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December 3, 2012

Burke out to prove he belongs at Army Bowl

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Matt Burke knows it takes hard work to be a U.S. Army All-American. On Monday, the West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman standout earned his U.S. Army All-American jersey at a presentation in front of teammates, friends and family.

"It was awesome," Burke said. "I'm very thankful to have this opportunity. All of the hard work over the last four years finally paid off. I've had great support along the way. It's a tremendous honor and I can't wait to play in the game."

The three-star prospect hopes to improve his recruiting stock with a strong performance at the game.

"I think this game will help me with recruiting," Burke said. "People have told me a good game will help me. The schools that are talking to me have told me they are happy to be recruiting an All-American."

Burke finished the year with 29 pass receptions for 343 yards and six touchdowns while also adding a few sacks on defense.

Boise State, Florida International and San Diego State have offered among others. Now that the season is over, Burke plans to focus on the recruiting process. He has an official visit set for Boise for this weekend and then will scoot down to San Diego to visit the Aztecs on Tuesday.

Growing up, Burke didn't have a dream school. His brothers liked Miami, but he had friends and family cheer for Florida State and Florida. He took an unofficial to the Swamp earlier this season to watch the Gators take on South Carolina.

The reliable tight end has a 3.8 cumulative GPA and academics will play a factor when choosing a school.

"I want to go to a school where I can make a good living and be successful," noted Burke.

On the field he tries to pattern his game after NFL star Rob Gronkowski. He says opposing coaches compare him to Jimmy Graham and Jeremy Shockey.

One advantage he may have going to the next level is his understanding of the game thanks to his head coach, Steve Walsh. Walsh won a national championship at Miami and spent eleven seasons in the NFL with six different teams.

"I think playing for Coach Walsh has been great," Burke said. "He runs our practices like a NFL and college practice. He has a ton of experience. Our coaches do a good job with us."

For Burke he plans to put everything together in San Antonio to see how he stacks up against the nation's best. It's an experience of a lifetime and he said it's an "honor" to be a part of the game.

"I'm just thankful for the opportunity and to the men and women that serve our country," Burke noted. "For me being an Army All-American is a great title to have."

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