Bozeman’s Burkett stands tall as Bay County's top defensive player

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Bozeman’s Chandler Burkett, right, led the area with 122 tackles as a senior.

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Published: Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 07:02 PM.

SAND HILLS — The only problem facing Chandler Burkett these days is where he’ll be playing college football.

But that’s a pretty good problem considering the alternative.

The Bozeman senior finished his most productive season on defense, leading the Bucks in tackles and spearheading an attack that led to a postseason berth. His statistics and value to the unit helped him rise above the rest and he was named The News Herald’s Bay County Defensive Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder made the switch to linebacker as a senior to fill a major need on defense. He played defensive end for three seasons before moving and admitted trepidation.

“At first I was worried I wouldn’t be able to adapt, but we needed to fill the spot from a good player, Isaiah Robbins,” Burkett said. “But it ended up being one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I really did enjoy it and it gave me a little more freedom.”

The additional roaming on the field led to Burkett amassing 122 tackles, including 88 solo and 15 for loss. He managed to record one sack and still found time to pressure a quarterback or two despite not lining up in the three-point stance. He had a hand in five defended passes, five fumbles, three recovered, blocked a punt and returned one for a score as well as forcing a safety.

Bozeman coach Loren Tillman said having Burkett in the middle of the field caused more havoc. He not only could rush the passer, but was counted on as a run stopper and in pass coverage. The well-rounded skill set was attractive to college scouts.



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