Rutgers Offers Pope John DL Ireland Burke

Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII defensive lineman Ireland Burke discusses his ties to Rutgers and a new verbal scholarship offer.

Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Nieman spent his morning in Sparta, N.J., at Pope John XXIII. When it comes to 2019 defensive lineman Ireland Burke, Niemann must have liked what he saw.

By the end of the school day, Burke was on the phone with head coach Chris Ash to discuss a new offer.

“It was pretty special because coach Ash is a pretty cool guy,” Burke said. “I was definitely excited to have that conversation.”

Burke, whose offers include Maryland, Temple and Purdue, is up 60 pounds from this time last year. He said his maintained explosiveness at a new weight is the key to a recruiting uptick.

“I'm 280 pounds but I carry myself like I'm 220 or 230 like I used to be,” Burke said. “I've proved that I can play every position on the line, d-line or o-lin.”

Rutgers hosted Burke on multiple visits this spring since he transferred to Pope John.

“What stands out about Rutgers their 'after the game' program,” Burke said. “They're not only about what you do during the game, but about after the game. Let's be real. Not everybody is going to the NFL. That's a fact. They'll help you with your career and stuff like that.”

Before Pope John, Burke played under Bruce Eugene at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Grand Street Campus. He is close with Rutgers left tackle Kamaal Seymour and incoming linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi.

“They said they love it,” Burke said. “They said they feel like they're at home. Olakunle said he always feels at home and Kamaal likes it, too.”

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