The Cardinal Ritter wideout recently released his top-12 schools, which included the Illinois football team, among other Power 5 programs.
Luther Burden became one of the latest hot targets from the Illinois football program, as he released his top-12 via Twitter on Aug. 28. The 2022 five-star wideout also has interest from Baylor, Missouri, Ohio State, Florida State, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Auburn, and Alabama, to name a few.
— lutherburden (@lutherburden3) August 28, 2020
Unfortunately for Cardinal Ritter, its season was promptly suspended due to eligibility issues with one of its key skill-position players, though Burden was not the one involved in the scandal. It had a brutal effect on the morale of the program, as the entire coaching staff was let go in the process.
Brandon Gregory, the head coach for Cardinal Ritter, was one of the main catalysts of the situation. In his three seasons at the helm, the team quickly became a local powerhouse, as they went 28-8 and finished as a Class 3 runner-up in 2018.
On the field, however, Burden was one of the team’s most prolific offensive weapons. During the 2018 season, he brought in 14 receiving touchdowns and helped his squad finish the season 16-1. Victories included an 82-0 opening day thrashing of Confluence Prep Academy, along with a 40-35 nailbiter against St. Francis Borgia just before the start of postseason play.
In the playoffs, the offense went to work and showcased the reason why they were one of the best “small schools” in the nation. A 52-0 win against Lutheran South was followed by a 28-14 win against Kenneth.
Eventually, the Lions would fall in the Class 3 state title game against Trinity Catholic, 45-19. High hopes followed the team prior to the 2019-2020 season, and now it is unclear what the immediate future of the team could look like given the current circumstances.
What would Luther Burden bring to Champaign?
From his tape, I think Burden is the perfect slot receiver who could easily fill a hole that Ricky Smalling left. He turns on the afterburners the minute his quarterback gets him the ball, and he is a clear vision as a downfield runner, as nearly every highlight showed Burden scoring or getting positive yardage.
Fans should be excited that one of the nation’s best juniors is considering the Illini, given that there isn’t much to cheer about this upcoming fall.