Early Friday morning, BYU freshman Riley Burt was already letting fans know the college football grind was worth it after a position change:
So is life really 15 hours a day— Ri-ley (@rileyburt34) August 14, 2015
But it's all cool cause back at RB !!— Ri-ley (@rileyburt34) August 14, 2015
After the departure of Jamaal Williams, many (myself included) speculated Burt as the best possible addition to the corps of running backs and it appears Bronco Mendenhall and Robert Anae have made the change.
Of note, the corresponding move to replace Burt in the defensive secondary was moving fellow freshman Micah Simon, a high school quarterback, to defense. This change was reported by Mitch Harper of 1320 KFAN.
Now that Burt is at RB, to fill void at CB, true freshman Micah Simon has been switched from WR to CB. #BYU— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) August 14, 2015
As I wrote in the piece linked previously, Burt was an impressive runner in high school. A speedy track star, Burt could also run between the tackles and was tough to bring down.
In short, Burt is powerful for his speed and quick for his size.
Here are Burt's highlights from his senior season in which he tallied 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Watch the first three plays. Aside from his apparent speed, there is insight to his instinct and vision (and again, speed). The play call is the pretty much the same.
In run 1, Burt bursts through the gap and outruns everyone. In run 2, that hole isn't there so he bounces outside and (again) outruns everyone. In run 3 he cuts inside early and then cuts back to show off a little of his power and making tacklers miss.
Play 4 (0:45) is a kickoff return, where Burt's speed is just unfair to those poor special teams kids from Weber High.
Play 5 (1:03) is an inside give all the way, and man does Burt hit holes quickly.
1:45 - More of the power is on display, bouncing off several would-be tacklers.
2:37 - This one is a nice treat. Burt catches a pass with a decent degree of difficulty, puts a kid on skates, and then drags two other tacklers five yards.
Finally, 5:45 - Burt hits the hole and makes several nice cuts to extend the play.
Can Burt do similar things as a freshman? While I wouldn't expect that, he does make a very good back to fill in behind Algernon Brown and Nate Carter, who very much appear to be the 1 and 2 backs for Anae. It will be interesting to see what Burt does with the ball if he gets carries this season.
Possibly more interesting is what becomes of Burt in 2016. With Jamaal Williams commenting on Instagram photos that he's definitely coming back next season, Charles West apparently ready to join the team next year, and Washington State transfer Squally Canada eligible to begin competition -- with senior Brown to boot -- Burt may be squeezed back to defense.
No matter that future, for now Burt's talent is welcome at a position that isn't very deep. While it may have been the obvious decision, it's still a smart one for BYU's offense.