Born in Garvin, Oklahoma, Burks first gained notice in high school, in Idabel. He set the state record for the indoor 60 yard dash, with a time of 6.1 seconds, and in 1970 and 1971 he was Oklahoma state champion for the 100-yard dash. He first attended Oklahoma State University, but later transferred to the much smaller Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he was twice named All Conference, and in his senior year he was Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference and NAIA District-9 Player of the Year. That same year, he was named All-American as well as being voted most outstanding player for Southeastern Oklahoma State. That season Burks led the conference in receiving yardage, averaging 19.8 yards per game, for a total of 913 yards on the year. He scored eleven touchdowns, and was the leading kickoff returner, with a 36.9 yard return average. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, but was cut late in the pre-season, and was signed by the Chicago Bears, where he played the 1977 season. In 1989, Burks was voted into the Southeastern Oklahoma State Athletic Hall of Fame.
Burks is the current leader in receiving yards for players with one career game on their record after catching one pass for 55 yards for the Bears in a December 5, 1976, game against the Seattle Seahawks.