Oren Burks - Football - Vanderbilt University Athletics

#20 Oren Burks


Class Redshirt Senior
Height 6'3"
Weight 230
Hometown Fairfax Station, Va.
High School South County


2017 Butkus Award watch list
2017 Preseason Third Team All-SEC Linebacker – Media Days ballot
2017 Preseason Third Team All-SEC Linebacker – Athlons
2017 Senior CLASS Award nominee
2016 Wooden Citizenship Cup finalist
2016 Allstate-AFCA Good Works Team recipient
2016 Wuerffel Trophy nominee
2016 Vanderbilt Outstanding Senior Award finalist
2016 Spring Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll
2015 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll
2015 Third Team All-SEC DB – Phil Steele
2014 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll

Starting at a new position for the third straight year, the versatile Burks enjoyed his finest statistical season as a senior defensive co-captain… Started 11 of 12 games at inside linebacker after playing hybrid linebacker-safety position in 2016… As senior, set new personal highs with 45 solo tackles and 82 total tackles… Both tackle totals ranked second on team behind safety LaDarius Wiley… Ranked No. 15 in the SEC in total tackles… Also registered seven tackles for loss, a quarterback sack, interception and fumble recovery, and four defensed passes… Also bettered previous single-game tackle total on two occasions, topped by 15-tackle performance at Florida and 12-tackle effort vs. Kentucky… Contributed at least four tackles in 10 of 12 games… Registered season-high seven unassisted stops and fumble recovery against Kentucky…. Interception came in victory over Alabama A&M… Concluded career with 40 starts in 45 appearances… After last appearance as Commodore, ranked as the team’s active leader in several defensive statistical categories, including 237 total tackles, 136 solo tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and five interceptions… Off the field, Burks was under consideration for the Senior CLASS award.

Playing a new position closer to the end of scrimmage, Burks enjoyed one of the best seasons of any Commodore defender, establishing several new personal highs… Burks played in all 13 games and earned 10 starting assignments — nine from the “Star” linebacker-safety hybrid position and another at inside linebacker… Burks finished the season by establishing new career highs with 59 total tackles, 40 solo tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 quarterback sacks and team-high 6.5 quarterback hurries… Also added a fumble recovery, interception and six defensed passes… Burks was most productive late in the season, contributing 23 total tackles in the Commodores’ final three regular season games… His nine-tackle total in the finale against Tennessee matched a career high… Burks was superb in an early-season win over Middle Tennessee, registering a sack, three defensed passes, four tackles and an acrobatic interception that he returned 59 yards… He contributed three tackles against NC State in the Camping World Independence Bowl… Off the field, the defensive co-captain was named to the 22-member Allstate-AFCA national FBS Good Works Team, was a finalist for Wooden Citizenship Cup Award, and nominated for the Wuerffel Trophy.

Burks started every game in the secondary in his third year on campus… Handled the Commodores’ free safety chores, running consecutive starts streak to 16 games by end of regular season… Posted single-season career highs in numerous categories, including 34 solo stops, 58 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss… Earned postseason third team All-SEC recognition from Phil Steele publications… Topped team and ranked among SEC’s Top Ten with three interceptions… Posted at least three tackles in 10 of 12 appearances… Ended season on high note, setting game highs of eight solo tackles and nine total stops vs. Tennessee… Earned SEC’s Defensive Player of the Week and Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Player of the Week honors after registering two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, in victory over Kentucky… Contributed at least four tackles in each of first six games… Third interception came at Ole Miss… Moved to linebacker-safety position during 2016 spring drills.

Burks became a key contributor in the Commodore secondary as a redshirt freshman… Registered seven starting assignments at safety while setting action in eight total games…Injury forced Burks out of the lineup for four games during a midseason stretch… Starts came against Temple, Ole Miss, UMass, Old Dominion, Florida, Mississippi State and Tennessee… Earned Freshman all-conference and All-American consideration… Ended the year by leading the defense with seven defensed passes, and ranked 10th with 37 total tackles… Also contributed 16 solo tackles and registered one fumble recovery… Posted single-game high with seven total tackles against Ole Miss and Mississippi State… Most solo tackles (4) came in opener vs. Temple… Moved from outside linebacker to safety during the spring drills.

Burks did not see game action as a true freshman on campus… He was part of a freshman linebacking trio that impressed coaches and teammates during fall practices… Accomplished good work improving strength during the season… Moved to safety during spring drills.

High School
Two-year captain… Three-year defensive starter… As senior LB, named First Team All-State, district’s Defensive Player of the Year and team MVP after accumulating 123 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and three INTs… Also added three TD catches and four blocked punts for 2012 squad that advanced to second round of Group 5 playoffs… Participated in postseason Chesapeake Bowl… As junior, posted 128 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, two INTs and three defensive TDs – as Stallions advanced to state title game.


Oren Spencer Burks… Son of Orlanda and Wanda Burks… Born March 21, 1995… A younger sister, Whitney, is a standout softball player at Stanford… Dad works as senior system engineer; mom works as program operations manager… Burks completed undergraduate degree in Human & Organizational Development after fall 2017 semester… An active leader on campus, Burks served the 2016-17 calendar year as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and as a football team representative to SAAC the previous year… He also co-founded and coordinated events last year for campus organization Revitalizing & Empowering Vanderbilt’s African-American Male Population (REVAMP)… Also volunteers time with Project Safe on-campus organization… Named to 2016 Allstate-AFCA NCAA FBS National Good Works Team and was finalist for 2017 Wooden Citizenship Cup Award… Voted finalist for Vanderbilt’s campus-wide Outstanding Senior Award… Focus on national story in NCAA Champions magazine this summer… Represented teammates at SEC Media Days in 2016 and 2017… Voted as Mr. Commodore Award recipient in May 2017 by fellow Vanderbilt student-athletes…

Career Highs
Total Tackles: 15, at Florida, 9/30/2017
Solo Tackles: 8,(2x) last vs. Tennessee, 11/26/2016
Break Ups: 2, (4x) last vs. vs. Georgia, 9/12/15
Sacks: 1.0, (4x) last vs. Kentucky, 11/11/2017
Interceptions: 2, vs. Kentucky, 11/14/2015