It has been awhile since Miami Northwestern High had one of its best football players go to the University of Miami.
Not since the famous group from the Bulls’ 2007 national championship team that included Sean Spence, Tommy Streeter, Brandon Washington and Jacory Harris have the Hurricanes signed a recruit from Northwestern.
Senior defensive back Artie Burns announced Monday he plans to end that drought on National Signing Day.
Sitting next to his mother, Dana Smith, and his coach, Stephen Field, at a table set up center stage at Northwestern’s school auditorium, Burns put on a UM cap and committed.
Burns (6-1, 183 pounds), rated the 69th overall prospect in the nation regardless of position by ESPN, becomes UM’s first defensive back commitment so far for the Class of 2013.
“I chose UM because I feel like they’re on the road to get back to where they were in the 1980s, and I want to be a part of the great tradition of defensive backs at the school,” Burns said.
Burns is an elite track and field hurdler posting the best time in the nation in the 110-meter hurdles (13.35) and 300 hurdles (36.06). He said he plans to compete in both sports at UM.
Northwestern has produced 16 recruits who have signed with FBS schools since the famous Class of 2008. Burns hopes to convince other top South Florida recruits to follow him to Coral Gables.
Burns has the ability to play cornerback or safety, but the Hurricanes could choose to pair him on the outside with freshman and former Miramar High star Tracy Howard. Burns mentioned Ed Reed as the type of player he hopes to become at UM.
“I want to tell the top recruits in South Florida to stay home,” Burns said. “I want to be the greatest defensive back UM’s ever had.”
Burns said he picked the Hurricanes over LSU, and also had seriously considered Florida State, Southern California and Louisville.
Burns isn’t the first Northwestern football player to choose a school so far this summer.
Junior wide receiver Jojo Robinson committed last week to FSU. Robinson, who is considered an all-around athlete with tremendous speed, is one of the top local athletes of the Class of 2014.
Also, senior offensive lineman Gerald Wright recently committed to Marshall. Wright, a 6-2, 320-pound guard for the Bulls entered the summer with no offers. Senior center Joe Jenkins has also committed to McNeese State.
Field, who is entering his first season as Northwestern’s coach, took his players on a trip during the summer during which they trained in several southeastern states, and got plenty of exposure in front of college scouts. Field also said all of his varsity players on the roster heading into the season are academically eligible.
“We took a 12-day trip where I took 54 of my players all over the country to give these young men an opportunity to see different colleges and universities,” Field said. “We trained at different colleges and high schools and it was a trip of a lifetime for these kids.”
Field said former Miami Dolphin and UM offensive lineman Vernon Carey joined the Bulls coaching staff this month. Northwestern refurbished its on-campus weight room with money donated by Carey, a Northwestern alum, and named it in his honor.
Carey will be a co-coach on the Bulls’ offensive line. Former UM receiver Brett Perriman, also a Bulls’ graduate, will coach receivers this season. And defensive coordinator Luther Campbell has remained on staff.