FAYETTEVILLE — Treylon Burks has been invited to attend tonight’s splashy NFL Draft Show at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas as a strong candidate for first-round pick. The early declarer from the University of Arkansas is expected to be one of the first wide receivers off the board during the seven-round draft.
Neon, glitter and strobe lights aren’t exactly in the wheelhouse of Burks, a country boy from Warren who finds boar hunting more exciting than a roulette wheel and mammoth tents.
Besides, when he hears his name during the draft, how could he not privy friends and family, especially great-grandmother Freda Burks, to the moment when his dreams will be realized, his financial future may be sealed?
“Everyone knows my great-grandmother,” he said. “This is my decision. I didn’t want to put her on a plane to fly all the way there. I’d rather have it at home where she can participate.”
Burks, his fiancee Shelby Pearlman and invited guests will be present at the design party at a home in Searcy. From there he will be involved in draft coverage of NFL VIRTUAL.
Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Alabama’s Jameson Williams and USC’s Drake London are the four wideouts among the 21 players who accepted an invitation to draft in person. They’re the prospects that Burks competes with as the best wide receivers available.
Burks, who declared early after a great junior season, inherently knows he has a chance to become one of the best NFL skill players the Razorbacks have ever produced.
Representing his hometown and university are significant for the 6-2, 225-pounder.
“It means a lot to me because those are the places that made me who I am,” he said during a recent promotional appearance at Raising Cane’s in Fayetteville. “Why change the places that brought you forth? You can just give them a name, and other kids who come through there can make a name for themselves.”
Burks didn’t impress with his 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine, a 4.55 that combined with other test metrics had some analysts wondering if he would be among the top receiver picks.
“I don’t care what nobody thinks,” Burks said. “All I can say is watch the movie and see if I got caught 40 times.”
Burks was clocked at 22.6 miles per hour while running in open field in a 91-yard touchdown against Georgia Southern on Sept. 18, one of the fastest speeds in college football last season. According to NFL Next-Gen Stats, no player went faster than 22.6 mph in any NFL game last year.
“If he’s running a 40, nobody’s chasing him because he’s not in a game-like situation,” said Warren Coach Bo Hembree, who came to the UA campus for Burks’ Pro Day. “But I’ve never seen him get caught. In three years of high school and three years of college, I’ve never seen him get caught.”
If selected, Burks’ highlight will not only include the speed dealer’s touchdown against Georgia Southern and his dominance over less talented defenders.
The back shoulder throw he caught on the Alabama 49 and then crawled five Crimson Tide defenders in his dust on a 66-yard touchdown will be a standout clip. That was part of his 8 catches for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Crimson Tide Secondary as Burks put on one of his best performances against one of the nation’s best defenses.
Other highlight clips include his one-hand toe-tap masterpiece of a touchdown in Arkansas’ 33-21 homecoming win over Ole Miss in 2020 and his single coverage hitting the 85-yard touchdown catch and run , even if he stumbles to set the tone in the Razorbacks’ victory over Texas A&M No. 7 last year.
“I mean, one word, just ‘awesome,'” said Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson to describe Burks. “Being able to get the ball to a guy like him in space or when he’s double-decked, treble-decked just knowing he’s going to make a play. As long as the ball is in the air, it will play.”
Burks arrived in Arkansas a year after linebacker Bumper Pool, and those two classes took a couple of years to take a beating in the SEC before contributing to a renaissance.
“He’s the definition of greatness,” Pool said. “He has such a great mindset. People who have Treylon’s talent can take it and take so many different directions with it. He’s such a great person, such a great worker. He’s one of the biggest pigs to put it in a jersey and I hope everyone realizes that.”
Burks’ talent was evident as a youngster at Warren’s training ground, where he was a third-grader ball boy for Hembree’s Lumberjacks.
“In Warren, we really only have one place to exercise and that’s the YMCA. So I’ve watched Treylon play since the YMCA days,” said Jarius Wright, the former Arkansas wide receiver who spent eight seasons in the NFL after setting records with the Razorbacks.
“I don’t only know Treylon from sport. I’ve always known Treylon. He’s always been a monster compared to the other kids and he’s always played like that, so it’s nothing new.”
Hembree, who has overseen a wide receiver pipeline through Warren that fueled the upper echelons of college football for well over a decade, said Burks is a better person than a player.
“I know a lot of people say that, but it’s true about him,” Hembree said. “He chose Arkansas when it was not conspicuous to vote back Arkansas three years ago. It was a difficult process because he had offers from all over the country.”
Hembree said Burks was struggling with his decision to turn pro during the Thanksgiving break — after catching 7 passes for 129 yards and 1 touchdown in a 34-17 win over Missouri in his last game as a razorback.
The two met at the Warren Fieldhouse on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
“I walked out there and you could see it was taking a toll on him,” Hembree said. “He didn’t really know what to do. Many people came up to him from different directions and told him what to do.
“What people need to understand is that he could have gone anywhere in the nation and he chose Arkansas when Arkansas wasn’t very good. And he’s pretty much given his heart and soul and it’s just who he is. He gave Arkansas everything he could for three years and then he made a tough decision.”
Burk’s reputation for turning pro kept him from practicing and playing for the Razorbacks’ 24-10 win over Penn State at the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
Wright owns several UA records, including 2,934 career yards, 12 touchdowns in a season (2011), and 13 catches in a game.
A decade later, Burks challenged some of those brands by catching 66 passes for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns, breaking the school record for 100-yard receptions in a 6-season. His 10 career 100-yard games are one ahead of Wright and one short of Anthony Lucas’ school record of 11.
“You know, I was actually hoping he’d break some because who better than a guy from the same town as you, a guy you grew up to break your record?” Wright said.
Burks said Wright advised him several times during his career, including leading up to the draft.
“He’s helping me through this process and just encouraging me to keep going, and the finish line is almost there, and after the finish there’s another finish line that you have to get to,” Burks said.
“I did an interview with someone and told them he hadn’t seen the best of Treylon Burks, and that was before he took off,” Wright said in the state championship game he had about 15 tackles on defense and about 200 yards in the offensive. That spoke to the kind of athlete he is.”
Wright said Burks’ pro potential is off the charts.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said. “He’s still a little kid. He hasn’t reached his peak yet. He will only get better.”
Burks said he modeled his game after the likes of former SEC wide receivers Julio Jones, DK Metcalf and Ja’Marr Chase and he drew comparisons to former Ole Miss star AJ Brown as a physical slot wide receiver.
Most mock drafts see him as a first-round pick, including No. 19 for New Orleans by NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, No. 20 for Atlanta by Luke Easterling of USA Today, No. 22 for Green Bay by Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com and Josh Edwards, #25 for Buffalo by CBSSports.com’s Chris Trapasso, #28 for Green Bay by CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco, and #29 for Kansas City by The Sporting News.
It is not a consensus first-round projection. NFL.com’s Chad Reuters sends him to Chicago in the second round with the No. 39 pick.
Burks worked at the Exos training facility in Frisco, Texas in preparation for the combine and UA’s Pro Day. He has since traveled to train for individual teams and has maintained his training regimen.
“I was on 14 teams,” Burks said. “I would say half the entire NFL just to get to know the coaches and some players and things like that.”
Draft Night is likely to evoke some strong emotions in Burks.
“I won’t lie to you,” he said. “I could shed a few tears. I will try to stay strong. But I will just give everything to God and thank him several times.”