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Aubrey Burks Ranked Among Nation’s Top Safeties, Increasing Expectations for Final College Season

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WVU Football S Aubrey Burks
Ed Thompson / WVSN

Aubrey Burks is no stranger to expectations, but knows the 2024 season will be pivotal for his career. The expectations for Burks to have a big final year at WVU are real and only increased recently when he was labeled one of the best safeties in the country by PFF.

Despite coming off a season that was hampered by an injury, Max Chadwick still views Burks as an elite player, placing him at N0. 10 among the top returning safeties in the nation.

“Among returning Power Five safeties over the last couple of seasons, Burks has the best PFF coverage (90.3) and is second in overall PFF grade (90.2). The junior’s 22 coverage stops in that span is third among all Power Five safeties,” said Chadwick about why he included Burks.

But Chadwick also added why he doesn’t have Burks higher on his list. “Burks needs to improve as a tackler, but the rising senior is a rangy player who consistently makes plays in the backend of the Mountaineers’ defense.”

Burks sounded very aware of the opportunity in front of him this fall when he last spoke to the media after a spring practice in March.

Burks referred to the upcoming 2024 season as a “contract year” for him in his career. The veteran safety then added that head coach Neal Brown used that label with him as a way to emphasize the importance his last college season.

Aubrey Burks Debunks Offseason Rumors, Refers to 2024 Season as ‘Contract Year’

While Burks did also say every season is a “contract year” in this climate, 2024 is different because it will be his last college season and his plan has always been to make it to the NFL above all else. The Oakridge, Fla. native also used the topic of NIL money to debunk the past speculation about his possible transfer to another program.

Burks said he stayed at West Virginia due to being comfortable. He elaborated that he did not want to have to learn a new coaching staff. According to Burks, far more was made about him possibly leaving in than was ever actually the case.

But now that all of the speculation is behind him, Burks is focused on finishing out his time as a Mountaineer on the best note possible. However, in order for Burks to continue to progress as a player and be a leader for the WVU defense, he knew he had to get in the right head space again. On the status of his mental health, Burks made it clear he is in “good” spirits and fully ready to go after dealing with the roller coaster of emotions of a 2023 season that was derailed by an early season injury.

Aubrey Burks will enter his senior season at West Virginia after three years with the program. The versatile safety has appeared in 29 games for the Mountaineers and played in 12 this past season. Burks recorded 48 total tackles with four being for a loss. He also posted six pass deflections, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

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