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Sibling Rivals
Brothers Cap and Morgan Burnett split passion for UGA, Tech

By Rory Sharrock

rsharrock@news-daily.com

While driving throughout town, it's not uncommon to see license plates with the phrase 'House Divided' featuring the logos of hated rivals such as Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina, Alabama-Auburn or Georgia-Georgia Tech.

But in the case of the Burnett household, truer words have never been spoken as brothers Cap and Morgan, who both starred on the gridiron for North Clayton, have allegiances to both schools with Cap as the former Georgia Bulldog and Morgan as the current Yellow Jackets.

This weekend's renewal of the Peach State's timeless rivalry game, better known as Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate, has an added twist to the series when Morgan runs out on the field at Sanford Stadium, the place where his older brother once called home.

"It's very excited. I remember when I was young, my brother and I used to pretend we were on different teams playing against each other in the house," said Morgan. "Now the real thing has come true. I'm playing in a big time rivalry game and a great tradition between Georgia and Georgia Tech. I'm excited because I get the chance to play on the same field my brother played on."

During his senior year at North Clayton, Cap's mailbox was cluttered with letters from a host of universities.

However, he decided to stay nearby and became a part of UGA's Bulldog nation upon graduating in 1998.

With so much depth on the team the staff decided to redshirt him for the 1998 season. He officially began his college career in 1999, starting in three games and playing in 11. Cap made the most of his time on the field breaking up several passes and snatching two interceptions.

The fact that he did so much with so little time on the field gave Georgia fans a euphoric sense of optimism of a limitless future. However, head and neck injuries over the next two seasons forced him to hang up his cleats after spring practice in 2002.

While some younger siblings commonly follow in their elder's footsteps, Morgan blazed a trail of his own, suiting up at Georgia Tech after high school.

Although he's just a sophomore, he's already in the discussion as one of the best defensive backs in the country. His six interceptions rank him in a three-way tie for second in the nation.

During Cap's stint in Athens and now Morgan's in Atlanta, Georgia has had the loudest bark as well as the biggest bite in this famed rivalry.

While Cap was in school, the family was die-hard Bulldog fans. But now that Morgan is playing for Tech, those old Bulldog T-shirts and caps in their home have been replaced with a closet full of items adorned in white and old gold.

"When Georgia is playing against another team, he (Cap) talks a lot of junk. But if we're playing Georgia, he'll stay neutral," said Morgan. "My mother doesn't have anymore kids in college, so she's going for Georgia Tech. It gets exciting around my house, but pretty much every one is leaning on my side with Tech."

Although both teams will compete in bowl games, and Tech still has a chance to play in the ACC Championship Game in December, nothing would be sweeter for both schools, than to close out the regular season with a win over their intrastate foe.

Ever since his childhood days in Clayton County, Morgan has been a fierce competitor, however, helping Tech end its 0-7 record against Bulldog head coach Mark Richt has raised his level of intensity to the highest point of his life.

"No matter who you play, you're going to be pumped because you're glad to be out there. But when it's the Georgia rivalry, because there have been a lot of players that have come through from both sides, you're pumped up even higher," he said.

Cap Burnett has since returned to Clayton County, serving as a linebackers coach at Jonesboro High School. This past season, Jonesboro clinched its first playoff berth since 2002 and won a first-round game for the first time since 1949.

North Clayton won the 2008 Region 4-AAAA championship, but lost in the second round to Statesboro.