Isaiah Burse, the dynamic dual-threat quarterback who led Modesto Christian High to a state football championship three weeks ago, is ready for his next challenge.
The 6-foot, 180-pounder — The Bee's Player of the Year after piling up 3,597 yards and 57 touchdowns — has made a verbal commitment to play at Fresno State in the fall.
"No one was recruiting me the way Fresno State was, and that said a lot to me about the kind of people they have," said Burse, whose stock skyrocketed during MC's five-week playoff run. "(Coach) Pat Hill came up to see my mother and spent a lot of time with her."
The Bulldogs were the first Division I college to seriously court Burse, with Hill meeting Burse three times. Hill also was in the stands last week when Burse and the Crusaders played Bret Harte in a basketball game.
Though Burse has given a verbal agreement, he can't sign a national letter of intent until Feb. 3. The NCAA forbids Fresno State from commenting on Burse until the signed letter arrives.
"The plan is to play slot receiver and get snaps as a quarterback out of the wildcat," Burse said. "Playing receiver also will allow me to use my speed."
It's not totally out of character, either, as Burse caught a dozen passes in high school.
Fresno State pursued Burse much of this season, but other schools were interested after Burse ran for 917 yards, threw for 681 and accounted for 22 TDs in five playoff games.
"I never had anyone else at the top of the list but Fresno," Burse said. "Schools came around late in the year, but I always remembered the way Mr. Hill treated my mother."