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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Get to Know: Chris Burnette

For the past few weeks, we've been talking with several of Georgia's incoming freshmen to get to know what they're like in anticipation of the 2009 season. In the latest installment, I spoke with offensive lineman Chris Burnette, who starred at Troup High School both on and off the field, falling just a few points shy of being named his class valedictorian. But there's more to Burnette than just a high GPA...

David Hale: Offensive linemen are known for having pretty interesting personalities. I know Ben Jones, among Georgia's linemen, has already established a reputation for being a bit on the crazy side, while other guys like Clint Boling are a bit more laid back. Where do you fall on that spectrum?

Chris Burnette: I think I'm more of a laid-back type of guy. I'm not trying to show off or anything. I'm just trying to do my job, but do it with intensity at the same time. I guess you could say off the field I'm mild-mannered and all that, but on the field, when I put that helmet on, I'm pretty much a nasty guy. I'm not trying to hurt anybody, but at the same time, I'm trying to take your head off. I'm trying to be energetic, energize other players on the team like Moreno used to do for his guys, running on and off the field, the little things that people might not think would be a big part of the game. I really try to implement that in what I do.

DH: As a local guy from LaGrange, did you always want to come to Georgia or did you seriously consider any other schools during the recruiting process?

CB: It was a no-brainer because I wanted to go to Georgia since I was in middle school. Before that I had moved around a lot. I lived in Columbus at one point, New Mexico, Oregon, a lot of different places. But once I finally got settled, Texas was actually the first school I wanted to go to, but then around sixth or seventh grade, I was like, the Bulldogs are the place to be. When they offered me in 11th grade, that was just the easiest decision I've made in a while.

DH: Is there an NFL player you really model yourself after?

CB: Really the guys I've been modeling my game after are guys who went to Alabama – Walter Jones and Chris Samuels. Those guys really are nasty on the field, and Walter Jones has a reputation of being one of the best pass blockers in the league. I just try to put a whole bunch of things and styles that they do and put it into what I do.

DH: So by this point, your smarts are well known by Georgia fans thanks to the whole controversy about Mark Richt wanting to come to your graduation, so I'm sure you didn't have too many problems with any of your classes, but what were your favorite and least favorite subjects in school?

CB: I can say my favorite class was lunch. Lunch and gym, even though I'm a pretty smart guy, I really like that stuff. I'm pretty well rounded when it comes to classes. There's not really one I really like more than the other. Hopefully that's something I get to work on when I get to Georgia where I can figure out what I want to do. The one I had the most problems with was calculus. That was probably the closest I'd ever been to making a B in high school. I was pretty much on the edge until the very end but I ended up pulling that one out.

DH: So since you like so many things, have you decided on a major at Georgia yet or are you kind of looking around to see what you like best?

CB: I'm really trying to play the field. I have a lot of AP classes and credits, so I'm coming in ahead of the curve. I'm trying not to rush into anything because I really want to have a major that I can use instead of just majoring in something. I'm into finance and stuff like that, so maybe business.

DH: OK, well as a guy who really appreciates lunch, what's your favorite meal?

CB: Really anything barbecue. I really like barbecued chicken, stuff like that. Just hot dogs off the grill, maybe hamburgers off the grill. I love barbecue all the way.

DH: If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be?

CB: I would have to say Michael Jordan because I idolized him and was a big basketball fan when I was a kid. So if I could just meet one guy that was a celebrity, it would have to be Michael Jordan.

DH: Do you have any good nicknames that people have given you over the years?

CB: Really I have too many to name. Some people call me Bernie, or they'll say C.J. or they'll call me a whole bunch of different crazy stuff that I probably wouldn't want to tell you, so I'll have to leave it at those two.

DH: You've lived a lot of places, so other than Georgia, where was your favorite?

CB: Texas, I really like Texas a lot. Oregon was kind of cold up there, and New Mexico, there was a lot of dust flying around, so I would have to say Texas even though it was a little hotter. When I got the chance to go back to San Antonio in January, it was a great experience.

DH: Of the places you haven't been yet, where would you most like to visit?

CB: I would really like to go to New York. It was originally L.A. but I had a chance to go out there earlier this year. But New York is one place that I still haven't been.

DH: Only a few more weeks before you start the Stacy Searels Experience, which everyone says is pretty tough. Have any of the current players given you some helpful advice to get you prepared for what's ins tore?

CB: Ben Jones, Ben Harden, they've really been trying to give me some tips, stuff that they've been trying to use. Really the biggest thing they were saying is make sure you are in shape. They like the way I play, and they were saying that if you come in an play like the way you've been playing, you have a chance to play because Coach Searels wants the best on the field. The main thing though is to get in shape and make sure you can figure out those plays and if you need help with anything, just ask the other guys because they're trying to be a family.

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