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March 12, 2013

Player Spotlight: Isaiah Burse




If spring is the time of year for things to grow and develop, then Fresno State wide receiver Isaiah Burse is on track to continue his growth as a valuable offensive weapon in the arsenal of the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Playing in the spread offense last year under Tim DeRuyter and offensive coordinator Dave Schramm helped Burse develop in to a multi-purpose threat as a wide receiver and punt and kick returner.

And if Burse continues to grow this spring, then the Fresno State offense will become more lethal than what it was in 2012.

Burse found his own place in the Bulldogs' potent offense last season. He ranked fourth in the Mountain West with 762 receiving yards and was fifth with 63.5 yards per game. He also ranked eighth in the conference with 4.42 catches per game.

Burse also showed his versatility on special teams last season, returning 24 kickoffs for 546 yards and averaging 22.8 yards per return. As a punt returner, he returned eight punts for 82 yards.

Burse added to his statistical accomplishments last season by garnering consideration for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation's most versatile player, CFPA All-Purpose Trophy and the Jet Return Specialist Award. In addition, he was selected to the 2012 All-Mountain West honorable mention team.

Burse's importance in the Fresno State offense was an important one because he gave Derek Carr a more elusive receiver who was capable of making opponents miss tackles and forcing them to over pursue.

And as he continues his development this spring, Burse is also looking to add a new element in his game: speed.

"People see my side to side quickness, but I want to show them speed this year," he said.

Burse should definitely have his chance in 2013 to show off his greater quickness, playing in a receiving corps that includes fellow burner Davante Adams, an up-and-comer in Josh Harper and Victor Dean, who is coming back from a knee injury. With Burse's talents added to this group, Derek Carr will have no shortage of play makers.

"When I'm good, they're good. When they're good, I'm good," Burse said. "If it's like that, I think we can win a lot of games."

But Burse knows continued development happens in the spring. And so far, he feels like his own expectations are still being worked out. "I've met them," Burse said. "I'm pretty sure if I continue doing what I'm doing, I will [exceed them]."

So far this spring, Burse has continued learning some of the intricacies that the spread offense offers and he's also working on becoming more of a vocal leader for the team-on and off the field. Hopefully, all of the hard work Burse has put in will translate in to his best season yet at Fresno State.

Despite Burse's development as more of a dangerous receiver, his greatest contribution may come as a punt and kick returner once again.

Burse's long gains and returns gave the Bulldogs offense favorable field position in 2012, and while he figures to be a major factor in the receiving game, his talents on special teams will be invaluable.

And for Burse, he has no problem with that. "I really want to do both punt return and kick return," Burse said. "You never know what can happen during the season; whatever they're going to put me at, I'm going to try to do my best."

Even though Burse and his Bulldogs' teammates are still in the thralls of spring, his development as an offensive star for the 'Dogs figures to bloom in full once the 2013 season begins. And when his talent finally blossoms, then his growth will be complete.

Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on 2013 Fresno State spring football. You can follow Jason on Twitter at @dodgerjason.


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