Feeling the love, Luther Burden III aims to change fortunes of Missouri, St. Louis athletes and his family

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The driver of a used, gray Chevy Impala pulled out of the Missouri football facility last week. There was a lot riding on what he would do next. Not at that moment, exactly, but soon. Luther Burden III knew that.

You see, the likes of the game-changing freshman wide receiver, who is already riding with the nickname “LB3”, aren’t supposed to play for the likes of Mizzou. History tells us that.

The team has lured only four five-star prospects in its history. Recently, it has been a mid-level SEC program that has seen two winning seasons since playing in back-to-back conference championship games in 2013-14.

That was eight years and two coaches ago.

Some things remain the same in a state where again, when there is top national talent, it is usually snatched up by a national power. Just not Burden. Not in December when the nation’s No. 1 WR prospect signed with the Tigers, prompting the obvious question: Why?

“Go somewhere where you’re needed instead of where you’re wanted,” Burden told CBS Sports, recalling some far-off recruiting advice from a coterie of family and advisors who assisted him in the process. “I felt Missouri was where they needed me.”

That’s for sure. What’s different is that Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama needed him, too. Really needed him. And those programs aren’t used to losing such recruiting battles.

Along with Mizzou, those were the finalists from a list of 50 offers at last count. The 6-foot, 200-pound Burden is not only considered the No. 1 WR in the Class of 2022 but also the No. 3 overall player, according to 247Sports.

Before a defensive back lines up against him, surrounding Burden is a bubble of family, friends, advisors, hopes and expectations that make the receiver — like it or not…


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