24/7: 83, three stars; #51 TE, VA #42
ESPN: 72, three stars; #31 TE-Y, VA #48, East #215
Rivals: 5.5, three stars; VA #37
Scout: two stars
Other offers: Cincinnati, Buffalo
Time to get back into the business of recruit profiles after a very basketball-related hiatus. Richard Burney is a tight end prospect out of the 757, significant because he represents a commitment (perhaps a belated one, but a commitment all the same) to recruit the TE position. "We need tight ends" is more or less exactly the pitch he was given, too. He could be yoinked over to the defensive side, as he also pulls double duty as a DE, but if this coaching staff holds on, then I doubt it.
Burney has good prototypical size for a tight end; he's 6'4" or 6'5" depending on where you look, and 6'5" is probably the safer bet because he doesn't seem to have stopped growing yet. He put on 20 pounds this year; Recruit757 was calling him 210 back in the spring. Not that he's got NFL-level athleticism right now, but the way he looks in terms of size and usage reminds me of Brandon Pettigrew.
Because of this, he appears to complement nicely with our other TE recruit, Tanner Cowley. He's actually bigger than Cowley, but looks like the better athlete; Cowley's blocking is better than his pass-catching. Burney's the other way around. Though not elite at all, he's got potential. (On the other hand, ESPN's evaluation says "looks to give some effort as a blocker" which just set a new record for damnation with faintest praise.)
It's unfortunately difficult to get excited over Burney's credentials, though. His ratings slightly outpace his offers, but not much; ESPN and Scout are really bearish, Rivals is lukewarm, and 24/7 is a notch above that. There's no injury history or lack of camping to explain away his short offer list; he went to Wisconsin (he's a Badger legacy, actually, his dad played in Madison) and VT and came away empty. Cincinnati offered, but neither party seemed too excited about the other.
Regardless, he's going to be needed. We've already gone over that I don't think Mario Nixon is going to see the field, Rob Burns is a ghost, and Zach Swanson is graduating. There's no reason to think Evan Butts isn't a legitimate option, but he's redshirting, so his skills remain a mystery. And Cowley is well behind Burney in terms of field-ready size, though there's still nearly a year to go. I think Burney comes in with a slight lead over Cowley for playing time, and could easily see him on the field next season. Depends on how many TEs the coaches decide to use. We're basically looking at four scholarship TEs next year, none of whom have any incumbency in the job. If there were any four-star prospects coming in they'd probably be thought of as the likely starter, so there's no reason Burney can't at least compete, if not just surprise everyone and win the job.