clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ASU's 50 Best Professional Athletes No. 38: Football's Vontaze Burfict

New, 1 comment

We continue our summer series counting down the 50 greatest professional athletes to have attended Arizona State, staying on the gridiron today for No. 38.

Norm Hall/Getty Images

He's been blamed for his team's strange exit from the playoffs, and accused of intentionally trying to injure the ankles of Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, and Greg Olsen.

The NFL career of Vontaze Burfict has been filled with controversy thus far, but his accomplishments have still earned him a spot on our list at No. 38.

After growing up in Corona, California, Burfict originally committed to USC before switching to the Arizona State Sun Devils on National Signing Day. The linebacker soon became known for his big hits and big personal foul penalties while playing under Dennis Erickson, but his significance to the Arizona State defense cannot be understated.

Burfict finished his three seasons in Tempe with 288 total tackles to go along with first-team All-American honors, yet went undrafted by any of the 32 NFL teams.

He eventually found a home with the Cincinnati Bengals, starting in 14 games his rookie season. Cincinnati allowed 2.4 fewer yards per play when Burfict was on the field in that 2012 campaign.

His rough style of play spiked in 2013, as did his accomplishments. The former Sun Devil standout has been fined nearly $155,000 throughout his last three seasons in the league, but has also made the Pro Bowl and been named to the second-team All-Pro list.

Burfict has a total of 401 tackles so far in his NFL career. He has also made his presence known in the passing game, breaking up 15 passes and making three interceptions in four years.

He may be controversial, but the excitement and air of unpredictability Burfict provides fans with on a weekly basis is always fun to watch.

Check back tomorrow to see who will be No. 37 on our list of the 50 best professional athletes to come out of Arizona State.