Sophomore offensive tackle Matthew Burrell Jr., who one memorable day in May received scholarship offers from Alabama, Ohio State and Wisconsin, is transferring from Spotsylvania County school Chancellor to Hylton.
The 6-foot-5, 282-pound Burrell Jr. attended elementary school and middle school in Prince William County and wants to return to that area to finish his high school career. His arrival will greatly strengthen a team that already figured to be one of the best in the Washington area this fall.
“Basically, I lived there for the majority of my life and went to school with all the kids who play for Hylton right now,” Burrell Jr. said. “It’s just like going home for me, so I kind of appreciated the idea when my dad presented it.
“It’s one thing to go to a school and not know what you’re going into, but it’s another thing to know you’re going into a competitive team and will have one of the top quarterbacks [Virginia Tech recruit Travon McMillian] in the country. It’s a dream for a left tackle. And having an explosive receiving corps. I’m in heaven.”
The Burrells are close to settling on a home in the Woodbridge area, Matthew Burrell Sr. said.
“I felt like he did well in Chancellor, but these are the kids he really went to elementary school with, so it only seemed right for him to enjoy his last two years at home around such familiar kids,” said the elder Burrell, who played basketball at Morgan State.
“He’s my son, and I just love watching him be happy. He couldn’t be happier coming back to Prince William County. You play at your best when you’re happy, and this is what makes him happy.”
Burrell Jr. received scholarship offers from Alabama, Wisconsin and Ohio State in the same day last month. Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Clemson, North Carolina, Penn State and South Carolina are among his other offers.
“That was a very good day,” Burrell Jr. said. “I didn’t even go to sleep that night. It was one of those things where a dream came true but it felt like it was like leading to another dream.”
Burrell Jr. counts some of the top players in Prince William County as friends. He attended McMillian’s college choice announcement. He played on the same middle school travel team as Stonewall Jackson sophomore defensive lineman Tim Settle, another highly sought recruit. And he seeks recruiting advice from Woodbridge standout junior defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, considered the top 2014 recruit in the country.
Burrell Jr. will play against both Settle and Hand this coming season.
“I looked up to Da’Shawn in sixth grade,” Burrell Jr. said. “When he played at Woodbridge his freshman year and was getting offers, I said, ‘I want to play like him.’”
Hylton Coach Tony Lilly said he did not want to comment extensively on Burrell Jr. because the lineman is not yet a registered student at the school. The Bulldogs open the season Aug. 30 at Osbourn.
“He’s definitely a high-level player from anything that I’ve seen on film of him,” Lilly said. “He knows a lot of the guys on our team. And they talk about him a lot.”
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