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Brian Burns looks to carry momentum from spring into 2017 Florida State football season

The star defensive end is already getting ready for the 2017 season.

NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

In this day and age of college football, many of the sport’s elite athletes are getting a head start in college by enrolling early in January. This gives those athletes an extra five month period in which to hone their skills at the collegiate level, get adjusted to life in a college setting, and further prepare themselves for their first football season.

Some players, such as Florida State defensive end Brian Burns, did not have this opportunity. In spite of the fact that he enrolled over the summer instead of in January, Burns had an impressive freshman season in which he made 9.5 sacks, most in the nation for a true freshman, and a total of 24 tackles.

Fresh off his first spring camp at FSU, Burns said he used the time to hone some skills, while attempting to get better at others. Specifically, he said, “playing the run,” was the biggest aspect he worked on in camp. “I’ve been taking pride in becoming a three-down player and not just a specialist.”

The sophomore from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. has a lot of expectations to live up to 2017 after such a successful season. He already has a plan set up to prepare himself to live up to those high expectations.

“Basically, going back and looking at the film from last year, instead of looking at the highlights and everything I did right, I look at everything I did wrong, and try to figure out how to fix that. If it’s regarding playing the run, getting knocked off the ball, hand placements, anything like that and I try to make my way through all of the film.”

Burns is expected to compete with, and share duties at weak-side defensive end/buck linebacker with junior Jacob Pugh, who is also coming off a successful 2016 season that included 4.5 sacks and 43 total tackles. Despite the competition, Burns had some positive things to say about his counterpart when asked about his importance to the line.

“He’s extremely important, he keeps us up along with Derwin and all the other key players, but he’s extremely important, especially to me because he pushes me to play as well as I do, and I push him.”

Next season, while many other teams will open the season with a cupcake FCS opponent, Florida State will be taking on a perennial powerhouse in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Burns is ready, and excited for that challenge.

“I’m happy to play Alabama, I’m ready to compete with my family and go to work.”

Burns may have been forced to hit the ground running a year ago, arriving mere months before the start of the season. However, his play on the field was far above his experience level. With a year at FSU, including his first spring, under his belt, 2017 could indeed be a breakout year for the Florida State standout.