December 3, 2011

2013 DB talks Bama commitment

With the University of Alabama's 2012 class taking shape, the Crimson Tide added another piece to its 2013 class when Miami, Fla., defensive back Artie Burns committed to UA this week.

"I chose Alabama because I felt it was right for my future education-wise and sports-wise," Burns said. "Coach (Nick) Saban was telling me the majority of the football players that go there graduate, and one of my goals is to graduate. Also, Saban coaches the defensive backs, and I look forward to playing for him."

Burns called Coach Saban on Thursday to give him the good news.

"He said it was fantastic," Burns said. "He said it would be an honor for me to play for his team, and he would be happy to coach me."

The junior star already had offers from Florida, Florida State and West Virginia among others, but it was a visit to Tuscaloosa for the LSU game last month that put the Crimson Tide over the top.

"The fans showed their support," Burns said. "I saw some things I've never seen before. Some of the fans had Alabama decals on their cars, tattoos, and the stadium was rocking when the game was going on. In the game, Alabama played fast, hit hard and was physical."

It was his first visit to UA, and he made the trip with his teammate at Northwestern High School and fellow Alabama commitment Amari Cooper. Cooper, a Rivals100 wide receiver in the 2012 class, committed to the Crimson Tide back in September.

"We have a good bond, a good teammate bond," Burns said. "In practice, me and him go at it to try and make each other better for the game. It made me feel comfortable knowing that my teammate will be always be there (at Alabama). I can get into the groove easier."

As a junior at Northwestern, Burns finished with over 40 tackles, eight pass breakups and two interceptions. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound cornerback says his biggest strength is his speed and his knack for the football.

"He's a really great player," Northwestern quarterback E.J. Hilliard said. "I love playing with him. He has great energy. He has a nose for the ball, always around the football. He's exciting to watch. He makes a lot of plays that I just look and say 'wow.'"

With that blazing speed, Burns also competes on the high school track and field team and wants to continue to do that when he gets to Alabama. He met with UA track and field coach Dan Waters during his visit last month.

"I've always enjoyed track since I was young, and it helps me maintain my speed in the offseason for football," Burns said.

Burns becomes the fourth commitment in Alabama's 2013 class, joining Bradley Bozeman, Reuben Foster and O.J. Howard. He is the first defensive back in the class.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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