When the Bengals announced they’d signed undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict, anyone whose watched football in the past year knew immediately the player the Bengals were signing. After having All-American seasons his first two seasons atArizona State as the Sun Devil’s starting middle linebacker, Burfict had a nightmarish junior season. He was flagged repeatedly for personal foul penalties, which caused him to hold back at times and not play well.
When he was on though, he was one of the most devastating hitters in all of college football. He also was an excellent playmake in coverage, as evidenced by his interception of next year’s likely number one overall draft pick, Matt Barkley.
On more than one occasion, it was evident that referees were flagging him unnecessarily on plays where he hit his opponent cleanly. ASU head coach Dennis Erickson, cited several incidents in which he believed refs targeted Burfict unfairly.
Still, Burfict was viewed as a selfish player who let his emotions get the best of him. When he was supposed to be making pre-snap calls, he would instead be spending time yelling at opposing players and even his own coaches on the sideline. He was benched several times last season and never lived up to the All-American he was his previous two years.
Here are his Career Achievements:
2008 High School All-American (EA Sports, MaxPreps, Parade)
2009 Freshman All-American (FWAA, CFN)
2009 Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year
2010 All-American (TSN)
2010 Pac-10 Defensive MVP (TSN)
2011 Preseason Blue Ribbon Magazine’s National Defensive Player of the Year.