Burrell Learning the OLB Position

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In his senior season, Denzel Burrell is getting a taste of what life will be like as an outside linebacker for UVa. The 6-4, 210-pound Columbia High School (Maplewood, N.J.) recruit has seen playing time at outside linebacker this year after enjoying a great junior season as a defensive end.

As a junior last season, Burrell disrupted opposing backfields with 26 quarterback pressures, 23 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks. So how is Burrell faring in his first year playing linebacker?

“I’m mixing time at outside linebacker and defensive end and I played one game at middle linebacker due to our injuries,” Burrell said. “I’ve felt comfortable playing outside linebacker. It’s been difficult in that other teams know about me so I get a lot of double teams, but I’ve liked it. The one thing I’m learning now is reading play action passes. I feel better doing that now. I’m doing well at playing the run and blitzing, which is what I like to do. I’m getting used to the game speed at linebacker.”

Burrell is encouraged about how he’s performed at the outside linebacker position.

“I feel like I have a lot of potential,” Burrell said of playing outside linebacker. “Especially when I blitz, because then I can use my athletic ability and speed to get to the quarterback. I have a lot to learn to get better, but I’m excited about it.”

This off-season, Burrell’s primary goal is to get to 220-pounds before arriving in Charlottesville. He hopes for some help from his primary recruiter in achieving that goal.

“I haven’t got any numbers in terms of weight lifting, but my strength is pretty much the same,” Burrell said. He could bench 270-pounds earlier this summer. “My weight is about 211-pounds. This off-season, I’m going to join a gym in town. I’ll call Coach D’Onofrio to see if there are any workout training programs he could offer or suggest. I want to be around 220-pounds by the time I get to UVa.”

Burrell has been in contact on a weekly basis with Coach D’Onofrio. D’Onofrio stopped by Columbia recently and gave Burrell some advice.

“When Coach D’Onofrio came by, he just told me to keep fighting until the end even though we’re having a tough season,” Burrell said. Columbia is 1-6 on the year. “He said he knows it’s tough, but I need to make the best of it. He told me about the team – he said they are vying for