William Burton, a senior tight end and defensive end for the Granite Hills High School football team.
William Burton is one of the almost-legendary East County Burtons, but he isn’t in the least intimidated by what his father, uncle or older brother have accomplished.
“There’s really no pressure; I feel like I’ve lived up to it already,” said the Granite Hills High senior. “We all try to make East County famous.”
“We all” includes his father, Brad, an assistant coach at Grossmont College; his uncle Mitch, who coached at Granite Hills and is now at Steele Canyon; and his brother Jacob, a sophomore who is big in the plans of the 2017
Brad and Mitch were terrors while at El Capitan High in the mid-1980s before moving on to make an impact at San Diego State.
William, at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, plays on both sides of the ball, making himself a huge target as a tight end and a dominant end on defense after collecting eight quarterback sacks a year ago.
Oh yes, he’s also a towering presence as a left-handed pitcher with a fastball that touches 90 mph.
Although you won’t get him to pin down his favorite sport or even which position he prefers on the football field, perhaps this statement gives you a clue:
“I’ve scored touchdowns and collected sacks but by far the best feeling is getting a sack,” said the 17-year-old.
Eagles coach Kellan Cobbs likes TDs and sacks and expects William to have plenty of each after coming in bigger, stronger and faster after a dynamic summer.
“He can catch the ball, he’s athletic and he ran a 4.87 for the 40,” Cobbs said. “The thing is, he works hard. At times he’s the class clown and it seems he always has something happening, but he has a strong personality.
“He has those long arms that make him an especially good blocker and receiver at tight end.”
After participating in three camps this summer, his stock is surging.
He turned heads at both the San Diego State and UCLA camps and after participating in the Blue-Grey Combine, he received an invitation, along with Otay Ranch fullback Faufano Autele, to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl Dec. 18 at AT&T Stadium, home of the
“I did really well in all three (camps), but especially the combine,” William said. “I was able to impress the coaches and get my name out front. I just go out and compete and at the camps I was able to dominate without anyone dominating me.
“I work hard — extra hard, even after practice — and that gets you noticed. I learn plays really fast (he carries a 3.4 GPA), too. I’m usually double-teamed, but I’ve learned to use my hands on defense and use my technique on offense.”
He started his football education on the varsity level even as a freshman when he was called up and participated in both of the Eagles’ playoff games. The next season he started on defense and last year was a two-way player.
Looking ahead, he hopes to be 6-6 and 260 pounds by this time next year.
William, who prefers playing on the road except for homecoming because he likes variety, says he’s keeping his options open regarding his college choice, although schools like Washington, Oregon State, UCLA, Wyoming and San Diego State have expressed serious interest.
“Once some of the other schools see him play this fall,” Cobbs said in advance of the Eagles’ opener at San Pasqual Friday night, “there will even be more interest.”
But no one who has followed East County high school football will be surprised. The name Burton conjures up some mighty fine football players.
Brand is a freelance writer.