By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TROY — When it came time for Blake Burton to select a college, he got a sign from above.
“I remember I had just taken an overnight visit at Wittenberg and the morning after, I was walking across campus to meet my dad in his car,” the Troy football team’s senior inside linebacker said. “I just remember walking through all the buildings on campus and it was just beautiful. The sun was coming up, and I just knew at that moment Wittenberg was the right place for me. I took it as a sign.”
And once he took the sign, it was time to sign. Burton did just that last week, signing his letter of intent play football and attend school at Wittenberg University.
“I just felt like it was the right place for me,” Burton said. “I had been up there a couple of times and had met with some of their players. They all seemed like good guys. I really liked the coaches. Everything just felt right. They’ve got a lot of good things happening over there right now.”
Burton, too, brings plenty of good things to Wittenberg’s program. Burton was a two-year starter at inside linebacker for the Trojans, earning second-team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American League North Division honors as a junior. As a senior, Burton finished with 166 tackles (second on the team), including 3.5 quarterback sacks, nine tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and three passes batted down. On special teams, he blocked a punt and was tied for the team lead in tackles inside the 20 on kickoff coverage.
Following the season, Burton was named Division II All-Ohio special mention, Division II All-Southwest District first team, All-Greater Western Ohio Conference and All-GWOC North first team.
“The biggest thing I’ll remember about Burton is that he went sideline to sideline every play,” former Troy football coach Matt Burgbacher said. “He was like having another coach on the field. He may have been a little undersized, but he was an awesome football player. After the 2016 season, we lost a lot of talented football players, but Burton was able to come up and fill some awfully big shoes as a junior. He became a vocal leader for us. I’m excited as heck for him. He’s a great football player who is going to a college program with a lot of tradition.”
Burton — who plans to study psychology and possibly business in college — said the Tigers are looking for him to play middle linebacker at the next level.
“I definitely want to work on my coverage skills before I get there,” he said. “And I want to get in the weightroom and get bigger, stronger and faster. I’m going to work as hard as I can to try to get over there and get some playing time.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong