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Top 25 AZ Sports Stories of 2011: #9 The Vontaze Burfict Saga

The staff of has compiled their list
of the top 25 Arizona sports stories of the year 2011.
We’ll be unveiling them over the next couple of weeks all
leading up to the top story of 2011.

The 2011 football season got off to a great start for ASU
junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Following a decent sophomore season, Burfict was
supposedly poised for a breakout. Sporting News named
him “the meanest man in college football”
. Blue Ribbon Magazine
named him the preseason defensive player of the year
All-conference accolades poured in as well.

But there was still that lingering question about
Burfict’s attitude. The knock on him was that he played
with such a violent style that he was a target for
personal foul penalties. But several, including ASU head
coach Dennis Erickson, talked about that issue and said
that Burfict had become more of a leader on the team — a
role he was embracing.