Back in June, ESPN 300 wide receiver Carlos Burse (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) announced his decision to commit to Vanderbilt over several other programs, most notably, Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. His decision surprised many, but the 6-foot-2, 190-pound wideout reminded people that you cannot spell student-athlete without student.
"A lot of people were shocked when I chose Vanderbilt, but I did not think much of it," Burse said. "I am thinking about later in life when the academics open up job opportunities long after football is over. As far as what people think, it does not matter as long as it sounds good to me."
Just as Burse's decision has been questioned by some, there have also been questions about his ranking. After making 52 catches for 857 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior, Burse had four catches for 100 yards, a punt return for 18 yards and a kickoff return for 38 yards in his first game as a senior. He is hoping to use this season to quiet those critics.
"I am trying to prove a lot of doubters wrong," Burse said. "They say I am not fast or good enough to be a four-star, so I am just trying to show that I am actually a pretty good player."
Last Thursday, Burse watched his future team lose a hard-fought battle to South Carolina, 17-13. He feels the Commodores should have won the game, but is also excited about the direction of both his position and the program in Nashville.
"I like where Vanderbilt is going," Burse said. "Shoutout to the Flyboys (the nickname given to the wide receivers by first-year Vanderbilt assistant Josh Gattis). They looked nice and I liked what they are doing up there. I thought the ref made a horrible call at the end of the game, but it happens."
When asked to describe what he can do in college, Burse gave an interesting answer, using a term some athletes try not to be labeled with. But the four-star prospect feels very differently about what it means, and takes pride in having the qualities associated with it.
"I think I am a possession receiver at the next level," Burse said. "If you throw the ball my way, it's mine. Possession is not slow at all. Possession is that go-to guy. You know he is going to catch it every time. You trust him and you go through the fire with him. I want to be that type of guy. Vanderbilt wants me to come in and make those plays and be a guy they can trust when the game is on the line."
Burse is one of 21 commitments for the Commodores right now, a class that could add two or three more by signing day. Eleven of the commitments are rated as four-star prospects, with Burse being one of four ESPN 300 prospects, and one of seven commitments out of Georgia. Vanderbilt has a chance to add an ESPN 150 prospect out of the Peach State if they can beat out Alabama for athlete Greg Taboada (Atlanta/Marist). Many feel, as Burse does, that this recruiting class could be one of the best ever for Vanderbilt.
“This class is ridiculous,” Burse said. “It is an astonishing group of talent committed right now. I feel like by the time we get there, we will be a force to be reckoned with.”