Lots of athletes in North Carolina and in every other state in the country love the sport they play. Some, like Morgan Burks, love that sport so much they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep playing at a high level.
Burks, a former linebacker on the Ashe County Husky football team, will be trying to make a dream come true when he steps onto the Appalachian State University football field hoping to earn a walk-on roster spot with the Mountaineers.
Ever since I started playing high school football, I just knew I wanted to play college ball, said Burks. But when it didnt happen, I knew I had to make a big change in the way I worked out, and the way I carried myself.
Burks graduated from ACHS in 2009, but did not get accepted to ASU, putting his dream on hold.
So the linebacker has spent an entire year working out daily and eating lots of protein. Burks would lift weights daily and follow that up with a running routine to build both strength and conditioning.
Burks, who was born in Richmond, VA and lived for a while in Ohio and Texas before moving to North Carolina, has football blood running in his family. His father played at East Carolina University as a runningback playing in the Southern Conference. At the time, East Carolina was a big rival of ASU before the Pirates moved up to Division 1-A, now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision. His father then became a college football official, officiating games in several different conferences in the country, including the Big 12, Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and Mid-American Conference (MAC), as well as a few NFL games during the officials strike in 2001.
My dad is real proud. He doesnt say a whole lot, but he thinks I can do it, he motivates me a whole lot, said Burks.
Burks went and talked to some of App States coaches in June, but the Mountaineers did not have an open spot they could give the former Husky.
I went and talked to Coach (Mike) Kent in June, he saw I was a big guy, but due to NCAA sanctions, they could only have a certain number out there for the first practice on August 5, said Burks.
That means Burks has one shot to lay it all on the line to earn a spot on the Mountaineer roster. Burks will work out at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 hoping to fulfill a dream and get to play college football.
Its been a long journey to get this far, but Burks believes it will be worth every bit of it.
It takes hard work, thats all it is. If you want something, its there but you have to be willing to put in the work, no one is going to hand you anything, said Burks. Thats what Ive learned through everything, how hard I actually had to work to get there, because it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.