Sac State swoops in to sign Burnett

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Collin Burnett’s dream of playing football at a Division I university appeared to be on hold just last week. A surprise call from Sacramento State led to a meeting Tuesday during which the Placer High senior signed on with the Hornets. The quarterback who threw for 24 touchdowns in two seasons with the Hillmen will join coach Marshall Sperbeck’s squad in the fall on a partial athletic scholarship. Sacramento State coaches, including Sperbeck, visited the Placer campus last week to check out the prospects for the class of 2012. Burnett’s name came up and the Hornets realized they had made a mistake in not going after the 6-4, 185-pounder. “They did their research and watched film and they said, ‘This is a guy we have to have,’” Placer coach Joey Montoya said. “He had planned on Sierra, but his goal the entire time was to get a Division I scholarship. They’re a I-AA school that’s gotten better since coach Sperbeck got there.” Sacramento State just missed the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs after finishing 6-5 overall and tied for third in the Big Sky Conference. Sperbeck has turned around a program that had struggled for many years in both Division II and the FCS. “I had them on my list of schools that I wanted to go to for football,” Burnett said. “Coach Sperbeck is a great guy and they’re kind of up and coming. They’re really starting to turn the corner. All their facilities are renovated and super nice. And it’s not that far from home, so that’s nice too.” Burnett said he had been in touch with the Hornets prior to last season, but a change in recruiting coordinators at Sacramento State left him out of the loop. He received a walk-on invitation from the Hornets last week, but after coaches saw him at a track meet and then during a workout where he threw passes, they came up with a partial scholarship offer. “It was very out of the blue,” Burnett said. “I was pretty much all set, going to Sierra. They saw me throw and they wanted to give me more of an initiative to go there and they offered me a partial scholarship and we thought that was a good deal.” Burnett said the scholarship would pay for about $6,000 of the $16,000 in tuition and fees at Sac State. “It’s a big thing for me to go to a four-year school,” Burnett said. “They’re Division I and that was a big goal for me. I couldn’t pass it up.” Burnett could see a lot of former teammate Asher Gotzmer in the coming years at the Causeway Classic. After walking on at UC Davis, Gotzmer was recently granted a scholarship and will be a redshirt freshman receiver for the Aggies this fall. In addition to Burnett, Darren Centi and Josh Turney will play college football next fall. Centi is headed to the University of Redlands to play football and run track. Turney will play at Sierra.