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Even a Wildcat can see Vontaze Burfict ready for big 2011

The Arizona versus Arizona State rivalry pretty much permeates through anything involving the two schools regardless of whether it involves athletics or not. That’s why when a writer who covers one of the teams says a player for the other should win a national award it should be noted.

TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino, who has covered Arizona athletics for years, was asked by Lindy’s Football Annuals to give his vote for who he thinks will win the 2011 NCAA defensive player of the year. His answer was a player who wears maroon and gold.

I’ll tell you that Lindy’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year is Arizona State junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

I’ve had my share of fun mocking his lack of on-field discipline. I’ve shaken my head at the nation’s (unofficial) leader in personal foul penalties.

But nobody ever has denied Burfict’s raw talent, and you can’t name a more feared defender in college football. (And just wait until he shows up in the Sun Devils’ new all-black uniforms).

Exactly what was Gimino’s explanation as to why Burfict is his and the publication’s selection? It’s seems it was simple, “why not?”

Burfict has all the talent in the world, the problem for him has been a lack of discipline. Last season he recorded 90 tackles and had 8.5 tackles that were for a lost of 18 yards or more.

If he can cut down on the personal foul penalties that have plagued him throughout his first two seasons and cost his team victories, he and the Sun Devils should be in great position in the Pac-12 and nationally this fall.