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In-State Tour: Omaha Burke

2022 is the 19th year of the HuskerOnline In-State Tour. Every February since 2004, HuskerOnline profiles the top up-and-coming prospects in the state of Nebraska.

This year our In-State Tour was broken up into two events in Omaha and Lincoln as we profiled all the top prospects in the state.

Our next stop of the 2022 In-State Tour takes us to Omaha Burke, where the Bulldogs have one of the top 2025 prospects in the region.

2022 In-State Tour: Gretna | Elkhorn South | Omaha North | Elkhorn

Head coach: Paul Limongi (Just recently named Omaha Westside head coach)

2021 record: 8-3 (Class A quarterfinals)

Season rewind: "Our motto going in the last year was return with vengeance. We felt that in 2020 when we had a great team with 26 seniors, we had a chance to win it all, and losing that year hurt us. This past team just took it by the reins wanted to really return to state competition on a high level. I think we did, they worked their tails off.

"It was a process, took some time because we had to rebuild everything. All our pillars had to be rebuilt. We had to reestablish what our identity was, and that took some time. Having the season we did getting better every day and every week and finishing in the second round of the playoffs only losing a couple of games to some elite teams was truly amazing. I'm very proud of what that team accomplished."

Jones is one of the top 2025 prospects in Nebraska 

Limongi on LB Christian Jones: "We had a few freshmen play for us last year and a lot of it was circumstances with COVID, but Christian would've played for us any year. He just had the size, the skill level, the maturity to come in and make an impact right away. His first varsity start was at outside linebacker against Bellevue West and he played very, very well. Played the whole game and played special teams. He just has a knack for the game of football. He works his tail off. Very savvy and smart, does all the intangibles. He really dominates the things he can control and his best football is ahead of him. He just needs to keep getting better keep learning and stay hungry and he's going to be a great one.

"We make highlight tapes for our guys and I think we made one for Christian and going through Twitter somebody picked up on it and got some discussion about him with guys at Nebraska, and once they looked at him and evaluated some film and met him, they were like, 'Yes, this kid's a good one here.'"

Jones's take: "I think I'm more of an edge guy because I still got the speed behind me a little bit. I'm pretty lengthy, so I don't think I'll end up on the line or anything, so I will just stay on the edge.

"I think just taking on blockers and not being scared of just getting blocked is my strength. I was able to rush the quarterback pretty well and just get to the running back pretty well.

Recruiting: Jones has early scholarship offers from Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa State and Kansas. He also is being recruited by both Iowa and Wisconsin.

"It's too early to have a set plan on where I'm going to go," Jones said. "I'm just going to see whatever God takes me and go from there.

"I was very surprised when Nebraska offered first. I was like, 'Did that really just happen?" I could not believe it, because Barrett Ruud was like, 'I think we're going to pull the trigger and I was just staring off. I was like, 'Did that really happen?' It was just crazy, but yes, the next day my phone blew up, all my family said congratulations, it was a big deal being a Nebraska boy and getting a Nebraska offer as a freshman, so yes, it was pretty cool."

Jones added he keeps in regular contact with Ruud more than any coach.

"I talk to Barrett Ruud every Monday night, I talk to him a lot," Jones said.

By the numbers: As a freshman, Jones had 49 total tackles, 11 TFLs, 5.5 quarterback sacks, one interception, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and four pass break-ups. Offensively he had 86 yards receiving for one touchdown. In the classroom, Jones carries a 4.2 GPA.

Limongi on RB Mason Blankenship: "Tough kid. He's one of those kids that bleeds Burke football and he's a great athlete, very explosive, very strong, very physical could play a variety of positions from running back slot receiver, defensive back to even linebacker. He had some injuries last year but the plays that he made when he was healthy were outstanding. He's a great leader. He's a great student. He's over 4.0 and could be one of our captains. We're excited about him."

Blankenship's take: "I just like playing all over. I love playing downhill and then I love playing in coverage too."

Recruiting: Blakenship will be at Nebraska's Junior Day this weekend in Lincoln. He also is being recruited by Iowa State, Northwestern, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, South Dakota, North Dakota, St. Thomas, Columbia and Dartmouth.

By the numbers: Blankenship played in just five games in 2021 due to an injury. He's been clocked at 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 36 inches in the vertical. He also carries a 4.13 GPA in the classroom.

Limongi's take on DB Za'Kye Parrott: "He's a big young kid, he's a phenomenal safety for us. Only played two games last year. He tore his ACL against Kearney in the middle of the second game and he was playing outstanding. He has great, great leverage on playing that center field safety for us. Great range. Plays the ball very well and he's a hitter. I think once schools start picking up on him and learning about him and finding out what he can do, he's a D-I- we're so excited to have him play on both sides of ball this year."

Parrott's take: "I see myself being more of like a safety at the next level. Definitely got to put on some weight on for the next level. I could see myself moving back to an outside linebacker position."

Recruiting: Parrot has heard from South Dakota, Northern Illinois, South Dakota State and North Dakota State.

By the numbers: The 6-foot-4, 175 pound Parrott started his high school career out at Omaha Bryan, before transferring to Burke. He tore his ACL in the second game last season.

Limongi's take on TE Cayden Echternach: "Cayden has the size and started every game at tight end for us and made some key catches. He's getting better at his blocking, but we can split him out a little bit, we could bring him in, we could wrap him on different powerplays. He's having a good year and he does a lot of extra things to really fine-tune his talents. He wants to be good. He might play some defensive end for us as well, so we're excited about him."

Recruiting: Echternach has been invited to Junior Days at Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota State, South Dakota, Northern Illinois and South Dakota State. He plans to camp or make visits to Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska's Friday Night Lights, Iowa, Iowa State, Florida State and the Mega Camp in St. Louis.

By the numbers: The 6-foot-3, 240 pound Echternach had 10 catches for 190 yards. He's been clocked at 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash and jumps a 32 inch vertical. He carries a 3.1 GPA in the classroom.

Limongi's take on OL Payton McDonald: "Payton gained a bunch of experience last year. Started every game at guard, got better. He's even bigger and stronger this year. He's also an honor student he's above 4.0. He wrestled this year. We're expecting him to be a dominant force on both sides of the line scrimmage for us. He is a big, strong kid who's is going to do whatever we ask. He's a great one. He's got some good measurables. He's got a shot at that next level."

By the numbers: The 6-foot-3, 300 pound McDonald carries a 3.7 GPA in the classroom and has gotten a few smaller schools look his way in recruiting. He runs 5.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Limongi's take on DT Cameron Bell: "Cam started as a freshman. It's hard to start at an interior guard spot as a true freshman. He has the size and he's probably our strongest kid on the team. Very strong, very physical, and has a nastiness to him that we love. He'll be a two-way guy. He'll play our nose from our 3-4 defense. He'll be a two-gap player and he'll play guard as well, he's just starting out and he's just getting going. We're expecting him to be a dominant player."

By the numbers: The 2025 prospect will be someone to keep tabs on in the future depending on how his body develops. He carries a 3.3 GPA in the classroom.