Better Know a Buckeye: Rodjay Burns

By Vico on July 8, 2016 at 10:10 am

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its 22nd installment. We profile Rodjay Burns, a cornerback prospect from Louisville.

Rodjay Burns

  • Size: 6-2/175
  • Position: CB
  • Hometown (School): Louisville, KY (Trinity)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★
  • National Ranking: 773
  • Position Ranking: 72 (CB)
  • State Ranking: 6 (KY)

Burns generated recruiting interest only late into his senior season. He held just a couple offers before selecting Louisville over Cincinnati in March of last year. He waited nine months before he got his dream offer from Ohio State. He flipped to the Buckeyes in January and almost flipped back to Louisville before signing with Ohio State on signing day.

I retell his recruitment below and discuss how Louisville almost wooed him back. Thereafter, I provide a scouting report for a long cornerback prospect from one of Kentucky's best football programs. I provide a projection of a redshirt in 2016 and some highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.


Rodjay Burns had a strong junior season for Trinity High School in Louisville. Serious students of out-of-state recruiting may recognize that high school as one of the best football programs in the state of Kentucky. It even gave us Jordan Whiting in the 2009 recruiting class.

However, Burns did not command the same kind of attention as Jordan Whiting in 2009, or even James Quick in 2013. Burns had just a couple offers before selecting Louisville over Cincinnati in March last year.

No noteworthy event followed in Burns' recruitment for another nine months but Burns may have foretold that he wanted something more. The same Courier-Journal article that announced his commitment to Bobby Petrino's program made it clear he really wanted Ohio State to offer him.

Burns said he's not completely shut down his recruitment. He grew up a fan of Ohio State and would like to visit the Buckeyes, as well as Michigan State and Florida.

To his surprise, Ohio State made a late offer in December 2015. Kerry Coombs visited him to make the program's pitch a few days later.

Burns scheduled official visits first to Louisville and then to Ohio State in January. The Ohio State visit was a big hit, after which Burns' father thought his son had made up his mind about the nature of his Louisville commitment.


Rodjay Burns flipped to Ohio State two days after his official visit to Ohio State. Two factors led to this decision.

One, Burns had followed Ohio State from afar as a kid. Burns said any matchup between Ohio State and Louisville would have led to his 12-year-old self wearing Ohio State gear and rooting for the Buckeyes in that contest. He said he did not follow the local college program until much later in high school.

Second, his father encouraged him to leave Louisville to explore life outside that city. This led Burns to sit down and evaluate the pros and cons of both schools and programs. He settled on Ohio State with a January 24 decision.

This was not the end of his recruitment, though. Louisville's staff was unwilling to concede the local star to the Buckeyes. Petrino put on a full-court press to woo Burns back to the fold. According to sources close to Eleven Warriors, this approach momentarily worked. Burns had settled on flipping back to Louisville. However, Ohio State's coaches were able to sway him back to their side.

Burns took Twitter on the eve of signing day to announce he would stay with the Buckeyes.


Rodjay Burns is athletic enough to play on either side of the ball, but Ohio State's coaches want him as a cornerback.

Burns' size would be his biggest superlative should he start at cornerback. He enrolled at 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds with long arms to complement that frame. Ohio State generally wants bigger cornerbacks on the field. The Seattle Seahawks' recent success in the NFL highlights the need for these corners with the proliferation of even bigger receiving targets.

For a two-way player that's a consensus defensive player at the next level, Burns showed good athleticism, solid footwork, and, surprisingly, a good knowledge of route trees when he was on offense. These will translate well to playing at cornerback.


Ohio State's coaches recruited Burns and recruiting services evaluated him as a future cornerback. He played safety when he was on defense for Trinity. Since players are likely to play "down a speed" at the next level (i.e. tackles become guards, wide receivers become tight ends), this is an interesting observation.

Burns has good speed but his play at safety will raise concerns about just how fast he is. A future move to safety is not out of the question.


Special teams will be Burns' surest way to the field as a true freshman. Even then, I think it's unlikely. I expect Burns to redshirt this year.


Here are senior highlights of Rodjay Burns.


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