’m all about respect.”

The next story comes from the championship celebration Saturday at Sanford Stadium. It was another stop.

But this time the brakes were applied by Kirby Smart. It came when Burley was getting ready to leave before all of the recruits on hand were through taking pictures.

When he was making his way out of the locker room, Smart had his head on a swivel.

“On my way out, Kirby Smart saw me leaving and left the picture he was taking to come to talk to me and my family before we left,” Burley said.

The coach of the defending national champions then laid it down.

“Kirby Smart told me to win national championships like that you got to have great defensive players,” Burley said. “He said my class has some. He said ‘We need that to win another one’ and I was like ‘Man’ and Kirby really had me thinking.”

“He said ‘For us to win a national championship we need a great defense. Your class has it. We need players like you to be in our program so we can win another one.’”

Burley said his family “loved” their trip to Athens on Saturday.

Check out his junior highlight against a pair of No. 1 teams in Cartersville and Lee County below:

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Victor Burley: How much did the visit move the needle for Georgia?

Burley has just always loved the game. That’s would be his why.

“As a little kid, I was always physical,” he said. “So it just went along with who I am as a person on the field.”

His measurements from Georgia’s junior day:

  • Height: “6-foot-4 and some change,” he said.
  • Wingspan: “82 inches.”
  • Hand: “10 inches.”
  • Weight: “275 pounds.”

This was probably, he said, his fifth or sixth trip to Georgia. Yet this one was unique.

“Just seeing Georgia win a national championship,” he said. “It just felt different. It just felt different. You could feel all the energy that was coming from the coaches. All the players. Just that energy of happiness. Just celebration. Just that type of energy.”

Georgia finally knocked off Alabama. The Bulldogs won their first national championship in 41 years. Don’t think a 5-star like Burley didn’t pay a lot of attention to that.

“They showed me something this season,” said Burley, who was at the season opener. “After that first game against Clemson, I was like Georgia is going all the way. I said that. That was it. That was how it went.”

Did Georgia help itself with that weekend championship celebration visit?

“Yeah, it did,” he said. “They were making great points.”

What does he like best about Georgia now?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I really don’t know. That’s a hard question.”

He went on to share a few.

“Oh man, the fans,” he said. “I’ve never seen it. After being around that parade, I’ve never seen it. I always knew Georgia fans were like that. But after being at a parade and seeing all of them I was like ‘Man these fans are a different breed of fans’ at Georgia.”

What is he looking for in his best college fit?

“Just seeing the community,” he said. “Just the relationship between coaches and players. Especially one thing I will emphasize is academics. But Georgia has that. Georgia has all of that with academics.”

He wants to major in Kinesiology. The aim is to be a sports trainer or a physical therapist so he can always be around the game.

He said hosting recruits at a championship parade “was the ultimate flex” for Georgia.

“Woo,” he said. “I felt great just touching the national championship trophy. Technically, I did give it a kiss. I kissed my fingers and then wiped them on the trophy. That counts, right?”

His decision likely won’t narrow until this summer. It would not be likely to see him make his college commitment before this summer. Or even at the start of his senior year.

Of course, all of that is subject to change. It usually does.

All-American DL Victor Burley was at UGA on Saturday, January 15, 2022, for the national championship celebration. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Jeff Sentell, Dawgnation

The schools in the mix for Victor Burley

Which schools does he feel like are really prioritizing him?

“Clemson, Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee and Alabama,” he said.

Clemson and Georgia look to have built long-lasting relationships with Burley at this time. There was another moment with Smart that he said was the best part of his visit.

“When I saw Kirby was able to pick up the crystal football, I think that was my favorite part,” Burley said. “To see the coach that has been recruiting me since my ninth-grade year to win a national championship, that was it. That was my favorite part.”

Defensive line coach Tray Scott has also established himself in this recruitment, too.

“Coach Tray,” Burley said, “That’s my ‘Dawg right there. That’s my ‘Dawg. There’s no beating around the bush. That’s my ‘Dawg right there.”

“He just keeps it real. He treats me like family even though I am not even there. I am not even committed. He just treats me like family. Like I am a part of his family. Like I grew up with him. Like I grew up with him raising me. Do you know what that is like?”

Burley said he will visit Tennessee next week. Clemson will get another trip on Jan. 29. He’s working to be an early enrollee, but he’s not sure yet.

