Chat for a few minutes with Springville High rising senior quarterback Ryder Burton, a BYU football commit, and one aspect of the recent process becomes readily apparent.
Few, if any, prospects in the history of BYU football are as committed to the Cougars, and head coach Kalani Sitake’s program, as this guy is. Burton will officially sign with BYU in December when the early signing period begins for members of the class of 2023, but he’s as solid as any recruit in recent memory.
This kid knows the meaning of the word commitment.
“I am a hard commit to BYU, and I am 100% in with that program and what it has to offer,” Burton told the Deseret News Wednesday, a few hours after participating at one of Sitake’s summer camps for high schoolers in Provo.
“Any time there is a dude with a BYU offer, a guy BYU is interested in, you can guarantee that I will be reaching out. You can ask anyone. I will be the first person to text that guy after he gets it. … So I am doing everything I can to make it so BYU has a shot at the Big 12 title here in the near future.” — BYU commit Ryder Burton
A few hours later, Burton received some disheartening news. Despite shining at an Elite 11 regional in Los Angeles last weekend and earning a “top rating” at the camp for the top prep QBs in the country, the 6-foot-11⁄2, 182-pound Burton was not among the 20 QBs invited to the 23rd Annual Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles later this month.
The Elite 11 bills itself as the most prestigious quarterback competition for prep quarterbacks in the country, and is directed by former NFL QB Trent Dilfer and a lot of other notables. Alumni include Tim Tebow, Matthew Stafford, Trevor Lawrence, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Stanford’s Tanner McKee, BYU’s Sol-Jay Maiava and former Cougars QB Tanner Mangum.
Before the last five selections were made Wednesday night and announced on Twitter, Burton liked his chances based on what some coaches had told him when the regional ended last weekend, and also because he scored an 85.89 in the combine drills, which ranked him ninth among the Los Angeles participants.
“Regardless, it was an awesome experience,” he said.
BYU’s fourth commit from the 2023 class — he joins Stanley Raass, Emmanuel Waller and Pokaiaua Haunga — said he wasn’t at his best in the regional, but has no regrets with the way it played out.
“To be honest with you, I feel like I could have done a lot better,” he said. “The previous day our high school team had the Ute Shoot (7-on-7 passing tournament), so I probably threw close to 250 balls there, and my arm wasn’t doing what it is capable of doing.
“Like, I couldn’t push the ball as far as I can, throw it with as much velocity. I feel like I can throw a lot better than I did,” he continued. “I was happy to see my name in the top 10. It is cool to see your name in the top 10. But I think there is no doubt that I can definitely perform better and that I can perform with those top 20 guys.”
Big-time testing numbers posted by the quarterbacks at today’s Los Angeles #Elite11 regional – here are the unofficial Top 10 ratings from the combine events 💪🦵💨 pic.twitter.com/KhfdzTBHck
— Elite11 (@Elite11) June 6, 2022
Burton’s other takeaway from the regional is that the offense run at Springville prepared him well for not only the summer camp circuit, but playing at BYU.
“At Springville, we are under center probably 75% of the time,” he said. “All these other kids, they play in the spread offenses of Southern California, Arizona, Las Vegas, in the shotgun all the time. So it was funny when the other kids would say, ‘Dude, how can you do this so easily?’ I would say, ‘This is what I do every day.’”
Springville coach Dave Valeti said the program is “lucky” to have Burton, a leader on and off the field.
“Our offense is a perfect prep school for BYU,” Valeti said. “Under center, play action, similar style offense.”
Greg Biggins of 247sports.com said Burton, a three-star prospect, was “among the steadiest performers” at the four-hour session in Los Angeles.
Burton went “though every rep at game speed and (was) looking comfortable in the multidrop format,” Biggins wrote. “Burton didn’t flash the strongest arm, but he was accurate and precise with his timing, oftentimes hitting receivers in stride to all levels.”
Burton led the Red Devils to the Class 5A football state championship game last fall, famously throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Walker Deede as time expired to beat Orem 27-26 in the semifinals. He received an offer from BYU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick in April, and committed on May 6.
It was his first offer, but Burton had been drawing interest from Utah, Weber State and Southern Utah, among others. Like former BYU QB Zach Wilson (also an Elite 11 Regional participant) and current Cougars QB Jaren Hall, Burton has spent a lot of time working with ex-BYU QB John Beck and his 3DQB elite quarterback training camp.
“BYU is the perfect fit for me — the system, the offense, everything,” he said. “The culture of how I want to see things run, is there. The whole coaching staff is just really dedicated, yet they understand the players, they treat the players with respect, and it is home. It is where I want to be.”
Burton said he will graduate from high school in December and enroll at BYU in January so he can participate in spring camp in 2023. He plans to play four straight seasons for the Cougars.
“I will be the only 17-year-old on the roster when I join BYU,” he said.
Like former five-star QB Jake Heaps did more than a decade ago after committing to BYU the summer before his senior season, Burton is already recruiting other prospects for BYU.
“Any time there is a dude with a BYU offer, a guy BYU is interested in, you can guarantee that I will be reaching out. You can ask anyone,” he said. “I will be the first person to text that guy after he gets it. It is a quarterback’s job to be a leader. It is a quarterback’s job to build the team. So I am doing everything I can to make it so BYU has a shot at the Big 12 title here in the near future.”
Before he headed off to Los Angeles, Burton swung by campus to chat with the four four-star recruits who visited last weekend — tight ends Walker Lyons and Jackson Bowers, defensive end Hunter Clegg and offensive lineman Ethan Thomason.
“I think the Cougars could land all four, 100%. Two of the dudes, I would be shocked if they went anywhere else,” Burton said, without naming names. “And then there were two guys who seemed really favorable toward BYU, but they still want to see what else is out there for them.”
Burton said he will send the rest of the summer attending more camps — such as the Under Armour Next series — and hang around BYU as much as possible, perhaps even attend quarterback meetings with Roderick and the other coaches “to pick their brain as much as possible — just get a grasp of the offense so I can go into my senior of high school and ball out and then come in in January and be ready to compete for the job.”
Springville High School QB Ryder Burton throws the ball during the 5A football state semifinal game against Orem High School at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News