Austin Burau 2012 is a little different than the version from 2011.
“I’m like this big dude running, and there’s all these little kids,” Burau laughs. “I look so goofy,” he says of the 49-second personal best the clocked in the 400 meters.
“The nearly 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior is Head Coach Royce Boehm’s do-everything app for the offense at Lee’s Summit West. Burau lines up at tight end, H-back, and receiver for the Titans. And there is an all-new feature for version 2.0.
“We play him as a short-yardage fullback,” Boehm says of the two-year starter. And the new functionality is paying off, to the tune of 10 TDs through seven weeks.
“Football is a game of matchups, and I get to use them,” Burau says. “Defenses have to account for a lot more. I can be that utility player, and I can do a lot.”
“That versatility is what he thrives on.
“In a given game, I can line up anywhere,” he says. “From a fullback to receiver, to a wildcat QB to a tight end,” he trails off, his eyes getting bigger. “It’s just insane!”
“Even with the new upgrades to the Titan offense featuring #80, his original tight end position is still his favorite.
“ “It’s pretty fun,” he says, laughing. “The defensive end doesn’t know what you are going to do—release, cut him, pancake him. He has to be ready for anything, and you have the advantage.”
“Burau started playing football in the third grade. Coaches quickly learned he could attack defenses from multiple positions.
“I was just this kid that could run forever,” he said, trailing off wistfully. “Then I grew. I moved to QB in middle school, then to tight end.”
“Boehm is quick to praise Burau to every college coach that visits Lee’s Summit West—even if they aren’t sure he measures up.
“Austin’s so far under the radar,” Boehm says of the two-year starter. “Oklahoma says he’s an inch too short.”
“I went to a bunch of camps over the summer,” Burau said. “Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri. They’ve been contacting me constantly.”
“Burau has also talked with the staff at New Mexico.
“So far, I have no offers, but I have a lot of requests for senior film.”
“For a prospect with such a varied skill set, the recruiting process has become a source of frustration for Burau. But life has given him perspective. His mother, Rhonda, is undergoing treatment for breast and bone cancer at KU Medical Center in Kansas City.
“It’s just one of those things,” he says, quietly. “My shoulders are a little bit heavier.”
“It’s with his mother in mind that Burau says he wants to play close to home.
“I know my time is limited, because I never know how many times she will get to see me play.”
“I soak up every moment.”