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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: E.J. Burgess, RB, Franklin Pierce

With only a few years of existence, Franklin Pierce University football is set to have a stellar year with one of the top RBs in all of Division II. NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams recently sat down with RB E.J. Burgess.
With only a few years of existence, Franklin Pierce University football is set to have a stellar year with one of the top RBs in all of Division II. NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams recently sat down with RB E.J. Burgess.
  • Name: E.J. Burgess
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 225
  • Position: RB
  • College: Franklin Pierce University
  • Twitter: ziggzagg22_
  • Instagram: ejburgess

Talk about your experience as a student. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I recently graduated with a degree in Political Science, and I’m currently pursuing a master’s in Leadership. I’ve been very involved with the Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Justice in Action Alliance. We try to promote social justice and inclusion. I’ve also participated in many community service activities such as clean ups and food drives. I lead the football team in most hours of community service.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
They would say that I’m very strong and resilient. I’m also one of the funniest players on our roster.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I am one of the leaders as a 2-time team captain. I try to set an example and get the best out of everyone around me. I am viewed as a strong RB although I’m used in multiple scenarios. We use the run to set up the pass and build into the play-action game. I’m also used in the passing game, yet my success opens up others to make plays on the field as well. Our bread and butter is the outside zone, and we mix in some counter plays. I’m not used that much on special teams at Franklin Pierce, however I was strictly doing special teams during my early days in JUCO. I have been used to cover punts and kicks, and I have some experience as the returner.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
During my time in JUCO, I played against Jaquan Brisker who recently got drafted in the 2nd round by the Bears. He was a very good player that we had to prepare for and had a presence on the field that you had to respect. I was able to break a tackle and score on him by the way.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
Bryce Macina is our QB. He’s been able to make top notch throws in practice and games. He’s also a big factor in the run game. I feel like he’s going to make some noise this year.

I also have to give a shout out to Brody Peacock, our RT. He’s one of the leaders on the OL who knows the game very well. He’s made strides lately in the weight room and should continue to impress this season.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
I’ve had a very interesting college journey. Things weren’t going very well at the beginning of summer camp at Central Arkansas. They told me that I wasn’t going to have much of an opportunity my first season and I was going to redshirt while transitioning to CB. I didn’t feel like that was the best for me and decided to step away and pursue other options.

I hit up every single JUCO in the country with ASA Miami being the one school that offered me the opportunity. Coach Sean Walters saw something in me and allowed me to come in as a walk-on. I eventually earned my position as the starting RB and after 2 years, it was onto recruitment again. I wasn’t getting as many looks as I wanted, yet Coach Eddie Brown and Matt Vincent at ASA helped light a fire in me telling me to give them Hell wherever I end up. Franklin Pierce showed the most interest. I had a good relationship with their coaches and knew that I was going to succeed with them.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Likely soccer. I played soccer and ran track in high school. I enjoyed playing soccer a lot and was the top goal scorer on our team. On the track, I was named all area as one of the best 110m hurdles with a 15 second personal best.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
This past semester, I was honored to receive the Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King Distinguished Honors Service Award.

In 2021, I was named CCA All Super Region First Team, Don Hansen Honorable All-American, First Team All-Conference and Offensive Conference Player of the Year. This upcoming season is just the 3rd season for Franklin Pierce, and I’m honored to be part of the history that we are making with our program.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
Our second game last season was at home against Lake Erie. On our very first play, I took the ball 71 yards in for the TD. The crowd went crazy. I had practiced a celebration with my teammate Brody Peacock, and you can see that in my highlights.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
Growing up, I was a huge Miami Dolphins fan. My favorite player of all-time is Ricky Williams. What’s great is that our head coach at Franklin Pierce, Russell Gaskamp, played center at Texas and blocked for Ricky Williams during his Heisman trophy year.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Some of my favorite music artists are Lil Durk and NBA YoungBoy. The one song I must listen to before games is “No Auto Durk” off Lil Durk’s Only the Family Involved album.

What is your favorite comfort food?
My mom’s mac & cheese.

Do you have a favorite movie, TV show or actor?
My favorite movie series is Jurassic Park with the first Jurassic World being one of my favorite movies. The TV show that I like is Family Guy, and my favorite actor is Will Ferrell.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, I like watching Anime (Naruto is my favorite). I enjoy kayaking and fishing when I can. One of my talents is that I do great tumbling. I can do backflips which sometimes I work into my endzone celebrations.

Why do you play football? Who or what motivates you the most?
I play because I fell in love with it at a young age. After seeing that I was good at it, I knew that football could take me places.

My family motivates me. They’ve been very resilient and gone through many struggles to help me get where I am. My father was active in the military throughout my childhood.

My journey is a huge motivator for me. My coaches put in a lot of effort to mold me into the player that I am. I’m still tight with my JUCO teammates to this day, and we support each other in everything. Seeing them be successful brings me joy and helps motivate me to do the same. My current teammates motivate me as well. We’re all on the same page, fighting to win every day.

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