The Oklahoman's Super 30: Edmond Santa Fe's James Burnett a big student in chemistry
EDMOND — James Burnett has always been an advocate for team chemistry.
So when members of his eighth-grade football team in Sherman, Texas, began moving elsewhere, he could sense things were going awry.
“Our chemistry was just off at that point,” Burnett said.
Burnett decided to leave and move closer to his cousin, who was an Edmond resident at the time. Edmond Santa Fe instantly jumped onto Burnett’s radar.
“We were just going to see how it was,” Burnett said. “They said they had a good football team so we came and checked it out.”
It didn’t take long for him to earn the attention of Edmond Santa Fe coach Kyle White, who admired Burnett for his relentless effort.
“He was one of the better ones on that freshman team and he’s continued to be one of our better football players,” White said. “He’s a very gifted and talented young man and works hard and does things right. He competes the right way and has a great attitude when he does it.”
Burnett shined for the Edmond Santa Fe freshman team. He recorded most of the team’s tackles and Burnett, who saw himself as a role player, began to learn of his potential in the sport.
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“I started focusing on stats,” he said. “So that’s when I started realizing how good I was.”
But even though he had success on the field, the move to Edmond wasn’t an easy transition for Burnett who had lived in Sherman since the second grade. He said getting used to the culture was a struggle.
“It was the way I acted compared to the way they acted so they thought I was the odd man out,” Burnett said. “That was the main thing. I didn’t know any of these people so that was basically it, building the chemistry back up.”
By his sophomore year, Burnett began getting comfortable with the team and his play elevated. With his success on the field and the newfound chemistry he built in the locker room, Burnett knew he was in the right place.
“There were plans to move back [to Sherman],” Burnett said. “That was a no-go for me.”
After nabbing 10 tackles in his sophomore season, Burnett had a breakout junior year where he recorded 59 tackles in 11 games for Edmond Santa Fe. He’s since gained offers from Texas Tech, Abilene Christian, Northeastern State, and Washburn, along with interest from many other schools.
Burnett is No. 20 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of top high school recruits in the state. As a 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker, he helped lead Edmond Santa Fe to the 2019 Class 6A-I state playoffs.
“He’s big, he’s long, he’s athletic, he can run, he can jump,” White said. “He plays with great effort and when you put all those things together you’re a pretty skilled athlete out there playing football and you’re able to make plays.”
When asked his favorite part about football, Burnett didn’t hesitate to answer.
“My team, the guys that I play with,” he said. “Because if I don’t like the guys I’m playing with, the chemistry isn’t there.”
The Oklahoman’s Super 30
Name: James Burnett
School: Edmond Santa Fe
Super 30 ranking: No. 20
Weight: 200 pounds
Recruited by: Abilene Christian, Northeastern State, Texas Tech and Washburn
About the series
The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2021 class. The series continued Tuesday with No. 20, Edmond Santa Fe’s James Burnett. See No. 19 on the list in Wednesday’s edition of The Oklahoman. Here are the last five players we’ve featured:
No. 24: Bryce Drummond, QB, Pawhuska
No. 23: Emaud Triplett, LB, Owasso
No. 22: Lance Peterman, OL, Stillwater
No. 21: Owen Ostroski, DL, Tulsa Holland Hall
No. 20: James Burnett, LB, Edmond Santa Fe