Young Bucks: Louisville’s Rodjay Burns spurned his hometown team to play for Ohio State
Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class – the country’s fourth-ranked class – featured 25 signees from 11 states and many of those players are expected to contribute to the Buckeyes on-field success early in their careers.
Join Landof10.com as we introduce you to the next wave of Buckeyes in our Young Bucks series. Next up is safety Rodjay Burns.
Who is Rodjay Burns?
Burns grew up in Louisville, Ky., but his college sports allegiance as a child didn’t belong to his hometown team.
“I’ve always been a fan of Ohio State,” he told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I never really was a Louisville fan. I just started getting into it my sophomore year, watching Louisville sports.”
Although he committed to the Cardinals in March 2015 — months before the start of his senior season —his recruitment was far from over. Ohio State came through with an offer in early December, which led Louisville and head coach Bobby Petrino to ramp up the pressure to try to convince Burns to stay home and play for the Cardinals.
The 3-star recruit took an official visit to Louisville on Jan. 15 and followed up that trip by taking an official visit to Ohio State the following weekend. Burns came away impressed with what he saw out of the Buckeyes during his trip to Columbus.
“(They) showed me how much they want me,” Burns told Scout.com after his OSU visit. “I think I’d be a big part of what they’re doing there. It was a really good visit, I like it there a lot,” Burns said. “There was never any bragging or anything like that, but they take you around and show you what the players do and how the players coach. It was a good time.”
- Height: 6-foot
- Weight: 180
- Number: 29
- Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
- High School: Trinity
- Composite Ranking: 73 (cornerback)
- High School Highlights
He committed to the Buckeyes on Jan. 24, but that seemed to only heighten the rate at which Louisville chased after him. The Cardinals sent three assistant coaches to go visit him, but it wasn’t enough to get him to change his commitment back to Louisville once again. That didn’t stop the rumor mill from operating, which led to Burns taking the matter into his own hands on his Twitter account.
Not Flipping ❗️
— RoddyB__ (@NextBig_Thing10) February 2, 2016
What does he bring to Ohio State?
Parts of his game still need to be refined, but Burns is an athletic playmaker. He finished his senior season with 14 touchdowns on offense and four interceptions on defense, so the ability to impact a game is there. Although he was listed as a cornerback by most recruiting services, he’s a better fit at safety and that’s where the Buckeyes will be playing him when the time comes.
Will he play as a freshman?
It seems unlikely that he would see the field unless it were in a special teams capacity, and even those odds are slim this fall. Ohio State is pretty well covered at defensive back, and it would probably take injury problems for him to see the field at safety. As for special teams, there’s a logjam of young players waiting to see the field — more than half the team has freshman eligibility — and from a numbers and experience standpoint it seems likely that Ohio State will redshirt him and use this as a year of development.