By Spencer DuPuis
LoCoSports Staff Writer
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Aldie (March 21, 2016) — John Champe High School senior Zach Burdick has made a commitment to continue his football career at Division I-AA William & Mary starting in the 2016-2017 academic year.
“It feels amazing [to be committed]because I know that all the hard work I have put in is starting to pay off,” Burdick said.
The Tribe are coached by Jimmye Laycock — who enters his 37th season at the helm of the program. While at William & Mary, Laycock has compiled a record of 240-174-2 including 23 wins since 2013.
“William and Mary not only has a really successful football program but is extremely respectable in the academic aspect as well,” the 6-foot-1, 176-pound Burdick said. “This was something that really caught my attention and is something that is very important to me. Also, the coaches are very vocal about working hard and getting a degree just as much as performing well on the field. To have coaches value academics and football the way they do at W&M, is something that I feel is really special.”
At William & Mary, Burdick will join Broad Run graduate Brady Reitzel (2015). He will also compete against eleven Loudoun County graduates in the CAA — one at Towson and ten at James Madison. Burdick– recruited as an athlete — hopes he can make a positive impact on the team right away whether it be on offense or defense.
“I feel that I will be a positive influence to the team because of my work ethic and my passion for the game of football,” Burdick said. “Because I have played [receiver/defensive back] all my life until switching to [quarterback]my junior year of high school, I feel that my versatility will be a benefit to the team.”
In 2015, Burdick and the John Champe Knights made a name for themselves as they finished 11-1 with their only loss coming in a VHSL 4A West region semifinal to Salem. After the season, Burdick was named Conference 22 Offensive Player of the Year, first team All-VHSL 4A West region, first team All-VHSL 4A state and an All-LoCo honorable mention.
“Playing at John Champe was a very exhilarating experience,” Burdick said. “We opened up four years ago and had a lot stacked against us as a new school. We started out 0-10 our first year, and we just kept grinding and kept believing that we could compete at a very high level every year. My senior year we went 11-1, and it just goes to show how hard work does pay off. The teammates I played with are some of the toughest competitors I have ever met, and it truly is an honor to have played for John Champe.”
The Aldie-native mentioned he got into football at a very young age and that it has been a big part of his life and has made him who he is today.
“I play football because, ever since I was a little kid, it is something that I loved and appreciated so greatly,” Burdick said. “It has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. There are pictures of me as a baby decked out in Steelers gear and home videos of me playing catch with my dad at five-years-old. People who play football understand the feeling it gives you when you compete alongside your teammates to try and win. It is a feeling no other sport gives you and is something that many football players including myself love so much about it. Football is a major factor in making me the person I am today, and I do believe I am a better person because I have played football. And to play the sport I love at W&M is something I can’t even put into words.”