TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils points and yells at quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans just prior to a play at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
After the heartbreaking end of the season for the Ravens the good news is that Ray Lewis has already come out and said he'll be returning next season. That being said, he has clearly lost a step and it is undoubtedly the beginning of the end. Vontaze Burfict is the perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens as they look for Ray's successor. Burfict plays with a violent streak and nastiness that will remind Ravens fans of a young Ray Lewis.
Burfict has tons of athleticism but lacks discipline and control. In Baltimore, he can start his career behind Ray Lewis and learn from a player that comes from a similar background. Burfict is also an accomplished pass rusher from the ILB position so he could help out the Ravens in that area as they lack a consistent threat opposite Suggs.
A little more on Burfict.
Burfict originally committed to play for USC , but eventually switched to Arizona State on National Signing Day. By July 2009, he struggled to meet admission standard based on the NCAA eligibility sliding scale and still had one summer school class to complete. Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson, who compared Burfict to Ray Lewis, expected him to be academically eligible for enrollment. Burfict did qualify on time for the 2010 football season.
By mid-season, Burfict ranked second in the team with 30 tackles despite starting only three of six games, and had five tackles for a loss, two sacks and three pass break-ups. ESPN named him Arizona State's mid-season defensive MVP. In a road game against Georgia on September 26, Burfict collected a season-high 11 tackles (three solo) and one and half tackles for loss. He led the Sun Devils in tackles in five games over the course of the season. By the end of the year, he had collected 69 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks, and was named a Freshman All-American by College Football News and by the Football Writers Association of America. He was also honored as the Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
At the start of his sophomore season, Burfict was named First-Team Preseason All-American by The Sporting News. He was also named to the watch lists of the 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
On October 6, 2010 Burfict was benched by Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. The reason given was Burfict's unusually high number of personal foul penalties. In a game against Stanford, Burfict was called for grabbing the face-mask of Doug Baldwin, and—after complaining to the referee—charged with a personal foul for unsportsmanlike conduct that gave Stanford a first down at the ASU 7 yard line. Two plays later, Stanford scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown.
Burfict finished the 2010 season with a team leading 90 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and two forced fumbles. The Sporting News selected him to their All-American team, as well as Pacific-10 Defensive MVP.[Burfict is ASU's first 1st team All-American since Terrell Suggs.