Vontaze Burfict
Burfict in his rookie season with the Bengals
No. 55     Cincinnati Bengals
Personal information
Date of birth: (1990-09-24) September 24, 1990 (age 30)
Place of birth: Los Angeles, California
High School: Corona (CA) Centennial
Career information
College: Arizona State
Undrafted in 2012
Debuted in 2012 for the Cincinnati Bengals
Career history
*Cincinnati Bengals ( 2012–present)
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • TSN All-American (2010)
  • TSN Pac-10 Defensive MVP (2010)
  • FWAA, CFN Freshman All-American (2009)
  • Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year (2009)
  • EA Sports, MaxPreps, Parade High School All-American (2008)
  • USA Today High School All-American (2008)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2012
Tackles     127
Sacks     1.0
Interceptions     0

Vontaze DeLeon Burfict, Jr. (born September 24, 1990) is an American football linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals. He attended Arizona State University. Burfict was considered the most highly ranked football prospect Arizona State ever signed to a letter of intent,[1][2] but had an up-and-down career for the Sun Devils. An All-American in 2010, Burfict was projected an early first round pick for the 2012 NFL Draft.[3][4][5] However, a mediocre junior season and poor pre-draft workout performances deteriorated his draft stock. Burfict eventually went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, but was later signed by the Bengals.[6] He went on to have a productive rookie season, starting 14 games and leading the team in tackles.[7]

High school career

Burfict attended Centennial High School in Corona, California, where he was part of an undefeated Huskies team that won a CIF title, a state championship with the help of quarterback Taylor Martinez, and was ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today in 2008.[8] That year, Burfict led the Huskies with 159 tackles, two quarterback sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Burfict participated in the US Army All-American Bowl and was the third-leading tackler for the West team. He also earned numerous All-American honors, including Parade.[9]

As a junior, Burfict collected a team-high 130 tackles and added four sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He helped anchor a linebackers unit that included fellow Sun Devils Shelly Lyons and Brandon Magee. Corona Centennial finished the 2007 season as No. 24 on USA Today‘s Top 25.[10]

Burfict missed almost all of his sophomore season due to academic problems.[11]

Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com, Burfict was listed as the No. 1 inside linebacker prospect in the nation.[12][13]

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Vontaze Burfict
Corona, California Centennial High School (CA) 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) 245 lb (111 kg) 4.6 Feb 4,
Scout:75px   Rivals:75px   ESPN grade: 85
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 1 (MLB)   Rivals: 1 (ILB), 2 (CA)  ESPN: 1 (LB)
Note: In many cases, Scout and Rivals may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
In these cases, an average of the two was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

College career

File:Vontaze Burfict vs Matt Barkley 2011 3411.jpg

Burfict (left) pointing at USC Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley, during a game in 2011.

Burfict originally committed to play for the USC Trojans, but eventually switched to Arizona State on National Signing Day.[14] He joined ASU's 2009 class that included three of his high school teammates.[15] By July 2009, he struggled to meet admission standard based on the NCAA eligibility sliding scale and still had one summer school class to complete.[16] Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson, who compared Burfict to Ray Lewis,[2] expected him to be academically eligible for enrollment.[17] Burfict did qualify on time for the 2010 football season.

By midseason, Burfict ranked second in the team with 30 tackles despite starting only three of six games, and had five tackles for a loss, two sacks and three pass break-ups. ESPN named him Arizona State's midseason defensive MVP.[18] In a road game against Georgia on September 26, Burfict collected a season-high 11 tackles (three solo) and one and half tackles for loss. He led the Sun Devils in tackles in five games over the course of the season. By the end of the year, he had collected 69 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks, and was named a Freshman All-American by College Football News,[19] and by the Football Writers Association of America.[20] He was also honored as the Pacific-10 Conference Defensive Freshman of the Year.

At the start of his sophomore season, Burfict was named First-Team Preseason All-American by The Sporting News. He was also named to the watch lists of the 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.[21]

On October 6, 2010, Burfict was benched by Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. The reason given was Burfict's unusually high number of personal foul penalties.[22] In a game against Stanford, Burfict was called for grabbing the facemask of Doug Baldwin, and—after complaining to the referee—charged with a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct that gave Stanford a first down at the ASU 7.[23] Two plays later, Stanford scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown.[24]

Burfict finished the 2010 season with a team leading 90 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and two forced fumbles. The Sporting News selected him to their All-American team, as well as Pacific-10 Defensive MVP.[25] Burfict is ASU's first 1st team All-American since Terrell Suggs.

