Photo: Hokes Bluff High School senior Hunter Burke signed a football scholarship with Faulkner University on May 12. Pictured, sitting, from left: Hunter’s dad Brian, Hunter, Hunter’s mom Bok. Standing, from left: HBHS assistant football coach Brad Robertson, HBHS principal Scott Calhoun, HBHS assistant football coach Jake Ball, HBHS head football coach Mike Robertson, HBHS assistant football coach Brian Sexton, HBHS assistant principal Rush Rutledge. (Courtesy of Buddy Ford)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
It turns out that Hunter Burke’s football career did not end at Saks High School on October 23, 2020.
The Hokes Bluff senior signed a scholarship with Faulkner University in Montgomery on May 12.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” said Burke, who plans on majoring in secondary education. “The idea (of getting a college football scholarship) didn’t really happen until this past season. I had a couple of big games and I started getting phone calls from some coaches. That’s when the reality set it that I could play at the next level.”
Burke felt comfortable with Faulkner’s hometown atmosphere when he visited the campus.
“It’s a lot like Hokes Bluff as there’s not a whole lot of people there and everybody knows everybody. I also liked the fact that the professors there are more like teachers, in that you don’t have 80 people in a class and [the professors] can connect with more people.”
Burke also played basketball and baseball throughout high school but learned early on that academics came first.
“It definitely was tough, knowing that you have to go study after a tough practice and you’re physically beat up,” he said. “But my parents (dad Brian and mom Bok) helped push me and made sure I kept me grades up. They always told me that academics will take you farther in life than athletics will. Eventually, everyone’s going to have to stop playing one day, and after that it’s your brain that’s going to carry you through.”
Playing at fullback and linebacker, Burke helped the Eagles go 23-11 and win three playoff games from 2018-20. He was named to the All-Etowah County first team this past season.
“For a guy like Hunter who worked his butt off and overachieved, he’s very deserving of this,” said Hokes Bluff head football and baseball coach Mike Robertson. “He’s a very un-derrated player. Whether he was running the ball or blocking or catching a pass, he did whatever it took to help the team win. He’s as tough as nails, he’s unselfish and he’s a great teammate. [Faulkner] won’t have anyone who will work any harde)r or give more of an effort and Hunter will.”