It’s Flipmas season, baby! For the uninitiated, this is the time of year where commitments begin to waver, and players tend to have some second thoughts right before signing day. For some, this has been months in the making. For others, a better opportunity presented itself at the 11th hour. For most, we’ll never know the truth.
For Marvin Burks, Jr., it feels like something that’s been in the works for quite some time. Burks, previously an Ole Miss commit, has visited Missouri a half-dozen times since he summer, including multiple visits this fall at Tigers games. There have been rumors for months that a flip was in play. Rumors became reality earlier this week when Burks officially announced his commitment to Missouri.
Burks is the the 11th rated safety in the country, the 198th ranked overall player in the country and the 9th rated player in the state of Missouri, according to Rivals. He is the 16th known commitment in the Tigers’ 2023 class, bringing the Rivals team ranking to 34th nationally. He’s the fifth known 4-star commit in this class, and the 16th blue chip high school player to commit to Missouri over the past three classes.
Where he fits: Well, let’s begin with a quick disclaimer. Burks has exactly one highlight available from his 2022 season: A 25-yard touchdown run. So, I’m relying on 2021 film in order to project how he’ll play in 2023. A lot of progress has almost certainly been made since 2021. So keep that in mind throughout the following breakdown. With that in mind, Burks appears to be another player who could fit the mold of the “STAR” position in Blake Baker’s defense. He has similar measurables (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) to Daylan Carnell and Martez Manuel (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) when both Carnell and Manuel were recruits.
Most of Burks’ highlights in 2021 were plays made at or near the line of scrimmage as a safety filling the alley. That certainly fits the criteria of what Baker is looking for from that position. It’s hard to know how he would/could translate to playing as a deep safety full-time, but it’s possible he could make such a transition based on his athletic profile. My best guess is he lands on the depth char at the STAR position.
When he’ll play: This is such a difficult question to answer in the midst of the portal madness. Missouri currently has Joseph Charleston, Jaylon Carlies, Tyler Hibbler, Daylan Carnell, Isaac Thompson and Ja’Marion Wayne at safety. Phillip Roche and Burks will add their names to that group next season. My assumption is we will wait at least a season before seeing Burks firmly in the fold, but a big year could prompt Carnell to bolt for the NFL, leaving he STAR position to a competition between Roche and Burks in 2024.
What it all means: The Tigers added another highly skilled player to arguably the most talented position on the roster. Keeping Charleston, Carlies and Carnell for 2023 is a massive win for Eli Drinkwitz. Adding talented depth behind them is exactly how you start to build a program, especially in the secondary. The secondary was completely devoid of talent when Drinkwitz arrived on campus. He’s changed that in just a few short years.