With senior cornerback Omar Bolden lost for the season to a knee injury, Burfict was expected to take over as the leader of the Sun Devils defense in 2011,[26][27] but eventually had a rather inconsistent junior season. Burfict decided to forgo his senior year at Arizona State and entered the 2012 NFL Draft.[28]

Professional career

2012 NFL Draft

When he entered his junior season, Burfict was regarded as one of the best linebackers available in the 2012 NFL Draft, projected to go as high as the No. 5 pick.[3][4][5] Problems on and off the field at Arizona State, however, caused his draft stock to plummet. In October 2011, Sports Illustrated′s Tony Pauline still ranked him as the No. 20 prospect on his midseason draft board, but noted that he has been "a loose cannon on and off the field, which has raised red flags."[29]

Burfict entered the NFL Combine rated as the No. 3 inside linebacker, behind Luke Kuechly and Dont'a Hightower, but his "disappointing" performance—including a 5.09 sec in the 40-yard dash, slowest among linebackers—caused some analysts to project him as a third day (Rd. 4-7) draft pick.[30][31] NFL scouts also faulted him for his interview process, in which he blamed the ASU coaching staff for his mediocre junior season.[32] Later it was also reported that Burfict tested positive for marijuana at the combine.[33]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1¼ in 248 lb31¼ in9¾ in 5.09 s 30 in 9 ft 8 in 16 reps

At the ASU pro day on March 16, Burfict had an "average" performance by his own estimation.[34] According to SI's Tony Pauline, Burfict "looked poorly conditioned and out-of-place in drills".[35][36] In their draft coverage, SI.com projected him as 7th round to undrafted.[37] Burfict eventually went undrafted, but was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent.[6]

Cincinnati Bengals

An undrafted rookie, Burfict managed to make the Cincinnati Bengals' roster. He played in all 16 games and started 14 of those, finishing the seasons as the Bengals' top tackler with 127 combined tackles, including 18 tackles in their final game of the year against the Baltimore Ravens. When Burfict was on field, the Bengals defense allowed 2.4 yards fewer per play compared to 4.5 when he was off the field.[7]


Burfict was born in South Los Angeles. His father, a gang member and convicted cocaine dealer, was incarcerated most of the time and never had a relationship with his son.[38] His mother, a city transit bus driver, initially raised Burfict and his older half-brother DaShan Miller (b. 1986) on her own, but eventually re-married and moved to Corona.[38][39] Like Burfict, DaShan Miller was a football player at Corona Centennial High School, and later played college football at UTEP and Akron.[39] Miller was eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft but was not selected by any team.


