When Cam Burrows began playing football in the second grade, his father started asking him where he wanted to go college.
Burrows’ answer then was Ohio State, and it was the same every other time his father inquired.
And on Jan. 15, when Burrows was in Columbus, Ohio, on an unofficial visit, his answer was once again the Buckeyes. Only this time he was telling Urban Meyer.
Burrows, now a junior cornerback at Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio), made the commitment public four days later at an assembly at his school with his mom and dad by his side.
Dressed in a black suit with a red shirt and red-and-gray striped tie, the ESPNU 150 Watch List member started thinking during his announcement about the time his family was driving through Columbus when Burrows was nine. His dad, knowing his son was a big Buckeyes fan, stopped in the parking lot of the Horseshoe to show him where Ohio State plays.
It’s something Burrows says he’ll never forget, especially since he’ll be playing in that same building starting in the fall of 2013.
This past fall, Burrows earned All-Ohio first-team honors after tallying 46 tackles, 12 pass breakups and four interceptions and helping Trotwood-Madison win its first state title and finish the season No. 40 in the POWERADE FAB 50.
Burrows, who has a 3.5 GPA, said he plans on graduating early and enrolling at Ohio State in January. And with his commitment out of the way, he can now focus on leading the Rams to another state crown this fall.
Get Familiar with this future Buckeye.
ESPNHS: When did you first realize you could play football at an elite level?
Burrows: My freshman year I started out as a wide receiver, but I got hurt. When I came back, they had me on the scout team and I was burning the varsity defensive backs. One of the assistant coaches pulled me aside and said, “If you keep this up, you’ll be playing on Sundays.” That made me work harder and push through my workouts.
ESPNHS: What’s your favorite part of playing cornerback?
Burrows: I just like the challenge of being on an island all alone. Whether it’s zone or man or press, I like to get up in your face and be physical. I watch Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Darrelle Revis and Morris Claiborne. And Will Allen, who used to play at Ohio State and now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is my mentor. He helped me with my recruiting process in terms of how to talk to coaches. It was a very big help.
ESPNHS: What type of mentality do you have to have as a cornerback?
Burrows: You have to have confidence and a short memory. Everyone is going to get beat. It’s just a matter of how you handle it. In the state championship game, the wide receiver did a comeback. I swatted at it, but he still caught it for a touchdown. I was like, “Wow, how did he catch it?” When that happens, you can’t keep going over it. It’s over.
ESPNHS: What was it like winning the first football state crown at Trotwood-Madison?
Burrows: It was so great because my brother, Chris (who runs track at Arizona State), won a state title in track and wore his medal around the house. I told him that I’d be getting mine soon. It was great getting to bring something home. It meant a lot to the community. We had a pep rally and the gym was full.
ESPNHS: How does this team stay hungry after winning state?
Burrows: We know that everything isn’t promised. We know everyone is gunning for us. We just have to play like we have a target on our backs. This year was good, but it would be great if we could do it again.
ESPNHS: Why did you pick Ohio State and why so early?
Burrows: I’ve always been an Ohio State fan growing up and it just topped it off when Urban Meyer got there. When I went on my unofficial visit and I was at the basketball game against Indiana, it just felt right. I want to win Big Ten championships and national championships. I feel like big things are going to come to Ohio State, and I want to be a part of it. I feel very relieved to be able to focus on school and not have to worry about where I’m going.
ESPNHS: Why graduate early?
Burrows: I have to take English 12 this summer and I’ll graduate in December. It will give me an advantage of getting ahead of my schoolwork and maybe be able to play as a true freshman. I have my goal, and that’s to make it to the NFL. I’m going to do whatever I can to achieve that goal.
ESPNHS: Who do you credit the most for getting you to this point?
Burrows: My parents and my brother. Just competing with my brother my entire life challenged me. My parents have always been there for me and pushed me to get good grades and to be successful. I don’t think I could have gotten here without them. They’re very excited I’m staying close to home.
School: Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio)
Position: Wide receiver/cornerback
College: Ohio State
TV Show: “SportsCenter”
Athlete: Patrick Peterson
School Subject: Math
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Food: Chicken Parmesan