ASU’s Burfict enters NFL draft to mixed reviews

slider burfictFor better or for worse, the Vontaze Burfict-Arizona State relationship is over.

The two have separated.

Maybe we should just say “parted ways.”

However you phrase it, this became official earlier this week when the talented, yet controversial, linebacker opted to skip his senior season as ASU and enter the NFL draft.

The 6’3, 250-pound wrecking ball leaves Tempe as one of the most highly publicized, often scrutinized players in recent memory. 

We saw the good (Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year; team-leading 90 tackles and named The Sporting News Pac-10 Defensive MVP as a sophomore), the bad (numerous late hits and personal foul penalties over his three-year career) and the ugly (altercations with officials; a late-season benching against Cal after reportedly refusing to go back into the game).

NFL experts and message boards differ as to where the Corona, California native will land on draft weekend, but many say buyer beware.

“He’s an immense talent, no one is going to question [that],” ESPN college football analyst Brock Huard told Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports” Wednesday. “It’s all the other baggage that goes along with it. Is someone willing to take that risk?”

Things began to escalate with this past summer with reports of fighting with teammates and Burfict allegedly punching a teammate after an off-season workout. He had little, if any, interaction with the media during his three seasons on campus.

“I feel like a lot of the things he went through before the season as far as the media getting on him, it took its’ toll,” Former Sun Devil teammate and fellow future draft pick Gerell Robinson told Cesmat. “At the end of the day people have to realize that we’re football players, but we’re humans, too.”

Former ASU wide receiver Gerell Robinson on ‘Big Guy on Sports’

So now Burfict, along with the rest of us, will play the waiting game regarding his open-ended NFL future.

“He’s first-round talent,” Huard explained. “Is somebody willing to take the risk? We’ll see in April.”