By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
It seems like Baylor football has yet to hop off the transfer train as the Bears received a new offensive line commitment in UCLA’s Jake Burton Tuesday night.
Burton, a consistent starter in the Bruins O-line the past two seasons, announced his commitment via Twitter, thanking his family and friends, as well as his UCLA coaches and teammates for their support during his time on the team.
“I was looking forward to finishing my college career with my Bruin teammates,” Burton said. “Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, that is not possible this year. After much thought, I have decided to enter the transfer portal in hopes of gaining the opportunity to play football this fall.”
While Baylor head coach Dave Aranda wasn’t at liberty to discuss his new transfer, he did note that Baylor had the tools necessary to get any player up to speed with just two weeks left before the season opener.
“The ability is there that if there was a guy who came in who had some catching up to do, that he could have film or installs, and he could spend a day watching install one to install 10, and take notes of all it entails,” Aranda said. “There’s an app for guys’ phones. Our players now, we send them reminders, we send them quizzes through their phones…There are tools that are there when we get somebody who is in school and ready to go and all of it that we could hit it from all sides.”
Aranda and the Baylor staff already dipped into the transfer portal to fill gaps in the defense with Arkansas State’s William Bradley-King and Iowa’s Dillon Doyle. Burton would fill a hole on the offensive side of the ball.
The Alpine, Calif., native started 12 games at right tackle for the Bruins in 2019 and saw action in all 12 games of their 2018 season, all while blocking for UCLA running back Joshua Kelley. Kelley recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons while Burton was at right tackle.
The tactic of strengthening a team by bringing in transfers is not a new one. Not at Baylor or anywhere else. However, the more success transfers bring to their programs, the more the interest in transfer culture seems to grow.
Aranda said that he still believes heavily on “the four-year” player, a high school player that can be developed through a “team-first” mindset. But having a new staff and implementing a new system calls for a fresh strategy. The first-year head coach said that he usually looks for players that are willing to buy in and strengthen the team.
“I think you can get quality people with good hearts and people that are mature and believe in the team aspect. I think you can make your team better in that way,” Aranda said. “This particular year, the best team is going to win. Not the team with the best players or the best coaches, but the best team.”
Baylor football hits the field against Louisiana Tech for the season opener on Sept. 12 at McLane Stadium.