North running back commits to Miami (Ohio)

The way Mitchell Burton saw it, he didn’t really want to go to a big school, so why wait on another possible scholarship offer?

So with an offer already in hand from Miami (Ohio), the Columbus North junior running back decided to go ahead an commit to join the RedHawks beginning in 2017.

“Some people were telling me to wait, but I never wanted to go to a big school like a Big Ten school or something like that,” Burton said. “I figured (Miami) was the right fit. I never really had a big dream school, but after I saw Miami, I really liked it, and I decided to run with it.”

After spending most of his sophomore season as a starting safety, Burton was moved to running back for the final three games and rushed for more than 500 yards.

Then as a junior, he ran for more than 1,700 yards in leading the Bull Dogs to a 6-4 record and earning Junior All-State and The Republic Offensive-Player-of-the-Year honors.

Burton said another reason why he liked Miami was because they plan to use him at running back, while other schools would probably try to move him to wide receiver or defensive back.

“Mitchell is your consummate football player,” North coach Tim Bless said. “He’ll play where the team needs him to go, but I think he’s excited about the prospect of getting to carry the football at the collegiate level.”

The RedHawks went 3-9 last fall in Chuck Martin’s second year leading the program. Martin led Grand Valley State to four Division II national championships and was offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame when the Irish reached the BCS national championship game in 2012. Burton plans to major in business or kinesiology at Miami.

“I think it’s an awesome fit,” Bless said. “The academics at Miami are superb. They’re kind of transitioning. They haven’t won a lot of games the last few years, but they have a new staff on board that’s doing it the right way and getting a lot of great prospects.”

Burton, who is currently running track for North, has high hopes for his senior football season.

“I just want to try to break the rushing records, and I want to win conference and hopefully (the) sectional against Center Grove,” he said.

At a glance

Three Columbus East seniors will participate in a signing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. today in the school’s commons.

Brandon Brooks plans to play football at Anderson, Shaunak Deshmukh will run cross-country and track at Trine and Sean Galligar will play football at Olivet Nazarene.

On Thursday, five Columbus North seniors will participate in a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Katrina May will pole vault at Purdue, Paige Littrell (DePauw) and Amy Weisner (Earlham) will play basketball, Mitchell Kelley will play football at Rose-Hulman and Anna Horak will run cross-country and track at DePauw.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.