Burnham snags 3 big Michigan awards in one day | Local Sports
TRAVERSE CITY – Josh Burnham started out on Tuesday in anticipation of having half a day of school playing powder puff volleyball.
In the end, he had a lot more to look forward to.
The Traverse City Central star quarterback and linebacker received three national player of the year awards on Tuesday.
During his weight and conditioning class, the Notre Dame commit received a Twitter notification that it was flagged in a post announcing that it had won the Gatorade Michigan Football Player of the Year.
Later in the same period, he was withdrawn from class to receive the 2021 Michigan Anvil Award from the State Champs! Sports network. The Anvil Award goes to the best lineman / linebacker in the state.
“I was just in the weight class and they recorded everything that took me by surprise,” said Burnham. “It was crazy.”
Trojans head coach Eric Schugars told Burnham that he had an interview to give at 12:20 p.m. after half the school day, but Burnham thought the Anvil Award presentation he did in the fourth hour was it and went to play powder puff volleyball instead. After being found and called into the school conference room near the sports office, he was awarded the MLive Michigan High School Football Player of the Year on a live stream.
“I had no idea,” said Burnham. “It was fantastic.”
Fifteen people watched the MLive presentation, including Burnham’s father Sean, many Trojan trainers, and his favorite teacher.
The honor comes with a huge trophy that he gets to keep until someone else wins it next year. Burnham said he would take the trophy home for a few days and then have it on display at TC Central.
The Anvil Award also comes with a large trophy to keep permanently, one that he said will stay at home.
“It’s definitely half the size, but I didn’t know there was a real anvil on it,” said Burnham. “So the weight was pretty decent.”
“I didn’t even know this was going to come out, but it was cute,” he continued. “You all surprised me.”
Detroit King QB Dante Moore won Mr. Football from the State Champs! Sports Network a week ago, but Burnham ousted the junior quarterback in the MLive Player of the Year vote, which was conducted among 63 soccer coaches and media outlets across the state, each given one vote. Burnham won by three votes ahead of Moore in the closest vote in the award’s history, receiving 21 votes against Moore’s 18th.
Burnham is also one of six finalists for the National High School Butkus Award, which is given to the best linebacker in the country. He is one of two Notre Dame recruits among the finalists to join Jaylen Sneed.
The national Maxwell Football Club named him one of 16 semi-finalists for National High School Defensive Player of the Year.
Notre Dame has four four-star linebacker recruits in its 2022 class, with Burnham and Sneed (Hilton Head, South Carolina) led by Nolan Ziegler of Grand Rapids Catholic Central and former USC employee Niuafe Tuihalamaka (Mission Hills, Calif.) get supported. The Fighting Irish signed Prince Kollie (Jonesborough, Tennessee), the best prep linebacker in the country, last year.
Ziegler was also a finalist for the MLive Award, chosen by fans across the state as the fifth finalist after Burnham, Moore, Antonio Gates Jr. (Dearborn Fordson) and Ty Holtz (DeWitt). Holtz received 16 votes, Ziegler five and Gates three.
Burnham is the ninth MLive award winner, with Muskegon’s Cameron Martinez winning it twice in 2018 and 2019. The first winner in 2013 was Travis Smith of Ithaca, older brother of former Trojan quarterback Peyton Smith, who followed Burnham as Central’s starting QB two seasons ago.
Burnham threw 1,515 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior, along with 963 rushing yards and 14 other TDs. In defense he delivered 76 tackles (50 solo), 12.5 tackles for loss and three pass breaks.
After head coach Brian Kelly left Notre Dame a week ago to take the job at Louisiana State University, defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman – who recruited Burnham – quickly became a candidate.
Notre Dame announced Freeman’s hiring as head coach just days after Kelly’s sudden departure after a 12-year tenure with the Irish.
“I’m very grateful that coach Freeman is still here,” said Burnham. “I love him as a trainer. Cant wait to see what he does for the future of Notre Dame. He’s a great coach, but he’s an even better guy. Simply down to earth. So it’s nice to know that you can have that around you. “
Freeman was on his way to visit Burnham when he received a call from Irish sporting director Jack Swarbrick about an interview and had to turn around and return to South Bend, Indiana.
Trojan’s teammate and offensive lineman Keegan Opper said the rest of the team are proud every time Burnham receives another honor.
“A team is a team and it takes eleven players to win games and do all of that,” said Opper. “Josh is a great player. I’m just happy when I think we might have had a little to do with helping him win these awards. “
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