Burdette Hess was a trenchman for the Vandal football team from 1951-54. As a guard on the Idaho line, Hess paved the way for a 1954 squad that rushed for at least 100 yards in each game, including a 475-yard outburst in a 45-0 victory over North Dakota. He also played linebacker for the Vandal defense, which blocked a then-NCAA Record nine punts and held opponents to then-school record lows of 1,009 total rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry in 1952. He helped the Idaho 1954 defense hold six opponents fewer than two touchdowns, which includes shutout victories over Washington State, North Dakota and BYU. He was an East-West Shrine Bowl invitee following his senior season in 1954. He was drafted in the 15th round of the 1955 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.