Published May 12, 2021
By DAN TOMASELLO
HAMILTON, Ontario — Lynnfield native Jake Burt’s hard work has paid off.
Burt was selected first overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League draft on May 4. The 6’4,” 260-pound tight end said it was a dream come true.
“To go number one in the CFL draft is just incredible,” said Burt in an interview with the Villager. “It’s hard to put it into words because there are so many emotions that go into it. There has been so much hard work that has brought me to this moment. Hearing my name be called number one overall was just amazing. And on top of that, being welcomed to Hamilton with open arms has been great. I am looking forward to working with the coaching staff, my teammates and all of the personnel in the front office. I can’t wait to get there, interact with the community and meet the fans. I can’t wait to get started.”
Burt, 24, entered the CFL Draft about a month ago. He said teams started reaching out to him two-and-a-half weeks before the draft, and all nine CFL teams interviewed him.
“The calls really started pouring in, and I had a feeling that I wouldn’t last long in the draft,” said Burt. “But that isn’t what it was about. I was just really excited that teams wanted me and wanted to use my speed and my athleticism to make game changing plays for their offenses.”
Burt said Hamilton notified him on May 3 that he was going to be selected first overall, and he immediately signed a three-year contract with the Tiger-Cats. After Burt, his family and his agent heard his name get called, they immediately started celebrating at the family’s West Harwich home.
“I signed the contract on the day of the draft, and they shipped some stuff out to me,” said Burt. “It made the whole process a little less stressful. Hearing my name get called number one on TV and having it come full circle for me was just amazing.”
Burt will be heading to Hamilton on July 2. After he completes a two-week quarantine, Burt will begin participating in the Tiger-Cats’ training camp. He said the CFL season kicks off on Aug. 5 and runs through December.
“I can’t wait to show the world all of the amazing things I am going to be able to do in Hamilton,” said Burt.
Burt signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots in April 2020. After attending training camp with the Patriots, he spent the rest of the season on New England’s practice roster.
“Being with the Patriots is an experience that I will never forget and is something I will always be grateful for,” said Burt. “I grew so much there as a person and as a football player. It challenged me in so many ways, and I proved myself in so many ways. That is where I was really able to establish myself as a legitimate threat in the passing game and being able to get open with my speed, my size and my athleticism. I was able to show I am not just some blocking, big body guy. I am fast and athletic, and I was able to show that on the Patriots. I was able to retain my roster spot on the Patriots by doing that.”
Burt said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels taught him how to be a better football player last year.
“Coach Belichick is one of the most brilliant football minds there is,” said Burt. “Being able to watch him day-to-day and taking that all in broadened my football IQ so much. Working so closely with coach McDaniels was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am extremely lucky that I was able to learn from two unbelievable coaches. It was an incredible experience and opportunity, and I am so thankful for everything that the Patriots have done for my career.”
Burt played 36 games at Boston College for four-and-a-half seasons. He registered 23 receptions for 307 yards, and had two touchdowns at BC. He redshirted his sophomore year after tearing his ACL. He was named to the 2019 John Mackey Award Watch List prior to his senior year. He concluded his senior year with 15 receptions and 212 receiving yards, which were both career highs. He said BC assistant head coach Frank Leonard and head coach Steve Addazio helped him develop a “strong foundation.”
“I graduated from BC in 2019,” said Burt.
Burt graduated from St. John’s Prep in 2015. He was a standout football, basketball and volleyball player while attending St. John’s Prep.
“I was captain of the football, basketball and volleyball teams,” said Burt. “I was actually ranked number one nationally in volleyball for two years. I lived in Lynnfield the whole time I was at St. John’s Prep.”
Burt was born in Regina, which is the capital city of Saskatchewan, Canada. He moved to Lynnfield when he was 4-years-old, and lived in town until 2017. He went to Summer Street School from first grade through fourth grade. He also attended Lynnfield Middle School. He noted that his mom, Dawn, taught French at LMS.
“I spent my whole childhood playing Lynnfield youth sports,” said Burt. “I played football, basketball, soccer, baseball and lacrosse.”
Looking forward, Burt can’t wait for his Hamilton Tiger-Cats tenure to begin.
“It’s incredible,” said Burt. “It’s something that I didn’t know was going to happen a month ago. That just speaks volumes about football journeys everywhere. Everyone’s story is unique because football is a unique sport. You never really know where you are going to be a year from now, and I didn’t know where I was going to be a month ago. To turn around and be selected first overall in any professional sports draft is a dream come true. It is what you work so hard for your whole life and the best part of it is this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to get to Hamilton.”