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IMG defensive back O.J. Burroughs intercepting his way to stardom

IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) defensive back O.J. Burroughs certainly doesn’t lack for confidence, so, yes, coming in to his first season with the Ascenders he envisioned himself being the all-time interception’s leader.

“I set high goals for myself,” Burroughs said.

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Still, attaining said goals two games in to the season with seven games remaining wasn’t exactly how he saw it all coming to fruition.

“It’s crazy,” Burroughs said. “I’ll take it though.”

Last Friday, Burroughs, a junior, swiped four interceptions in the Ascenders’ 24-7 win over Northwestern High School (Miami). That not only set a single-game interception record at IMG, it also doubled his interception output in IMG’s 46-7 season-opening drubbing of Venice (Florida) High School.

Burroughs’ six interceptions through two games broke the previous season record of five held by Saivion Smith (2014) and Brendan Radley-Hiles (2017).

“It’s an honor to be on top of the list,” Burroughs said. “I was thinking I’d get about six in the season, not in two games. There have been a lot of great players that have come through IMG so to be on top of that list is special for me.”

Burroughs’ propensity to snatch passes that aren’t intended for him shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention; last year at Savannah (Georgia) Christian he led the state in interceptions with 10.

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His elite secondary surveillance has already begun to impact his recruitment.

Coming in to the season he’d already received offers from Tennessee, Rutgers and Southern Miss; since the four-interception game he’s been hearing from Virginia, Miami, Missouri and Georgia.

“I’m just concentrating on my season right now,” Burroughs said. “I’ll probably look at setting up some visits after the season is over.”

Burroughs will need supreme focus this week when the No. 7 Ascenders travel to No. 11 St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) on Friday.

Burroughs admitted that a part of that focus is about eliminating the pressure to come away with multiple interceptions in every game.

“I try not to think about always getting the interception on every play,” Burroughs said. “That can mess with your head if you let it. I just focus on winning the game, that’s it. If I keep my focus on winning, then everything else will take of itself… But I still want to get two picks this week. That’s my goal.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY


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