Burnett injury apparently serious

Georgia Tech linebacker Julian Burnett suffered an injury in the Sun Bowl that could affect his playing career. At a news conference Friday, coach Paul Johnson was vague in his comments about Burnett but offered an indication of the injury’s severity.

“There’s a lot of guys who are playing and have gone through it,” Johnson said in response to a question about players ending their careers because of an injuries or health issues. “But they’ve come out on the other end, that they’ve determined it’s O.K. for them to play. It happens a lot; it’s a violent sport, high-contact.”

Johnson declined to offer more detail about the injury, saying the matter was between Burnett, his family, doctors and himself.

“If Julian wanted to shed light on it, he could,” Johnson said, but has chosen not to do so.

Burnett was injured in the first half of the Sun Bowl and didn’t return to the game. He led the Jackets in tackles for the second consecutive season and was named second-team All-ACC.

“I think what has to happen is they’ll sit down at the appropriate time, we’ll sit down, and we’ll do what’s best for Julian,” Johnson said.

2. Johnson said linebacker B.J. Machen, who has a year of eligibility remaining, will not return, having taken a job with Microsoft. Other possibilities to follow suit, such as wide receiver Daniel McKayhan, have not yet decided on whether or not to return, Johnson said.

“Probably a lot of [his decision] is if he graduates in the spring,” Johnson said. “A lot of those guys have to see how school unfolds.”

3. The team doesn’t have plans to include a kicker in its upcoming signing class. Johnson isn’t opposed to signing a kicker, but said he wouldn’t sign a kicker just for the sake of it. This past season, kicker Justin Moore made all 56 of his point-after tries, but was 11-for-17 on field-goal tries and both he and kicker David Scully had trouble with kickoffs.

“I don’t think we’ve even visited a kicker” for a home visit, Johnson said, “so we probably aren’t going to sign one.”

Johnson offered an insight on his and other coaches’ reluctance to sign specialists out of high school, preferring instead to take walk-ons and award scholarships once they prove themselves at the college level. For one, good kickers are difficult to find. A defensive back, for instance, can play wide receiver or A-back if he doesn’t pan out.

“If you take a kicker who can’t kick, pal, you’ve got him,” Johnson said. “He’s not turning into anything else.”

4. Johnson offered his support again for defensive coordinator Al Groh, reiterating that he has no plans to change staff. Johnson did say “there’s a lot of things you have to take into consideration and there’s a lot of things we’re going to talk about” regarding the defense after recruiting ends.

“If I didn’t think they were doing a credible job, I’d make changes,” he said. “But can we play better? Sure. We can play better on offense, special teams, everywhere.”

5. Johnson did not have much comment on offensive tackle Phil Smith, who is not returning to the team. Smith was a two-year starter but was suspended twice this season for breaking team rules.

“Hopefully he’ll graduate this spring and if he wants to play somewhere else, I’ve given him his release,” Johnson said.

6. Regarding wide receiver Stephen Hill, who declared for the NFL draft with a year of eligibility remaining, Johnson said that “there’s a lot of factors that go into” such decisions that people don’t realize and that he also thought that Hill would’ve improved had he returned for his senior season.

“I gave them my take and [Hill's family members] had their take and they have to make a decision that they think is best for them,” Johnson said. “I wish him the best.”

7. Johnson wouldn’t call the spring-practice quarterback competition “open,” given that incumbent Tevin Washington has started for the past 1 ½ seasons. Washington’s challengers – Synjyn Days, Vad Lee and early enrollee Dennis Andrews – will have to beat him out to take the starting job, Johnson said.

“Do I think it’s impossible to beat him out? No,” Johnson said. “But I’m not going to say it’s wide open. The kid’s started for two years. I think he’s earned that right.”

8. Johnson spoke at length about recruiting practices and the volume of information surrounding it, not  always accurate.

“I think what happens in general, maybe in media today anyway, but for certain in recruiting, is somebody will see a story on one of the sites and then they’ll use that as a source five times,” Johnson said. “The original one might not have been right.”

Johnson is in favor of having an early signing date, as he and his staff spend much of their energy and effort “babysitting” recruits who have already committed to make sure other schools don’t poach them.

81 comments Add your comment

Shame

January 20th, 2012
2:40 pm

Don’t care who you root for, its a shame when any kid gets hurt. Best of wishes to Burnett.

gtg

January 20th, 2012
2:40 pm

GET BETTER SOON, JULIAN! We are going to need the heat seeking missile next season!

Ghost

January 20th, 2012
2:41 pm

Prayers for a speedy recovery.

Jacket Man

January 20th, 2012
2:41 pm

Julian is a warrior and the heart of the defense. In spite of long odds against him, he excelled and showed leadership on and off the field. Regardless of what may occur, everyone, Tech fan or not, should wish hime the very best.

Julian Burnett injury

January 20th, 2012
2:47 pm

[...] team from a physical and emotional/leadership standpoint. Wish him the best recovery possible. Burnett injury apparently serious | Georgia Tech Reply With [...]

collegeballfan

January 20th, 2012
2:50 pm

Mr Burnett,
My wishes for a complete recovery. If football is over you will have a degree from one of the top 61 universities in North America.

