But the rumors and chatter never bothered Burton.
“He stressed that when I talked to him,” Burton said. “He told me, ‘This is my fairy tale. I grew up 10 minutes from here. This is where I want to be and where I've always wanted to coach.'
“When all that stuff happened, I didn't really worry too much about any of it.”
Burton's primary recruiter at Iowa State was Luke Wells, a former Oklahoma player who was a student assistant coach on the Sooners' 2000 national championship team.
“I stayed in contact with Coach Wells, and he said a little bit about it,” Burton said. “He just told me not to worry about it, that Coach Rhoads wasn't going anywhere.”
When Burton looks back on his high school career, he feels he fully enjoyed the experience, even though his senior year didn't go as well as he might have wanted for the Panthers.
“You'd like to have more wins on the chart at the end of the season, and playoffs and all that stuff,” he said. “I went through a lot of fun games and we tried to leave them with a good taste in their mouth in some ways. We finished the season strong. I was just trying to push the young guys to be as good as they could be.
“I wish it could have gone differently, but still had a good time and enjoyed it.”