Walker Brittain CFNN Football Reporter

When senior Mark Burks asks to borrow a pencil, he always returns it. When an opposing running back or receiver is in front of Mark, the other player gets put on the turf.

Against Gray’s Creek, Burks had eight total tackles to go along with strip sack that was returned 46-yards for a touchdown by senior linebacker Darrick Whitted. Burks also leads the team in total tackles for the season with 36.

Mark Burks is a great student who keeps great grades while playing a total of five sports for the Cape Fear Colts. Here’s the question, though:  How can the nicest guy in the classroom also be the meanest guy on the field?

“I played soccer until the 6th grade,” said Burks, explaining what led him to football. “My Dad and I got into an argument because he called soccer a girl’s sport.”

In response, Burks decided to tackle football.

“To prove him wrong, I decided to play football,” he said. “I didn’t make the Mac Williams team 7th grade year.” 

Burks did not let this moment of failure turn into a career of failure. He put in the work in the offseason using his failure as motivation and made the Mac Williams team in 8th grade. 

Calling Mark Burks the meanest guy on the field might be hyperbole, but Burks definitely knows what it takes to be successful both in the classroom and on the field.

“I believe it’s about getting the job done,” said Burks. “Football is not a nice sport.”

This was a lesson that he learned quickly when he first put on football pads.

“As soon as I started playing football I realized this is not a sport to be taken lightly,” Burks recalls. “The coaches are filled with tough love. It is not meant for nice people to be out there but you still have to show sportsmanship.”

Burks keeps his game face on while on the field, but he always remembers his opponents are just like him.

“I respect the other players,” he said. “They have to go home at the end of the night.”

Football is something Burks started playing to prove a point, so why does he keep playing? 

“The bonds that I have created is why I still play football,” said Burks. “ What I have built here, what we have created here, the people that I have met here, this journey here is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.” 

Mark Burks can do it all. He is a swimmer, wrestler, track star, lock down defensive back and linebacker, and still a pretty good soccer player. Not to mention being an honor roll student. With a guy this well rounded, no one should be surprised that Burks can be the nicest guy in the classroom while being one of the meanest guys on the field.