GTRay

January 20th, 2012
3:00 pm

Julian, hope you know that all Tech fans are pulling for your full recovery.

DesignerJacket

January 20th, 2012
3:01 pm

Yes, get better quickly Mr. Burnett. That degree the fan above me is referring to will be from the best public business program in the state at a Top 7 public University and in the Top 35 in the Country!

DesignerJacket

January 20th, 2012
3:02 pm

Anyway, Julian Burnett was so much fun to watch, and we all love him and hope he’s good to go come Fall. What a motivated guy!

Burdell

January 20th, 2012
3:04 pm

Sorry to hear this news…JB is a beast.

Keep your spirits up kid and if you can attack this issue with the same intensity you show on the field…you’ll be fine.

Cosmo

January 20th, 2012
3:07 pm

Get well Julian!

dawg79

January 20th, 2012
3:11 pm

Best of luck for his recovery. I hate to see anyone get injured.

GTJason

January 20th, 2012
3:12 pm

This is the worst news this offseason could bring. Who will be on defense to get Trippy? I hope he can get better and continue to be a wrecking ball…

BigTimeTechFan

January 20th, 2012
3:24 pm

“I think what has to happen is they’ll sit down at the appropriate time, we’ll sit down, and we’ll do what’s best for Julian,” Johnson said.

Coach Johnson, is the best, very nice of him to let Julian and family take the lead on this important decision in his life, puts the man before football, very classy coach.

Wish Julian full health and happy health life, Football or not we are pulling for you.

JP

January 20th, 2012
3:28 pm

As a Tech man and fellow Macon native, Burnett was definitely one of my favorite players. I hope he has a full recovery, even if he can’t play football again.

Ramblin Man

January 20th, 2012
3:30 pm

I hope Julian gets better and wish him the best. This could explain some of the recruiting going on though as I don’t see CPJ pulling scholarships and yet here GT is recruiting new kids while still recruiting McCalsiter and Tomlinson hard, which should fill the class.

BuzzBelle

January 20th, 2012
3:31 pm

We are all pulling for you for a speedy recovery! You do what is best for you, not anybody or anything else, we will support you with the knowledge you made the best decision!

Mark

January 20th, 2012
3:44 pm

wish you the best julian.
as for the qb comp, good grief. it’s not open? just because he was the best option? of course it’s open. tevin’s record against the best opponents we’ve played is awful. something like 2-7
i guess paul doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. i won’t be renewing my tix if tevin is starting

GT GRAD

January 20th, 2012
3:46 pm

I have been very imporessed with Julian from day one. He is a high character person and has the heart/desire which allowed him to produce on the football field at a level most “talent evaluators” claimed he could not due to his size and measurables.

This young man is a superb example of what a person can accomplish with commitment, desire, hard work and a positive attitude.

I hope he heals completely and gets to continue playing football; however, if not…….he will leave GT with a valuable college degree and I am confident he will be very successful in life. This young man has what it takes to be successful period.

Burdell

January 20th, 2012
3:53 pm

Good luck with season ticket thing Mark…considering renewals go out in about a month or so and are due back by beginning of April.

I think it is safe to say that butterfingers is having a hard time with school and sees $$$ by moving on. Who’s to say I wouldn’t do the same thing if in his position!

The Grinch

January 20th, 2012
4:00 pm

Two thoughts:

1) I really hate to hear about Burnett’s ankle. Best wishes to him.

2) If GT truly wants to turn the corner then you’ll need to have a new QB under center. I just don’t think Washington will get you to the next level.

HighTech

January 20th, 2012
4:07 pm

Years ago, Team Latino had the best intramural soccer team. Does anyone know if the coaches have tried to recruit a kicker in-house? Maybe Adam Gotsis can bring an Australian kicker with him when he enrolls at Tech.

Mark

January 20th, 2012
4:10 pm

Well then I guess I’ll pass. This is the crappy year for home games anyway. Cannot believe after a 4th straight bowl loss, 2 with TW he still says he’s the main guy. No wonder Vad was looking at transfering. I would too

HighTech

January 20th, 2012
4:10 pm

I think Burnett will be fine. He is adept at facing adversity. Speedy recovery.

I get it...................

January 20th, 2012
4:15 pm

Total bummer for the Tek program and more importantly the young man.

old dog

January 20th, 2012
4:38 pm

I hope he recovers…..nobody likes to see a kid injured. Best of luck from an old Bulldog fan, Julian.

foothills

January 20th, 2012
4:53 pm

Julian Burnett is a WARRIOR…Good luck young man.

Go Jackets!

January 20th, 2012
4:56 pm

Get well soon Julian. His presence will be missed on the field. I hope he can play ball again!

Ga Tech Old Timer

January 20th, 2012
5:00 pm

Julian – It’s been a pleasure watching you play and become a leader on defense. I only wish everyone else on the team had your drive, determination and attitude – giving it all up on every down of every game. I know that whatever decision you and your family makes will be the right one for you now and in the future. If it turns out you decide to hang it up – stand proud in the fact that your outstanding play game after game made us all look to you as an individual that without question has the heart of a champion. On purely a selfish level – I hope you’ll return to bolster the Tech defense and provide the Tech fans with many more opportunities to cheer you on – but if that’s not to be – God’s speed in what ever direction He takes you in – and best wishes toward finishing your degree at Tech.

