If that was Treylon Burks' last home game at Arkansas, what a fitting way to go out
It’s safe to say that Treylon Burks’ eyes got big when he saw it.
I don’t want to assume anything with Burks. After all, I don’t know what it’s like to be a 6-3, 230 pounds, run like a deer and have hands the size of Odell Beckham Jr. One would think, though, that when you’ve had the historic career like he’s had, you know when 6 is imminent.
Lining up a corner on Burks in press coverage without any over the top help? Yeah, that’s when 6 is imminent.
There’s your trouble pic.twitter.com/1sxvRNwKSm
— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) November 26, 2021
Even on a day in which Burks clearly wasn’t at 100%, that play was automatic. That’s never a question with Burks. If he’s on the field, he’s leaving it all out there.
Friday’s drubbing of Mizzou might’ve been Burks’ last game in front of the home fans. Whether that’s the case or not, No. 16 has earned a place in Arkansas lore.
Surely he earned a place in the Razorback record books. That play put Burks over the century mark for the 6th time this season (an Arkansas record), and it gave him 10 such games in his career. That’s 1 off from the school record, which was set by Anthony Lucas. To be fair, Lucas had 4-plus seasons to get there. There’s a good chance that Burks will tie that record in Arkansas’ bowl game before heading off to the NFL after 3 seasons in Fayetteville.
And if he does, appreciate all he gave to that program.
The versatile, hog-hunting Arkansas native was once the guy who somehow couldn’t catch a touchdown in Chad Morris’ offense. Needless to say, the evidence suggests that wasn’t the fault of the true freshman. In 2 years in Kendal Briles’ offense, Burks was a matchup nightmare. Lined up in the slot, Burks dominated. Lined up out wide, Burks dominated. Shoot, even lined up in the running game, Burks dominated.
In the regular season, Burks had 3 times as many catches and receiving yards as any other Razorback pass-catcher. And after another touchdown grab, he had as many receiving scores (11) as the rest of the team combined.
They don’t make them like Burks.
After he limped off the field against Alabama because of a hit he took covering an onside kick, it would’ve been easy for him to sit out the regular season finalé given his status as a first-round prospect. Burks was dealing with an ankle injury and an upper body injury. When Burks made his first catch on Friday on a little swing route, he slipped and he needed medical attention on the sideline. It could’ve been a short day for the draft-eligible wideout.
But again, they don’t make them Burks. Dealing with an ankle injury, you aren’t supposed to be able to make secondaries pay for peeking in the backfield like this:
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) November 26, 2021
As Aaron Murray said on the broadcast, yeah, the turf monster got him. Happens.
Murray also said that Burks performed as advertised. In his last 2 games of the year against Alabama and Mizzou, Burks racked up 15 catches for 309 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mind you, that was at much less than 100%.
If Burks is indeed off to the NFL, there’s no question that the biggest question facing Sam Pittman’s team will be how it replaces Burks. There might not be a single player in America with his size and skill set. But the durability and the reliability were what made him special.
Think about if Burks had left Arkansas after his freshman season when Pittman arrived. Lord knows the former 4-star recruit would’ve had plenty of suitors. Instead, he stayed and helped Arkansas deliver the exact Year 2 jump that Razorback fans were hoping for.
There’s no way that Pittman references “the 4 Bs” without Burks’ impact. The goal was to:
- Become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016
- Win the Boot for the first time since 2015
- Beat Bama for the first time since 2006
- Win the Battle Line Trophy for the first time since 2015
Burks and Co. were a touchdown short at Alabama of accomplishing Pittman’s goal. Still, Burks helped Arkansas win all 3 of its trophy games in the same season for the first time ever. Coming into the year, not a single player on Arkansas’ roster had won one of those trophies, including Burks. In those 3 games (A&M, LSU and Mizzou), Burks averaged 111 scrimmage yards, and he had 2 touchdowns of 50-plus yards.
On Friday, Burks got to hold another rivalry trophy. Fittingly, it was also a day in which he became the program’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2012.
Time will tell how Burks is remembered among the SEC greats. He won’t have the same type of legacy as a DeVonta Smith or a Ja’Marr Chase because those guys won national awards and played for a national title.
But make no mistake. Burks could’ve played anywhere and been a star. Fortunately for Arkansas, he chose to do that in his home state.
As WATV’s Steve Sullivan noted before Friday’s game, Burks deserves to be in the same breath as Darren McFadden and Matt Jones “as homegrown freakish athletes who all did crazy things for U of A. I hope he goes out with a huge game.”
Done and done.