The moment he stepped out onto the field, freshman quarterback Melvin Burston started doing big things.
After the game against Greensboro College, Burston was named the USA South Athletic Conference football offensive rookie of the week. He was also named to the NCAA Division III national team of the week and chosen as the best quarterback in the nation after the contest.
So, who is Melvin Burston?
Born and raised in Bradenton, Fla., Burston started playing football at the young age of 6. He started off playing center on a flag football team. It was not until he reached the age of 10 that he started playing quarterback, after a teammate’s injury.
His high school football program at Palmetto High School managed to make a playoff run every year during his four-year career there.
Living with his father, stepmom, two younger brothers and two sisters, as well as seeing his birth mother about twice a week, Burston has always had a supportive network around him. He said that his father has always been the most influential figure in his football career. When told about Burston’s awards, his family told him to keep up the good work. He said that they were proud of him, but not really surprised; that they knew what he was capable of; and this was the first time he has played to his potential.
However, Burston has remained cautious in the face of praise.
“Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to get the award, but I don’t want to let it get to my head,” he said. “I just want to try and stay humble about it.”
When asked about his favorite aspects of football, Burston said: “Being in the moment and making big plays when everyone is counting on me to make them. If I mess up, it’s on me, but if I do what I need to do, it feels good.”
Burston chose to join the Fighting Scots here at Maryville College mainly in order to play football. However, he was also interested in the high graduation rate among student-athletes and the advantage that he would have finding a job after receiving a diploma from MC.
As of now, his intentions are to stay here for all four years and continue his education and football career.
“I really want to make a difference in the program,” Burston said. “The first time Coach Ierulli put me in the game, I was excited and nervous, but I knew I was ready.”
He also went on to say that he prepared himself every day in practice like he was the starting quarterback so that when the opportunity presented itself, he would be ready for anything. The only pregame ritual that Burston has is to pray before each and every game.
Melvin Burston is expected to do great things for the football program in the coming years. The two awards that he just received are hopefully an insight to what he has in store for the future.