Signed: Four-Star Arizona Athlete Denzel Burke Brings Length, Ball Skills to Kerry Coombs' Secondary

By Andrew Ellis on December 16, 2020 at 10:49 am
Four-star Arizona athlete Denzel Burke is officially a Buckeye.

In need of a reload, Kerry Coombs had Ohio State in the thick of it for several of the country's best defensive backs during the 2021 cycle.

And Arizona's Denzel Burke was a player that was coveted by the Buckeye staff. Listed as an athlete, the four-star is expected to play cornerback when he arrives in Columbus.

The Burke File

  • Class: 2021
  • Size: 6-foot/190 lbs.
  • Pos: CB
  • School: Saguaro High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: 192 (8 ATH)

A member of the powerhouse Saguaro program in Scottsdale, Burke's recruitment was a relatively quiet one as he flew under the radar for a while even though Coombs had Ohio State right in the thick of things. 

Burke was offered by the Buckeyes back in January after Ryan Day made the trip to Arizona to meet with the long-armed athlete at his school. Ohio State was then listed as one of his top-five schools in May.

The reason things were so quiet? The recruitment really picked up as the nation was battling the early parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Burke hadn't even stepped foot on Ohio State's campus. The Buckeye staff was forced to primarily use Zoom meetings and other forms of technology to further strengthen the relationship. 

It's not often that a program can land a talented player without a visit or two, so I don't think folks were too sure how serious of a contender Ohio State was at the time. Washington, Oregon, USC and Colorado were the other schools that made the cut as his list had a heavy local and regional flavor to it. Other programs like LSU, Auburn and Texas had also extended offers.

Just a few weeks after announcing his top schools, Burke became commitment No. 19 for Ohio State's 2021 recruiting class. It was his relationship with Coombs, Ryan Day and Corey Dennis that helped to seal the deal. Ohio State's history of production and development in the defensive backfield was also a major factor. 

He cited the competition as another reason for his commitment, and he'll get to experience plenty of that as he pushes for playing time in a defensive backfield that's set to welcome six newcomers in the 2021 class.

At 6-foot, 189 pounds, Burke is listed as the nation's No. 8 athlete and No. 192 overall prospect. Also a dynamic receiver on offense, he's used this experience to help enhance his ball skills which should prove to be an asset in the secondary. West Coast evaluators have compared Burke to former Washington Husky and current Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy. 

Burke's relationship with the Pac 12 programs was initially far greater than what he had established with the Ohio State staff. While that shouldn't be a surprise due to proximity, it really does speak to what the Buckeyes are capable of on the trail, especially when it comes to the defensive backfield. 

For a long while, Burke was one of three Ohio State commits that had never visited campus. The other two – five-star tailback TreVeyon Henderson and defensive tackle Tyleik Williams – found their way to Columbus for a recruit-organized October visit which came to be known as the Buckeye Bash. The Arizona native, however, was unable to make the trip due to a shoulder injury he suffered in his team's season opener. That same injury led to surgery and ended his senior campaign.

Burke, who will be this class' lone signee to have signed without having ever visited Columbus, will get his first taste of Ohio State soon enough as he's set to arrive on campus next month as an early enrollee. He'll likely need a bit of time with Mickey Marotti and the opportunity to learn more of the intricacies in the secondary before making his presence felt. He joins Lathan Ransom as the second Arizona defensive back the Buckeyes have signed over the last two cycles.

Photo: 247Sports

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