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Trieu: Tenacious sophomore LB Joshua Burnham earns meaningful offer from Michigan

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

He is only a sophomore, but Traverse City Central’s Joshua Burnham already has nine scholarship offers. The last two were Michigan and Ohio State for the 6-foot-3, 205-pound outside linebacker.

“He’s handled it amazingly well,” Central head coach Eric Schugars said. “He is a humble kid, very unassuming. The way he walks the halls, with his stature, but how he conducts himself and interacts with people during the school day, you would never anticipate this is a guy who just got an offer from Michigan or Ohio State.”

Joshua Burnham

Unassuming may describe Burnham off the field, but he is the opposite of that on it. He is a hard-hitting, physical player on it. He is also a great athlete, and a basketball season where he ran the floor and threw down some highlight-reel dunks showed that athletic ability. That athleticism was also evident in how he handled himself in coverage and as a running back on offense.

Still, it is the tenacity he plays with that separates him.

“College coaches ask me, ‘What’s special about him?’ And he is a kid that gets in the course of a football game and there is a certain physicality and toughness he brings that drives him,” Schugars said. “If he gets a big hit or puts his pads down and churns for extra yards, he builds momentum from that. He relishes competition and the physical nature of football. You see that down on the field and when you’re in the huddle with him, you sense that and he comes to life in that moment.”

More: Michigan adds Fort Lauderdale St. Aquinas cornerback Ja'Den McBurrows to 2021 recruit class

That was evident Burnham’s freshman year when he played junior varsity but would compete alongside seniors during practice drills. At the end of that year, he was pulled up for the playoffs and played some snaps.

As a sophomore, Burnham really broke out, recording 88 tackles (12 for loss), three sacks and three forced fumbles, and also scored 16 touchdowns on offense.

Iowa was an early offer. The Hawkeyes offered in November. Wisconsin and Michigan State followed in the winter.

The Michigan offer was meaningful as well because Burnham comes from a family of Michigan fans. He is also close friends with Peyton Smith, Central’s quarterback in the fall, who is a preferred walk-on commit at Michigan.

When I posted my offer on Twitter, (Peyton) said to me, ‘You know what the right move is,’” Burnham said.

Burnham camped at Michigan last summer. He hopes to visit once the COVID-19 shutdown of visits ends.

Until then, he is grateful for every opportunity, still as unassuming as before the offers.

“It’s a credit to his upbringing and how he was raised,” Schugars said. “He represents our program the right way and it speaks to where we’re at as a program. We have seven coaches in our building that support our players and want them to be outstanding individuals.”

Burnham is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Michigan in his class and No. 75 prospect nationally.

Wolverines extend new offers

Michigan has offered a scholarship to two Duncanville (Texas) offensive linemen, Cameron Williams and Jaylen Early, both sophomores.

Early is 6-foot-5, 280 pounds with recent offers coming from Alabama and LSU, as well.

Williams is a massive 6-foot-6, 320 pounds and has also been offered by Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and more.

More information

Joshua Burnham profile 

Jaylen Early profile 

Cameron Williams profile