KNOXVILLE — Javin Burke and Tray Curry aren't related by blood. They are, however, part of the same family.
And a talented one — extended as it may be — at that.
Each of the stepbrothers and Bradley Central juniors has a football scholarship offer from the Tennessee Volunteers, among others.
The 6-foot-4, 192-pound Curry is rated as the No. 1 athlete in the state by 247Sports.com, and he is the third-rated athlete in the 247Sports composite, which factors in the rankings of ESPN and Rivals.com. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Burke is lauded by Bradley Central coach Damon Floyd as the "fastest and stronger player" on the team, able to squat more than 500 pounds and bench press more than 300.
"I don't know what we've done right to get all these guys at one time," Floyd said, referring to the fact that he has four of the top 20 senior prospects in the Chattanooga area, with Burke's twin Javon — a receiver — and offensive lineman C.J. Hardy, cousin of McCallie senior and Auburn signee Jay Hardy, also set to play for Bradley in 2020.
Burke, a quarterback, said recently that in middle school, Curry was the "only player I threw the ball to." Three years later, he developed a couple more targets for the Bears, who finished 7-4 and lost in the first round of the TSSAA Class 6A playoffs last season. He threw for more than 1,900 yards and rushed for another 650 last year.
Curry — who has offers from Southeastern Conference programs Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State, among others — finished with more than 1,200 yards of total offense while being used at both receiver and running back as opponents schemed to keep the ball out of his hands.
The family dynamic of each player shows just how talented each is as well as his genetic makeup
Curry's father Ikie initially signed with Tennessee in 1996 but ended up at Carson-Newman, where he finished his career with 32.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks, which rank 10th and 14th, respectively, in Eagles history. Curry's mother Trese Hickey finished her Cleveland High School career as one of the top players in program history, ranking second in both points (1,604) and rebounds (989) for the Lady Blue Raiders. She is still the program's all-time leader in blocked shots with 153, which is more than the second- and third-most players on the list have combined.
Hickey spent a season at South Carolina before finishing her career at Carson-Newman.
Also consider her brother Dante is still considered one of the top athletes to ever come out of the Chattanooga area, and her oldest son Ikcaven "KK" Curry is a freshman basketball player at South Alabama. He was a three-star prospect coming out of high school.
"This is a very special process to get to go through," Curry, who won't turn 17 until mid-September, said Friday after his basketball team defeated Ooltewah 54-46. "I thank God he blessed me with this."
He has averaged 16 points and six rebounds a game this basketball season for the Bears, whose roster includes sophomore Quante Berry, a potential recruiting target for the Vols.
Burke's family tree shows some of the same special talent.
His mom Ashley was a talented track athlete at Cleveland, and Ashley's younger brother Charles Little — who at his best had a vertical jump of 44 inches — scored 2,063 points and had more than 1,000 rebounds in his high school career. He went to the University of Dayton, where he graduated after averaging nearly eight points and more than four rebounds during his four-year career, then had a professional basketball career in foreign leagues.
Burke's twin Javon has offers from Appalachian State, Charlotte and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The quarterback twin's recruiting has picked up in recent weeks, but he has admitted he is open to playing anywhere to help his team. He plans on graduating from Bradley in December and enrolling at the school of his choice, needing just a 19 on the ACT to do so. Vanderbilt recently made an offer, as have Virginia, Appalachian State, Charlotte and Coastal Carolina.
"It's been a lot," he said Thursday evening regarding the recruiting process, "but also I'm trying to take it all in and see what I like about it school-wise, not just football. We'll see how it all plays out in the end and see what type of people, what type of coaches, what they're trying to invest in and what their overall goal is."
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