Stanford quarterback commit Ryan Burns' decision to bypass the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp in favor a team camp with his Stone Bridge (Va.) team this summer surprised some Stanford fans and recruiting observers.
But according to Ryan's father, Bryan, the decision has paid dividends for Burns and the 8-0 Bulldogs.
"As strange as it may seem, when Ryan declined to participate in the Elite 11 with Trent (Dilfer), he gained a whole new respect from his teammates," Bryan said. "They recognize he places his teammates above himself. He's very hungry yet humble. Character and integrity is a big part of his DNA which I feel his teammates value (and) see as an opportunity to win a State Championship."
Not only is Stone Bridge undefeated and on the fast track to the state playoffs, but Burns is playing at a higher level than he did in 2011.
The Rivals 100 quarterback is completing 57 percent of his passes and has thrown 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions. In a day and age of wide-open pass-oriented offenses Burns' statistics might not jump off the page, but when Stone Bridge's single-wing offense (which has included more spread elements this season to better utilize Burns' talents) is taken into consideration, they're pretty impressive.
Burns has dramatically improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio (he threw 13 touchdowns against 14 interceptions in 2011), and his completion percentage (Burns had a sub-.500 completion percentage in 2011) from a year ago.
Burns passes the eye test, too. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell was blown away when he saw Burns in-person at a game earlier this year.
"I think Burns has the best release and mechanics I have seen on any quarterback this season," Farrell wrote. "He is big and can move and he has the look of a guy who could be playing on Sundays down the road. It will be a very tough transition from running a wing offense in high school to a pro-style offense at Stanford, but in a few years we could be talking about him as a first rounder if all works out."
Not surprisingly, the Stanford coaching staff isn't taking Burns' commitment for granted.
"(Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and) Ryan talk almost weekly," Bryan Burns said. "The other coaches send him Stanford postcards congratulating Ryan on each game with a personal note attached."
On his end, Ryan has made significant progress with the Stanford admissions process.
"He's getting very close to submitting his application," Bryan said.
Stone Bridge has two more regular season games before the playoffs begin. Cardinal Sports Report will provide a more thorough update and interview with Ryan after the conclusion of Stone Bridge's season, which is expected to include a lengthy postseason run.
Burns will be honored by the US Army All American Bowl next Friday in a ceremony with classmates, friends and family at his high school.