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Burgos brothers join forces at Drake
The Burgos brothers are joining forces again.
Two years after Julian and Jeremy Burgos starred together at Notre Dame High School, the pair will be reunited at Drake University this fall.
Both are hoping for immediate playing time for the Bulldogs, who compete in the Football Championship Subdivision. Julian, a running back, will be a sophomore and Jeremy, a linebacker, will be a freshman.
A year ago, the Des Moines school was not necessarily a place either Burgos expected to find himself. But a few weeks before reporting for their first preseason camp, the Burgoses are looking forward to the challenge ahead, and to once again being teammates.
“(Julian and I) have spent 12 seasons playing together and I’m excited about playing together again. I know he’ll be excited,” Jeremy said. “We’ve always worked out together and I’ve always worked to try to get stronger and faster than him, which has made me better. (At school) he’ll keep me in line. I think it’s going to be fun.”
Drake originally recruited Julian Burgos out of Notre Dame, where the running back put together a stellar senior season in 2009, rushing for 1,227 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. Ultimately, Burgos turned down scholarship offers at FCS schools in order to pursue his Division I dream as a preferred walk-on at Bowling Green, where he enrolled last fall.
But Julian realized quickly it was not the life for him.
“I was used to playing every week,” said Julian, who practiced but did not suit up for the Falcons. “As time went on, I knew I had to make changes and I made phone calls and sent e-mails to (schools) and got (the recruiting process) going.”
Drake, Dayton, Butler and Northern Illinois showed interest. The latter school backed off after head coach Jerry Kill took the job at Minnesota.
In January, Julian enrolled at Drake and participated in spring practice, where he thinks he impressed the coaching staff.
“For me it was important to get acclimated with the players and the new system. It was important to get in there in the spring, learn as much as possible, so I can play as quickly as possible,” said Julian, who will be eligible immediately.
A year ago, strong performances at multiple college summer football camps turned Jeremy into a hot commodity.
Schools like Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Miami of Ohio began recruiting him.
Jeremy enjoyed a stellar senior season and was named Class 8A first-team all-state. However, the big-time schools ultimately backed off insisting that, at 5-foot-11, Jeremy was a too small to play linebacker for them.
Like his brother, he also saw opportunities to walk-on at Division I programs, but only had to speak to Julian to learn the perils of taking that route.
“I heard from multiple people (including Julian) and they all said the same thing: ‘You don’t want to go through that,’ ” Jeremy said. “(As a walk-on) you’re treated like a nobody. They don’t know your name and you’re just a number. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to go somewhere where I was wanted.”
Though Drake entered into the recruiting process late, Bulldogs head coach Chris Crieghton showed he wanted the younger Burgos.
“Coach (Creighton) came into my house and the first thing he said was that his wife watched my highlight film and she wanted me to come there,” said Jeremy. “(Creighton) was awesome, all the coaches were nice. Like coach (Mike) Hennessey and all the coaches at Notre Dame, they are caring guys, who want you to succeed in life, academically and athletically.”
Jeremy also said he liked the idea of helping to build the up-and-coming Drake program into a Pioneer Football League champion, rather than joining an established power like Dayton, another school that recruited him heavily.
The Bulldogs finished 7-4 last season.
Jeremy has been studying the team’s defensive schemes and is looking forward to taking the field sooner rather than later, either as a weakside or middle linebacker or, at the very least, on special teams.
The Burgos brothers have been working out together this summer at Acceleration training center in Naperville and will move into the dorms in Des Moines during the first week of August.
However, they don’t plan to be roommates.
“I’m not living with (Julian). I’m living with a kid from Iowa,” Jeremy said. “I want to meet new people and make new friends. (Julian and I) have talked about it. We’ll still hang out all the time, but we want to meet new people.”
By DAN SHALIN, Sun-Times