Go Jackets!

January 20th, 2012
5:02 pm

CPJ’s comments about recruiting are interesting.

His comments about a kicker are telling. How about Adam Gotsis? I assume he’s a good /great kicker being from Australia.

Still hate to hear about Julian.

Go Jackets!

January 20th, 2012
5:04 pm

Could not have said it better Ga Tech Old Timer! Thank you

OkieDawg

January 20th, 2012
5:10 pm

Best of luck to Julian and hoping he gets back on the field. Seems like a very nice young man as well as an outstanding LB. This Dawg fan is pulling for a speedy recovery.

FIRE JOHNSON

January 20th, 2012
5:27 pm

Georgia Tech get rid of this clown!!! Really TW should not and i repeat should not be the starter next year, Oh well after GT loses to UGA this year CPJ and this god awful coaching staff will be gone!

Delbert D.

January 20th, 2012
5:30 pm

There was a comment earlier about getting to the next level. Given Clemson’s nosedive in the bowl, I’m not sure what the next level is. Winning the ACC for 5 or 6 straight years? Beating the in-state rival more than once in a row? It’s hard for any ACC school to recruit. On that thread, did anyone catch former Ohio State coach John Cooper’s comments about the other southern competition (”the Alabamas”) and how they dominate by what I’ll just summarize as nefarious practices?

Supersize that order, mutt

January 20th, 2012
5:39 pm

Old Timer, good post. Unfortunately, it may not be up to him whether he comes back or not. From the sound of it, it may well be a doctor’s decision.

Supersize that order, mutt

January 20th, 2012
5:40 pm

Okie, thanks. Classy post

Delbert D.

January 20th, 2012
5:40 pm

Delbert D.

January 20th, 2012
5:42 pm

For the record, I think “the young kid at Georgia” is a pretty decent QB.

Old Gold Britches

January 20th, 2012
5:42 pm

Julian Burnett… we are wishing the best for your recovery with or without football.

Delbert D.

January 20th, 2012
5:50 pm

Julian Burnett is the toughest, most physical player on the team. He would really be missed.

WnE

January 20th, 2012
6:01 pm

I hope you get well soon Julian and you will be in my daily prayers.

I hope whatever happens that you will be able to have a “normal” life from a physical fitness standpoint.

You should be glad that you’re playing for CPJ and not for Nick Saban over at Bama,

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
6:02 pm

Hope he gets better.

Johnson should just turn into Saban and oversign. Then, losing a good player like Julian wouldn’t hurt so much.

Worm

January 20th, 2012
6:04 pm

Good luck to Burnett-Get that degree son and have a succesful business career.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
6:06 pm

Dear God. I find myself in agreement with WnE again. Hell hath frozen over.

Stinger 2

January 20th, 2012
6:06 pm

I do not blame Julian for wanting to keep the details of his injury private. Hopefully, its something that will
allow him to recover to the point that he can have a normal life. If he can play football again, that will be a bonus. My thoughts and prayers are with him for a full
recovery.

George Stein

January 20th, 2012
6:09 pm

“If you take a kicker who can’t kick, pal, you’ve got him,” Johnson said. “He’s not turning into anything else.”

Nick Saban strongly disagrees.

Italian_29

January 20th, 2012
6:17 pm

I am really sad to hear this news, even as a Dawg Fan, JB is a beast and I think he definately would have been playing on Sunday. I hope this is a worst case scenario thing and he really will be back. BEST WISHES for your recovery and future JB. You are getting a GREAT degree from the Institue so if you can’t follow your football dreams, you will have PLENTY of doors opening for you with that degree. Good Luck next year Tech Fans, thhis is one Dawg Fan that hopes you guys have a great year, all except one game after Thanksgiving.

Jacket Man

January 20th, 2012
6:28 pm

First, Julian’s issue was related to his neck, not his ankle, and that’s all that will be said regarding that matter. Second, there is a punter on campus from Deland, Florida, so I guess that doesn’t actually count as a kicker. I expect he’ll commit this weekend. He averaged almost 45 yards per punt with a really good hang time. He also hit a 60 yard field goal in practice, although he only kicked long ones in games (he only kicked 6 last season, hitting 3).

Tech Man

January 20th, 2012
6:35 pm

Best of luck Julian, no matter what happens or what you and your family decide. Your efforts on the field were incredible this year and you will be a huge loss if you don’t return. But that’s not important; getting well is the most important thing. Good luck to you!

Sugar Hill Dawg

January 20th, 2012
6:38 pm

This points out the tenuous nature of a college athlete’s career. I taught quite a few kids in the Gwinnett County schools who played D I ball (f & bb) – none of ‘em made the NFL or NBA. These young men must understand the degree is the goal – next level is the gravy. It saddens me to see a healthy young man face such a trial, but with the love and support of his family and his teammates/coaches he will triumph. God bless you, JB – bets of luck from a UGA grad!