Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ex-Pack QB Burke named Louisville starter

Justin Burke's return to his home state has been a success on the football field.

Burke had competed for the N.C. State starting quarterback job in two straight preseasons without success before transferring to Louisville. On Tuesday night, Burke was named the starter over Adam Froman, Louisville assistant sports information director Rocco Gasparro confirmed.

A former Gatorade Player of the Year in his home state, where he played for Lexington Catholic High, Burke will start in the Big East, just a one-hour drive from his home.
During a telephone conversation last week, Burke expressed gratitude for his time at N.C. State.

"I learned a ton when I was down there," he said.

Transferring players often leave a lot of bad feelings in their wake, but a lot of people at N.C. State are rooting for Burke because of the way he handled himself and his exit from the school last fall. He already has his bachelor's degree in accounting as a junior and plans to get a master's degree by the time he finishes with college football.

Burke would have been stuck behind two younger players on N.C. State's roster, Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon, with little chance of ever starting. The Wolfpack would have been better off with Burke as its third-team quarterback than walk-on Daniel Imhoff, but it wouldn't have been fair to expect Burke to stick around when he had a realistic chance of starting for another BCS program.

When asked about Burke, N.C. State offensive coordinator Dana Bible said the difficult thing for quarterbacks is that only one of them plays. Or in the Wolfpack's case, a second quarterback (Glennon this season) might play an extremely limited role.

The positive thing for N.C. State is that a quarterback who probably would have been third-team for the Wolfpack can start at a school that won the Orange Bowl just three seasons ago. That demonstrates that N.C. State is piling up talent in its program.

In Burke's case, it was too much talent to stick around waiting for a chance that might never have come.

Ken Tysiac