’07 Stars Welcomed Back
By Jourdan Rodrigue, Digital Communications Intern
A team with a 10-win season is a special thing. The players on such teams are remembered and revered within the university’s football culture. They’re admired and emulated. Many go on to NFL careers, and if the organization is lucky, they come back to their alma maters to spread their knowledge and experience.
Rudy Burgess and Josh Barrett are two such players. Both were members of the 2007 team that gained 10 wins for the first time since 1997’s Rose Bowl appearance, and both are mentioned in the same breath when fans discuss ASU’s glory days.
Former wide receiver Burgess had brief stints in the NFL and AFL after becoming just the 14th player in NCAA history to record over 1,000 rushing, return, and receiving yards during his college days. Now he’s back at Arizona State assisting in the recruiting office.
“I wanted to be a coach at some point and it was perfect timing when Graham came in looking for GAs,” he said. “The welcoming was great when I came back. It’s nice to know I still have love from Sun Devil Nation. I feel like this is my new home now. Once a Sun Devil, always a Sun Devil, and I think we need to have more guys come back to help the program.”
Burgess added that he sees parallels between this team and his own five years ago, and he wants to capitalize on that.
“The leadership qualities of the team are similar,” he said. “My senior year a lot of the direction came from the team itself. We had guys who took the initiative and kind of took control of certain situations with the team.”
On the opposite side of the ball, former safety Barrett finished his NFL career with both the Broncos and the Patriots before he found the arms of Sun Devil Nation outstretched to welcome him back in a Quality Control role with the football operations staff.
“Guys like myself and Burgess, for the players to see us while knowing that we had the season we did in 2007,” he said. “They’re asking us a bunch of questions and they’re really using us as a resource, which is great.”
Burgess said he and Barrett were standing on the field the other day discussing their own successful senior seasons and reminiscing about the opportunity the current Sun Devils are facing.
“It’s something where you feel you’ve crossed off some goals, but you’re by no means satisfied,” said Barrett. “You have that knowledge that there are still games to play and your ultimate goal is obtainable. There’s huge talent on this team.”
Added Burgess, “They’re on cloud nine in the locker room right now. Now something they’ve always dreamed, well, they’re starting to live it. To actually have the Rose Bowl in sight, guys probably have chills running through their body in anticipation of getting to the Big Dance.”
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