First-year Miami Northwestern High coach Stephen Field feels like he's got a good handle on talent.
As an assistant at Miami Central, Deerfield Beach, Belle Glades Central and Boyd Anderson, Field coached some of the most talented high school players to come out of South Florida in the past decade.
He feels like he's got another in Northwestern defensive back Artie Burns, a 6-1, 183-pound senior who committed to the University of Miami on Monday. Burns, an elite track and field athlete who is rated the 69th best prospect in the country regardless of position by ESPN in the Class of 2013, posted the fastest 110 meter hurdles time in the country last year (13.35) and the second fastest 300-meter hurdles time (36.06).
So what kind of athlete are the Hurricanes getting? A mix of explosiveness and intelligence according to Field.
"He's one of the best football players I've been around," said Field, who spent two years as a defensive grad assistant at UM (2006-07) before becoming the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Hampton University for three years. "He can explode like Travis Benjamin when I had him at Glades Central, and take over a game kind of like Darnell Jenkins did when I had him at Miami Central. He's a guy you can put all over the field and be successful."
Burns, a former Alabama commitment, is the first defensive back Miami has secured for the 2013 class. He has the ability to play cornerback or safety, but the Hurricanes are hoping to pair him with highly-touted incoming freshman Tracy Howard on the outside.
One reason Burns said he committed to the Hurricanes early in the process was because he wants to now become a recruiter for the team. "I want to tell the top recruits in South Florida to stay home," Burns said.
He said he plans to run track and play football at Miami.
What does Burns have to improve on before getting to Miami?
"Probably keeping his composure a little bit in certain situations," Field said. "He's so physical, gets so passionate, he can lose his composure every now and then. But he's a special player. Miami got a good one."
If he signs with UM on National Signing Day, Burns will be the first player from Miami Northwestern to go to UM since the infamous eight from Northwestern's 2007 National Championship team signed with the Canes. Northwestern has produced 16 players that have signed with FBS schools since then.
> UM coach Al Golden was asked Monday about the new allegations the team has faced since the latest Yahoo! report was released: "I'm not allowed to comment [on specific names], but we just got what we think is one of the best players in South Florida.
"At the end of the day anybody will tell you, you can have all the facilities in the world, but if you don't have a culture where kids feel loved and respected and like they're being developed on and off the field on a daily basis that's going to resonate with the recruits. They are going to know that. They are going to find that out. And I think what they're finding out at the University of Miami is that in addition to being a great institution and obviously a great football legacy that those things are happening. And that there is synergy there and we are making progress and certainly that is helping with us recruiting."
> Field said former Hurricanes Brett Perriman and Vernon Carey have joined his staff at Northwestern as assistants. Carey, who donated big bucks for a brand new weight room at the school, is a co-coach on the offensive line. Perriman will coach receivers. Defensive coordinator Luther Campbell, a big UM supporter in the past, has remained on staff as a carryover.