“I just want to have that choice to graduate early,” Burley said. “If I do, I will. But if I don’t, I will just stay here and keep taking college courses and getting ready.”

Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with UGA names like Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockon and Brock Vandagriff here.

All-American DL Victor Burley was at UGA on Saturday, January 15, 2022, for the national championship celebration. (Instagram)
Instagram, Dawgnation

Victor Burley: The other good stuff to know about this 5-star

“Big Vic” grew up appreciating NFL Hall of Fame DE Reggie White, among others.

“Vic is a really humble kid,” Westbrook said this fall. “For him to have the notoriety that he has, he stays humble. A lot of kids have it go to their heads. I’ve never gotten to coach a 5-star, but he is a kid who never lets it go to his head. He’s a kid who will help clean up in the locker room. Needless to say, man, his effect isn’t just on the field.”

Burley was thrown into the fire against Colquitt County as a freshman. He wound up starting that game because another player went down. He had primarily just been dressing out with the varsity to that point.

“We ended up losing the ballgame and he never hung his head,” Westbrook said. “Just kept working. When we got back from the game that night, he was the first one in there in the locker room. Helping clean up in the locker room. I was thinking he’s just a freshman. He didn’t know that he just played and didn’t really have to clean up the locker room. That was for the guys who don’t really play much. The young guys. But he never stopped doing it. He does it all the time now.”

Burley will play some TE and some H-Back for his state championship Demons, too. He caught a 24-yard pass this past season.

It was interesting to see his role change from an impact pass rusher as a sophomore to his junior season. He was named a MaxPreps All-American after 59 tackles, 46 hurries, 22 tackles for losses and 11 sacks in 2020.

“Coming out of that year, my coach talked to me and said ‘You had a great season. But just know teams are going to scheme against you now’ and ‘that will open up everything else for the rest of our defense but they will be scheming against you’ so I took that to mind into the offseason,” he said. “Especially with how we started the season off, I was already getting double-teamed and triple-teamed and I knew that was it.”

“I was like ‘that is what type of season this is going to be’ and I’m glad I really got my mind wrapped around getting doubled and tripled and not making every play. That’s what I have teammates for. It was more of a team player role for me this year. But I’m always like that. It was really good seeing my teammate eat this year even though I didn’t have the same stats I did last year.”

“It was just really so good seeing my teammates eat this year.”

Burley racked up 54 tackles and 14 stops for losses in 14 games in 2021. His stat line also included five sacks and an eye-popping 53 hurries.

“He drew a lot of doubles and was letting a lot of other guys come free,” Westbrook said during the 2021 season. “But then he is running down backs on the back end. They will run to the boundary and he’s able to get flat and get downhill and chase a lot of things down from the backside. He’s upping everybody else’s production by drawing those doubles.”

The Demons could scheme with him at DE or at DT. They knew teams wouldn’t run right at him.

It will allow a savvy play-caller at times to kind of count on manipulation on the offensive side. Warner Robins would know teams would run away from Burley even with that double team.

He looks like a “3″ or a “5″ technique on Saturdays. Georgia sees him as a hybrid interior player in its front. Burley can excel at a lot of spots.

That respect for America comes from a military background. Both of his grandfathers served our country.

He also spends his time with a group called “Partners Club” at Warner Robins. He described it as “true joy” getting to work with special needs high school students in his community.

“I’ve been in Partners Club since my eighth-grade year,” Burley said. “I’ve always loved working with them. This past week Thursday and Friday I was at the winter Special Olympics refereeing in that.”

He goes back even farther than that with those kids.

“My sixth grade year I had a friend that was in that class,” Burley said. “He just made my day every day. He came up to me every day and gave me a hug. Gave me a smile. It just warmed my heart. I kept that with me and then my eighth-grade year that’s when they allowed me to be in it. I was like ‘Man, I want to do this’ and it just warms my heart every time I’m able to be there in that class with them.”

Georgia needs more players like Burley for its front. No doubt.

But it also has above five vacancies off its 2021 team for championship leaders in its locker room, too.

Burley checks both of those boxes. That’s why he’s as big of a recruit as its gets for Georgia in this next cycle.

All-American DL Victor Burley was at UGA on Saturday, January 15, 2022, for the national championship celebration. (Instagram)
Instagram , Dawgnation

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