Overview
Joe Burnett is a cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who selected him with the 168th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Burnett played four seasons at Central Florida, where he became the school's all-time leader in interceptions and punt return yardage. Burnett is 5-feet, 11-inches tall and weighs 185 pounds.
Prep Career
Burnett played multiple positions at Eustis High School in Eustis, FL. As a senior he threw for 689 yards, rushed for another 874 and had 102 total tackles and five interceptions on defense. He finished his career with 31 interceptions, at the time the second-most in Florida high school history. He considered Boston College, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Purdue and South Florida before signing with nearby UCF.
Freshman Year
Burnett earned first team freshman All-America honors in 2005 and was the only freshman to earn first team All-Conference USA honors. He ranked 6th in the nation, averaging 16.5 yards per punt return, and was second on the team in interceptions.
Sophomore Year
Burnett's sophomore season was cut short due to an ankle injury against Houston. He earned first team All-Conference USA honors as a punt returner, finishing with 12.0 yards per return.
Junior Year
Burnett bounced back from his injury in 2007, intercepting a career-high six passes. He also finished second in Conference USA with a 10.7 yards-per-punt-return average and had one touchdown, earning first team All-Conference USA honors as both a punt returner and cornerback.
Senior Year
As a senior, Burnett added kick return duties to his role as a cornerback and punt returner. He was a first team All-Conference USA selection in all three roles, marking the first time in conference history that a player earned three first-team spots in a single season. Burnett, who led the conference in return average on both kicks and punts, was named the 2008 Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year. He also had four interceptions, giving him 16 for his career to break the school record. His three career punt return touchdowns are also a UCF record. A Sports Illustrated first team All-America selection as a returner, Burnett was chosen to participate in the Texas vs The Nation All-Star Classic.
NFL Career
Burnett was selected in the fifth round (168th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before the 2009 season, Burnett signed a three-year contract with the Steelers.
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