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Updated: Jun 22, 2023




Although his name went largely unsung and unseen, hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners safety Major Burns became one of the more impressive defenders for Matt House's defense in limited appearances last fall....however, the continuing theme of lower leg injuries repeated its vicious cycle again, taking away the meat of another season from the former Georgia transfer.

Just as he missed 7 games during his first season in purple and gold (2021), Burns missed 5 more crucial contests throughout the bulk of the campaign (Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, and Ole Miss)....appearing in a truncated 395 total snaps (most LSU starters hovered between 634-871).

For the second straight season, Burns was injury ravaged when LSU faced Alabama; missing the game in 2021, Major barely recovered in time to register 1 tackle, allow Alabama's biggest play of the game (a 65 yard catch), earning the Tigers' worst defensive grade of the night (27.9) from 33 snaps as he played little more than a supporting role.

But that injury-hampered / rusty performance doesn't define the player Burns has been, is and should be for LSU:

When fairly judging how he started and finished 2022 (during games without injury), the former Madison Prep prospect stood out as one of defensive coordinator Matt House's strongest defenders.

Specifically referencing Burns' performances against Florida State, Georgia and Purdue, LSU's starting safety cultivated a fantastic establishment in which to build on this fall.

Over 9 games, Burns generated 38 tackles, 3 QB Hurries, 3 pressures (all 3 pressures vs Florida State) backed by 3.5 tackles for loss from just 8 pass rushing snaps, while batting down a trio of passes.

Tasked with covering the backend during 238 of his 395 snaps, Major also showed signs of improvement over last year, forcing 4 incompletions through tight coverage, allowing 7 catches out of 17 targets, surrendering 2 completions over 20 yards, with 0 touchdowns charged against him.

In 2021, Major was beaten over the top on critical plays, busting games wide open (75 and 78 yard touchdowns given up against UCLA and Central Michigan), allowing 95 more yards, 2 additional scores, and 4 more catches while appearing in 4 fewer games and nearly 100 less snaps.

On the flipside, to illustrate his positive coverage evolution, look at Burns' 2022 appearance vs Mississippi State: 5 targets came his way but only one catch and 5 yards were ever surrendered.

Additionally, Burns' tackling has grown from inexcusable misses, bad angles or poor wrap-up technique to becoming potentially elite ahead of fall 2023:

Over his 14 total Tiger appearances, Major logged 7 games of 5 or more solo tackles, adding 16 overall stops as he displayed a propensity for finishing off savage hits thanks to punishing, pummeling wrapups.

Still, what would qualify as my favorite attribute of #28's?

Major's tireless sideline to sideline hustle.

Across both years at LSU, Major made touchdown-saving stops as the last man, evident proof of his never-say-die work ethic.

Regardless of his injury woes or missed games, Major made an impact during some of the biggest games of 2022:

Making this personal for me, I witnessed Major's best game when he faced his former school at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta:

The Madison Prep-developed Baton Rouge native sent a thunderous message to any doubters, standing out alongside Harold Perkins and Jaquelin Roy as the best LSU defender on the day, posting 8 tackles and the game's 2nd highest defensive grade.

Flying around like a relentless steambreathing beast of every opponent's burden, Burns reminded his prior coaches and teammates what he was always about since the very beginning....all as he gave LSU nation a tantalizing preview of what a fully healthy Burns can accomplish on the field.

But his scattershot availability is a continuing theme once again:

Despite another worrying injury cutting Major's 2023 Spring in half, Burns is still on track to be fully fit for the duration of fall camp as well as the upcoming campaign.

Slated to start by Head Coach Brian Kelly, relied upon as a desperately needed veteran presence within an extremely young 2023 DBU crew, possessing the pedigree to become a Thorpe Award-challenging safety as he guides a young group toward potential greatness, we know one thing very well:

When Major Burns is on the field, 9 times out of 10, great things happen for the Tigers.

Without the former UGA transfer, Coach Kerry Cooks was forced to cross-train nickels or throw corners at the problem; Luckily, 2022 DBU had enough seasoned versatility on roster to shore up Burns' safety spot.

In 2023, more than ever before, if Major fights injury all year, then the Tigers will have considerable issues finding the same level of talent or maintaining his singular brand of rampant aggression over 4 quarters each game.

Quite simply, in 2023....LSU need Major Burns.


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1 opmerking

Sometimes reoccurring injuries can completely derail a promising career. If it’s going to change for Major, it will need to be this Summer. The staff will need to focus on stability. Major is a smart defender. It would be great if he can stay on the field.

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