Scarlet Conversation: Rutgers DL Coach Shane Burnham

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- As the Rutgers roster returns for offseason workouts, the staff remains hot on the recruiting trail. New defensive line coach Shane Burnham, who joins the program from Iowa State, goes in-depth on recruiting in this session and he does it with flair.

Rutgers coach Chris Ash hired Shane Burnham as his defensive line coach. Burnham joins the Scarlet Knights with a strong recruiting reputation in Florida and plenty of work experience.

The former South Carolina linebacker coached for six seasons under Paul Rhoads at Iowa State. Speaking last week in a conversation in the Rutgers Audi Club, Burnham broke down his adjustments to a new program and the Big Ten. Burnham speaks in-depth on recruiting, where he wants his defensive linemen to have, “a little bit of length and a lot of nasty.”

On the Defensive Line Talent at Rutgers…

“I like the fact that there’s guys that played that are coming back. I like that there are young guys we’re high on that I’ve heard good things about. … Any time you get guys that played and put up the numbers they have, I don’t think philosophically we’re that different. They were four-down and we’re four-down [linemen]. I’m sure there’s subtle technique changes but the fact is they’ve played football and had some success, I’m pretty excited.”

On if He Wants to Continue Recruiting Florida…

“I hope. I don’t know where we’re going to be but I hope Florida is a part of the territory. The history of Rutgers and what they’ve been able to do down there with Schiano and more recently. When I was at Iowa State, we lost a couple of kids – Kaleb Johnson, Kenneth Kirksey. “

On Recruiting Against Rutgers in Florida…

“Down there the high school coaches do respect the program at Rutgers. Now they’re in the Big Ten, it just puts a feather in our cap. There’s a lot of transplants down there, a lot of kids who have family up here in the northeast, so I think the Big Ten is a draw. Fortunately, I’ve been down there forever and my father was down there forever.”

On What Burnham Wants in a Recruit…

“It’s like drinking water from a firehose right now, man. Honestly, I want to look at every kid in the state of New Jersey. That’s the first thing before I even got on campus. Coach Ash when I took the job, we had a list of all of the Jersey guys and he said ‘I want them watched before you get in my office on Monday.’ Yes sir. I’m focusing on Jersey guys first.”

On a Late Start in Recruiting Defensive Linemen…

“I think the inside guys are the hardest to find. If you get an edge rusher and a guy that can change the game, they’ve had Kemoko Turay a few years ago, who was that presence. If you can find one of those guys with speed, that’s going to do it. We’re trying to find inside guys to and that’s hard to find. If you go walk in a mall, how many 6-foot-3, 300-pound guys are you going to find that are powerful and athletic? You might see a lot of 300-pound guys but I’m not sure how many look the way we want them to look.”

On Burnham’s Recruiting Pitch…

“You don’t have to worry about turnover, coach Ash is going to be here for the duration. Maybe some of the places they’re looking at, there could be turnover. Who knows? It’s not a concern here because you’re talking about a new staff. There’s been some recent success. Yeah, they had a bad year but they’ve been to nine bowls in 11 years. How many teams in the country can say that? They know we’re not that far away. That’s what we’re selling.”

On Knowledge of Rutgers Personnel…

“I’ve heard a lot about the whole room through some relationships I’ve had on the previous staff. Just hearing guys I know talk in the profession, other guys in the Big Ten. Pete Lembo, who I worked for, he just got the job at Maryland. Shortly after I got announce here, he texted me, ‘hey I just got done watching your guys. You’re walking into a good situation.’ If we aren’t good up front, it’s going to be hard to be good anywhere else. That’s a challenge that I’m excited about.”


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