Burkhead's favorite professional athlete is Barry Sanders, the former Oklahoma State and Detroit Lions star known for his unpretentious demeanor on the gridiron. Burkhead wore Sanders' No. 20 in high school.
"He's so much more than just a football player. His leadership and work ethic, it just makes everybody around him better. I know you hear that all the time, but that's just the cold, hard truth with Rex Burkhead." - Plano coach Jaydon McCullough
The Dallas Morning News named Burkhead as its offensive player of the year, joining recent winners Graham Harrell, Matthew Stafford and Chase Daniel. Rivals.com gives him a four-star ranking and places Burkhead ninth nationally among all-purpose backs and 28th overall in Texas. Scout.com lists him as the nation's No. 62 receiver.
Known as Superman around north Texas, Burkhead accumulated 6,373 all-purpose yards in a standout, four-year career at Plano. The school plays 5A ball in one of the state's most competitive districts, but that never stopped Burkhead. As a senior, he rushed for 1,762 yards on 256 yards and scored 28 touchdowns. He also caught 42 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns and scored twice on kick returns.
He's more polished athletically and as gifted physically as any of the NU recruits. Burkhead is entering a good situation, with the Huskers stacked at I-back. He'll get to learn the system and take it slow early, though it's difficult to imagine Burkhead as anything other than an impact player down the road.
Originally published Feb. 5, 2009 in the Omaha World-Herald
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