For Old Dominion defensive lineman Chris Burnette, the time he spent at the Ravens' training complex for a local prospects day offered some validation and encouragement.
Among the team personnel Burnette met with: Ravens coach John Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and defensive line coach Clarence Brooks.
"It was real exciting and humbling being around the team I grew up watching and always wanting to play for," Burnette said. "It was a great feeling being one of the top guys from the area and getting to work out with the Ravens. I thought it went very well. I did real well in my positional drills and got a lot of good feedback from the coaches and scouts.
"It was surreal meeting them. They're really nice guys. Talking to Coach Harbaugh, he said, 'We find talent everywhere and don't think because you're not at a big school that we would overlook you.' It was very humbling. I work my tail off. I started from nothing and I never quit."
Burnette was a first-team All-Colonial Athletic Conference selection and a third-team All-American pick last season. He recorded 73 tackles and four sacks with seven tackles for losses and one interception. He finished his career with six blocked kicks.
A four-year starter, Burnette also earned all-academic conference honors.
"My style is I'm a high-motor guy with a lot of energy," Burnette said. "I never give up on a play. I'm very athletic for my size."
At his campus Pro Day workout, the 6-foot-3, 298-pounder bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times and had a 9-2 broad jump, a 27 1/2 inch vertical leap.
As a junior, Burnette had 49 tackles, eight for losses, 3 1/2 sacks and blocked three field goals. He was named third-team all-conference.
As a sophomore, Burnett had 28 tackles, 8 1/2 for losses and two sacks.
During his freshman season, he had 37 tackles, two sacks and two blocked field goals.
At Gilman, Burnette was an all-state selection and named All-Metro by The Baltimore Sun during his senior year. He recorded 78 tackles, 21 for losses, eight sacks, five forced fumbles and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
"I got a great foundation there. That's where it all began for me," Burnette said. "I got a great education. Everything I learned from them carried over to the next level to Old Dominion. They're a big part of why I was so successful.
"Honestly, I was overlooked coming out of high school. I wasn't getting a lot of looks from schools. I told my mom that she wouldn't have to pay for my education and that I would get an athletic scholarship. Academics was first to me at Old Dominion."
If Burnette goes undrafted, he figures to be a priority free agent.
"I just want to be a part of a team and do whatever it takes to get my team to a Super Bowl and win a championship," Burnette said. "I'm a relentless player willing to compete every down and put it all on the line.
"It's about finding a team that's the best fit for my abilities and talent. Every kid wants to be drafted. Just having the honor to be on any NFL team would be a great honor. I'd be happy to be picked up by anyone."
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