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ASU in the Pros Series: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict

As a former 5-star in high school and an All-American at ASU, Burfict has settled into the NFL.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Vontaze Burfict, a supremely talented former Arizona State Sun Devil, has consistently courted controversy on the field both in his college and pro career.

Coming out of high school Burfict was considered a five-star recruit by rivals.com and scout.com, and was listed as the No. 1 inside linebacker prospect in the nation. He was one of the highest ranked prospects ever signed by Arizona State.

Burfict lived up to the hype as a freshman winning Pac-10 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and was voted a freshman All-American.

His sophomore year he had an equally impressive season, 90 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and two forced fumbles. He was selected to be a First-Team All-American — the school’s first since Terrell Suggs — and he also won Pac-10 Defensive MVP.

Going into his junior season, Burfict was rated as high as the fifth overall pick in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft, but his junior season was marred by inconsistent play and numerous personal foul penalties, which caused him to be labeled the “Meanest Player in College Football” by Sporting News.

After a poor showing at the NFL Combine and an interview in which he allegedly blamed his coaches at ASU for his sub par performance his junior season, Burfict fell all the way to a projected seventh-round pick. He also allegedly tested positive for marijuana at the combine. He eventually went undrafted and was signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent.

In his three years at ASU Burfict made 228 career tackles, including 22.5 for loss, had seven career sacks, and broke up 12 passes with four forced-fumbles.

Notable Achievements at ASU:

-Pac- 10 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year (2009)

-Freshman All-American (2009)

-First-Team All-American (2010)

-Pac-10 Defensive MVP (2010)

Where is he now?

After being getting signed by the Bengals, Burfict showed that he was worth the risk. He played in all 16 games as a rookie and started 14 of those. He finished the season as the Bengals’ top tackler with 127.

Burfict was even better in his second season with the team. He finished the 2013 season leading the NFL in tackles with 171, and was the only Bengals defensive player selected to the Pro Bowl.

He was the first Bengals linebacker to make the Pro Bowl since Jim LeClair in 1976.

After the 2013 season Burfict signed a four year $19 million extension with the Bengals, with almost $7 million in guaranteed money.

Burfict has accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fines so far in his career, which has earned him a reputation as a vicious, and sometimes dirty defensive player.

Notable NFL Achievements:

-Pro Bowl (2013)

-Second- Team All-Pro (2013)

-NFL leader in tackles (2013)