From acrobatic catches to clutch grabs, Burgess a big-play receiver for Georgia Southern

STATESBORO — Derwin Burgess Jr. can do extra. It is turn into anticipated of the huge receiver.

He confirmed flashes a real freshman final season for Georgia Southern — traditionally not a showcase for receivers, who have been blockers first within the run-heavy offensive schemes because the trendy soccer period’s extremely profitable rebirth on the college within the Nineteen Eighties.

Burgess caught 5 passes for 134 yards, together with a 46-yard landing, in a 38-30 win at Texas State on Nov. 13, 2021. It was a breakout efficiency that will not be duplicated final season. He totaled 17 receptions for 311 yards and that TD in 11 video games, together with three begins.

It is a new period in Statesboro in 2022 below the regime of head coach Clay Helton and offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis. The Eagles (2-0) are throwing the ball like no GS staff in historical past and are ranked close to the highest of the nation’s FBS packages in whole offense (second, 573 yards per recreation), passing offense (fourth, 388 common), move makes an attempt (second, 51 common) and scoring (fifth, 52 factors a recreation) whereas fiftieth in dashing offense (185-yard common).

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Georgia Southern huge receiver Derwin Burgess Jr. reaches to make a 12-yard landing seize with 1:28 left within the second quarter in opposition to Morgan State as quarterback Kyle Vantrease lofted the move the place solely his receiver may presumably catch it. Host Georgia Southern gained 59-0 on Sept. 3, 2022 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro.

Burgess has began each video games and has 16 catches for 152 yards. Possibly you noticed him stretching out for a one-handed seize on a 12-yard landing catch on ESPN SportsCenter’s prime performs after the 59-0 season-opening victory over Morgan State on Sept. 3.

Possibly you noticed Burgess on nationwide cable tv pull in a team-record 12 catches for 119 yards in a 45-42 upset of three-touchdown favourite Nebraska on Saturday night time.

We all know Kyle Vantrease noticed him. The quarterback focused Burgess on 23 of a school-record-tying 56 makes an attempt in totaling 37 completions and 406 yards passing (each second-best marks at GS) and 642 yards of staff offense.

“To have a quarterback like Kyle may be very uncommon,” stated Burgess, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore from Riverdale. “For him to be a veteran, and for me to see the issues he sees, it is actually boosted my recreation to the following degree. It offers me confidence as a result of he has confidence in me to make the performs I make.”

Vantrease is new to the staff, a sixth-year participant and former three-year starter on the College of Buffalo who transferred to GS in January. For his efficiency at Nebraska, Vantrease was chosen the Walter Camp Soccer Basis’s FBS Nationwide Offensive Participant of the Week and the Solar Belt Convention’s Offensive Participant of the Week.

Burgess was new to Helton when he was employed in November 2021 and started constructing his workers by January. They noticed in Burgess by the spring and fall camps what they suspected and now count on: he makes huge performs. Particularly in huge video games like in opposition to Nebraska — which grew to become the second Energy 5 convention staff to lose to Georgia Southern (after host Florida in 2013) in its historical past.

Helton stated Burgess expects that of himself.

“I feel he set the tone for all the week as a result of every one in all our gamers and workers anticipated to enter that venue and win that soccer recreation,” Helton stated Monday. “The best way he performed with that confidence and that chip on his shoulder like all of us have as workers, as gamers, he led the way in which in observe.”

Apply makes excellent

Burgess has knowledgeable mindset in observe.

“You may’t inform the distinction between him in observe and him in a recreation,” Helton stated. “It is the identical tempo and that rubs off to different gamers.”

Here is a not-so-secret purpose Burgess has been so profitable in video games, significantly getting open in one-on-one defensive protection. His practices are arguably tougher than video games.

Georgia Southern cornerback Derrick Canteen

Georgia Southern cornerback Derrick Canteen

Burgess’ matchups in single protection with Georgia Southern cornerback Derrick Canteen — a redshirt junior thought to be an NFL prospect since his Freshman All-America season in 2020 — are a few of finest battles in observe on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“It is a one-on-one battle the entire staff appears to be like ahead to. They put it on the large display screen,” Canteen stated Monday.

Canteen, who has returned wholesome this fall after lacking practically all of 2021 because of damage, describes their weekly battles as intense and about respect between two opponents that love successful and hate shedding, even to a teammate.

“When recreation time comes, I can see it in his eyes and he can see it in my eyes that we really feel that nobody on that subject can match what occurs in observe,” Canteen stated. “It offers us each that supreme confidence that any one-on-one, we like ourselves to win primarily based on how we observe and put together every week.”

Georgia Southern sophomore wide receiver Derwin Burgess Jr.

Georgia Southern sophomore huge receiver Derwin Burgess Jr.

Whereas it is unclear who’s successful the unofficial tally of their battles going again to final spring, they’re each winners by the expertise.

“I inform him to present me his finest, and I give him my finest each likelihood I get,” Burgess stated.

Burgess additionally credit his success to receivers coach Marcus Davis, who emphasizes fundamentals like wanting the ball all the way in which into his fingers and utilizing his pace and ball-tracking expertise to benefit.

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Canteen stated Burgess places within the work on and off the sphere, and in addition has the expertise that interprets to his affect in video games. It begins with preparation.

“He is one of many guys you see within the (soccer operations) constructing on a regular basis,” Canteen stated. “He loves the sport. He is very severe about it.”

Nebraska defensive back Tommi Hill (0) reaches for a pass intended for Georgia Southern wide receiver Derwin Burgess Jr. (2) during the second half on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Georgia Southern defeated Nebraska 45-42.

Nebraska defensive again Tommi Hill (0) reaches for a move supposed for Georgia Southern huge receiver Derwin Burgess Jr. (2) in the course of the second half on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Georgia Southern defeated Nebraska 45-42.

‘Supreme confidence’ for Burgess

Burgess is aggressive and detail-oriented. Simply give him slightly little bit of a gap, and he has the sting.

“He is a man, you give him an inch, he will make the catch,” Canteen stated. “He has supreme confidence in his talents. The play is simply by no means over. With some guys, you possibly can win on the line of scrimmage, however him, from begin to end, you must be locked in as a result of he has nice ball expertise and nice physique management.”

Georgia Southern's Derwin Burgess Jr. (2) runs after making one of 12 catches against Nebraska on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Georgia Southern’s Derwin Burgess Jr. (2) runs after making one in all 12 catches in opposition to Nebraska on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Acrobatic catches, just like the diving seize in opposition to Morgan State, and getting open for essential first downs, like within the offensive battle in opposition to Nebraska, have turn into anticipated. However Burgess says he and the receivers are in a position to do greater than up to now within the Eagles’ new offense.

“Now we have far more probabilities,” stated Burgess, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore from Riverdale. “I do know week in and week out, our receiver room has to make performs. It is easy. It has to make performs.”

Nathan Dominitz is the Sports activities Content material Editor of the Savannah Morning Information and E-mail him at Twitter: @NathanDominitz

This text initially appeared on Savannah Morning Information: Georgia Southern huge receiver Derwin Burgess making large affect