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Mizzou star receiver Luther Burden gives back with football camp at childhood Boys & Girls Club field

"I know I was in their shoes in this position at one time, so it's just a blessing to be here," Burden said.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis isn't short on homegrown sports stars, but those stars also have a knack for using their platforms to give back to their hometown.

Mizzou football star sophomore receiver Luther Burden III did just that on Saturday at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club.

"It's a true blessing," Burden said. "I'm excited to be here and be a part of these kid's lives and give them some knowledge. I know I was in their shoes in this position at one time, so it's just a blessing to be here."

Growing up in the St. Louis area, Burden spent many a day on the field at Herbert Hoover. Now, he's the one the kids are looking up to and asking for autographs.

"It's super crazy," he said. "I didn't expect to be one of the guys little kids look up to. I was just out here having fun, I didn't know it was going to get real serious."

Burden, the newest Imo's Pizza spokesman, hosted about 50 kids for his camp that included "Touchdown Luther" t-shirts and lunch provided, of course, by Imo's.

One of the driving forces for Burden's desire to give back was his relationship with the late Demetrious Johnson, who died in December. Johnson, a former Missouri Tiger and St. Louis native, used his charity to give back to his hometown, and he's inspired Burden to do the same.

"I carry that to the fullest. He definitely inspired me to always give back to your community and where you came from. Especially if you have a good platform, and it's stuck with me ever since. I cherish him every second I can and I know he's looking down on me proud today," Burden said of Johnson.

And Burden's presence as a role model for kids at the Boys & Girls Club could have a lasting impact.

"It's so thrilling to see a young person who has gained or nurtured their skills on this field to go off and play major league college sports and then come back and share their talents, time and experiences with young people who are making the club their place to be after school and during the summer," Boys & Girls Club President Flint Fowler said.

Burden and other St. Louis native athletic stars who grew up at the club, like Lions receiver Jameson Williams, give kids with those same dreams something to shoot for.

"There's so much pride. Because I think it allows young people to see how their potential can be realized. They come to the club maybe not having a lot of direction, but knowing they have an opportunity for hope and connect with caring adults who want to see them succeed," Fowler said.

As for the Mizzou football side of things, Burden said he's ready to get going in his new role as slot receiver.

"I like our new offense. We have a new offensive coordinator. I'm confident in him this upcoming year. The slot has worked well for me this spring, so I'm looking forward to doing big things this year," Burden said.

The prognosticators may not have many expectations for Missouri football this season, but Burden thinks there's potential to prove people wrong.

"We have a motto called 'STP,' something to prove. We just use that motto every day. We see all the rankings, everybody doesn't see us. But it's all good. We keep that edge and chip on our shoulder and we're going to have something to prove this year," Burden said.

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