  1. Arizona State University Football Signs 21 Players to Letters of Intent, February 4, 2009, http://thesundevils.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020409aaa.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bordow, Scott (August 15, 2009), "Burfict has perfect linebacker philosophy", East Valley Tribune, http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/143069[dead link]
  3. 3.0 3.1 Prisco, Pete (May 1, 2011). "Flash forward: Top 32 picks for the 2012 NFL Draft". CBSSports.com. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/15014424/flash-forward-top-32-picks-for-the-2012-nfl-draft.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pauline, Tony (May 3, 2011). "Stanford's Luck headlines early look at top 2012 draft prospects". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/nfl/05/03/2012.prospects/.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Reuter, Chad (May 4, 2011). "2012 mock draft: First look with Luck and Heels". CBSSports.com. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/story/15029593/mock-draft-first-look-with-luck-and-heels.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Undrafted LB Burfict gets chance with Bengals". Yahoo! Sports. May 11, 2012. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/undrafted-lb-burfict-gets-chance-182221208--nfl.html.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Burfict's impact on Bengals is unmatched
  8. "Fort Lauderdale's Aquinas finishes season atop Super 25", USA Today, December 22, 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/football/poll/2008-super25.htm
  9. O'Shea, Michael (January 25, 2009), "Meet PARADE's All-America High School Football Team", Parade, http://www.parade.com/news/all-america/2009/parade-all-america-high-school-football-team.html
  10. "Miami Northwestern crowned Super 25 champion", USA Today, December 26, 2007, http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/football/poll/2007-super25.htm
  11. Crabtree, Jeremy (November 4, 2007), "Junior LB makes the grades, delivers impact", USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/sports/recruiting/football/west/2007-10-30-west.htm
  12. Rivals.com inside linebackers 2009, January 16, 2009, http://rivals100.rivals.com/viewrank.asp?ra_key=2128
  13. "Linebackers 2009", Scout.com, http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=9&c=4&pid=65&yr=2009
  14. Sondheimer, Eric (February 4, 2009), "ASU gets big-time recruit in linebacker Burfict", Los Angeles Times, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2009/02/asu-gets-big-ti.html
  15. Kosmider, Nick (2009-02-11). "ASU adds wide receiver to recruiting class". State Press. http://www.statepress.com/archive/node/4268. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  16. Metcalfe, Jeff (July 18, 2009), "HS coach 'relatively optimistic' about Burfict qualifying", The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/jeffmetcalfe/58058
  17. Metcalfe, Jeff (August 13, 2009), "ASU expects Burfict to be eligible", The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2009/08/13/20090813asuburfict.html
  18. Miller, Ted (October 20, 2009), "Midseason review: Arizona State", ESPN.com, http://espn.go.com/blog/pac10/post/_/id/4209/midseason-review-arizona-state
  19. Cirminiello, Richard (December 8, 2009), "2009 CFN All-Freshman Team: Defense & Special Teams", College Football News, http://cfn.scout.com/2/927274.html
  20. "2009 AON Insurance/FWAA Freshman All-America Team", FWAA, January 7, 2010, http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/news/2009/allamerica100107.html.
  21. "ASU's Vontaze Burfict Named First-Team All-American By Sporting News". ASU Athletics Football. June 22, 2010. http://thesundevils.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/062210aaa.html.
  22. Metcalfe, Jeff (October 5, 2010). "Dennis Erickson takes Vontaze Burfict out of Arizona State starting lineup vs. Washington". The Arizona Republic. http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2010/10/05/20101005arizona-state-football-burfict-benched.html.
  23. Highlights: (6) Stanford - ASU at YouTube
  24. Boivin, Paola (November 13, 2010). "ASU football team sees spirited effort derailed by Vontaze Burfict's mistakes". The Arizona Republic. http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2010/11/13/20101113asu-vontaze-burfict-mistakes.html.
  25. "Burfict honored as an All-American". The Arizona Republic. 2010-12-15. http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/DouglasHaller/110593.
  26. Haller, Doug (April 21, 2011). "ASU's Vontaze Burfict embracing leadership role". The Arizona Republic. http://www.azcentral.com/sports/asu/articles/2011/04/21/20110421asu-football-vontaze-burfict-leader.html.
  27. Dodd, Dennis (May 20, 2011). "Burfict timing? Arizona State can climb if 'backer grows up". CBS Sports. http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/story/15084294/burfict-timing-arizona-state-can-climb-if-backer-grows-up.
  28. "Vontaze Burfict enters NFL draft". ESPN. Jan 3, 2012. http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2012/story/_/id/7420118/vontaze-burfict-arizona-state-sun-devils-enters-nfl-draft.
  29. Pauline, Tony (October 24, 2011). "Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson high in midseason NFL draft rankings". SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/tony_pauline/10/24/top.50/.
  30. Rang, Rob (February 27, 2012). "Lackluster Combine could push Burfict to Day 3". CBS Sports. http://rob-rang.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/13682485/35011522.
  31. Banks, Don (February 29, 2012). "Andrew Luck, Stephen Hill, Vontaze Burfict make their mark on NFL combine". SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/don_banks/02/29/combine.awards/index.html?xid=si_nfl.
  32. Feldman, Bruce (February 27, 2012). "Burfict from yellow flags to red ones?". CBS Sports. http://bruce-feldman.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/31626208/35006810.
  33. Sources: Burfict failed drug test
  34. Marotta, Vince (March 16, 2012). "ASU Pro Day: Burfict 'average', Bolden '100% healthy'". Arizona Sports. http://arizonasports.com/44/1515612/ASU-Pro-Day-Burfict-average-Bolden-100-healthy.
  35. Pro Day Tracker
  36. Vontaze Burfict bombs his Pro Day, too
  37. "Vontaze Burfict". CNN. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/draft-2012/players/97974.html.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Dillon, Dennis (April 20, 2012). "Burfict working hard to overcome bad reputation, plummeting stock". SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/dennis_dillon/04/20/vontaze.burfict/index.html.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Roenigk, Alyssa (April 23, 2012). "ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict is draft's most misunderstood player". ESPN The Magazine. http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft2012/story/_/id/7821147/nfl-asu-linebacker-vontaze-burfict-draft-most-misunderstood-player-espn-magazine.

External links

fi:Vontaze Burfict

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.