Clemson won the recruiting battle for four-star OT Walker Parks of Lexington, KY in the 2020 recruiting season. He was the #2 ranked prospect in Kentucky then. Now, the Tigers are going after his former teammate and close friend OG Jager Burton (6-4 271), likewise a four-star but ranked the #1 prospect in Kentucky for the 2021 class. Having Parks on board will certainly help the efforts of Dabo Swinney and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell in trying to pull in Burton as well.
“I would say the fact that Walker is going there helps,” Burton said. “I talk to Walker about it a lot and I also talk to Ryan Linthicum and Cade Denhoff (2021 commitments.) You are going to get to play for a national championship at Clemson. Clemson is exactly how it’s portrayed. A lot of people think that with Coach Swinney it’s a fake persona, but it’s all real. They’re all extremely nice people. They’re one of the few schools that want you to make the best decision for you, and if it’s not them, they completely understand and still rooting for you. So that’s cool for coaches to be understanding about that.”
Burton said he hears from Caldwell, and he’s telling him not to rush and to wait for the pandemic passes so he can visit Clemson again and further develop their relationship. That relationship started in a summer camp when Swinney offered Burton. From there, things have just grown.
“It was an awesome moment,” Parks said. “He seems like a great guy on and off the field. I went to the NC State game, I went to a game last year and I went to the camp. The facilities are amazing. I got to be up on the hill when they ran down so that was awesome, just to be up where the students are for a little bit. The fans are ride or die, so that’s awesome.”
Burton is ranked the #8 offensive guard prospect in the country, but because of his overall skills, he could play anywhere on the line.
“A lot of people talk about my athleticism and my ability to play all the positions on the line,” he said. “No one is perfect so I still have a lot of things to work on, but I feel like that’s the main thing people tell me. Just my athleticism and being nasty and finishing blocks. I think I’m going to play guard if I go to Clemson. Alabama said they can see me as a tackle. Mostly everywhere else wants me to play guard. And a few places where I have a really good opportunity to play early, like Kentucky, said they might use me the first year at center because they’re losing their center.”
Burton has named a top five of Clemson, Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon.
“Those five schools checked the most boxes for me and my parents,” Burton said. “A couple of those schools, I just felt so comfortable with those coaches so I felt like it won’t be hard to adjust there. I’m mostly just looking for a place that I’m comfortable at — because at the end of the day, it’s me that has to be there for the next 3-4 years and I’ll have to live with the decision I make for the rest of my life. It’s mostly just me trusting the coaches and knowing they are going to do what they’re telling me they’re going to do. And to help me get to my overall dream of playing in the NFL. So whichever place I feel like is going to help me the most getting there and that I feel is going to follow through on what they’re telling me is the place I’m going to end up going.”
Burton has scheduled an official visit to Ohio State for the second weekend in June. He also plans official visits to the rest of his top five. He had planned to announce August 24th but has pushed that timetable back. He has visited each of his finalists unofficially at least once.