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Rutgers commit Malachi Burby could be the gem of the 2019 recruiting class

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The six-foot-two, 270-pound defensive tackle impressed coaches with his skillset and physicality.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers football recruiting has been a hot topic of discussion, thanks in part to the addition of some intriguing playmakers. Malachi Burby (DT, 6’2”, 270 lbs., Berlin, Conn.) is a defensive tackle who brings a style of play that is built on consistency, physicality and football intelligence. He knows where he has to be on the field, when to be there and that often results in big plays at the right time. The three-star prospect plans to enroll early on January 7.

Burby chose Rutgers over Wake Forest, U. Conn, Temple, Syracuse and other schools. Like other recruits in the Class of 2019, it was the loyalty and constant interest from Rutgers that sold Burby on the program.

“[Rutgers] was constantly showing me love and reaching out,” said Burby. “They were the first to hit me up after I decommited from Wake Forest, so I went where the love was.”

For a player who’s game is predicated on play timing and instinct, it’s coincidental that Rutgers was in the right place at the right time when they reached out the big bodied defensive lineman.

Burby hasn’t wasted any time on forming relationships with coaches and future teammates. He shared that he is in constant contact with coaches, and already has some close friends in his recruiting class. They believe they can change the culture surrounding the program.

“I have formed a bond with Coach [Corey] Brown my position coach, Coach [Vince] Okruch the recruiter for my area, and Coach Ash,” Burby said. “We talk often and he’s always checking in on me. [Our recruiting class] is all relatively close. I’m most close with Mohamed Toure, Cole Snyder and Cooper Heisey. Those guys are going to be my roommates, so we have been talking a lot. I think that this class is one of the best that Rutgers has ever brought in. We have a lot of good players coming in and I think this class with 2018’s class will help turn this program around.”

Outside of player development and more on-field talent, improved program culture and a positive outlook are necessary if Rutgers wants to improve in 2019.

The competitive nature of the Big Ten was a selling point for Burby.

“What excites me the most [about the Big Ten] is the competition I’ll be playing against week in and week out. I love to be challenged, and playing in the Big Ten will do that.”

Rutgers will have plenty of fiercely competitive matchups next year, with Big Ten road games against powerhouse teams like Iowa, Michigan and Penn State, as well as a home games against Ohio State and Michigan State. Boston College will be making a trip to Piscataway as well.

Burby feels that his career at the Cheshire Academy prepared him for college football and tough competition.

“At Cheshire Academy we play against really good competition from all over. We have played in Virginia Beach against Bishop Sullivan, teams from Canada and the good prep schools from around the area. So playing against good competition has helped prepare me for college football.”

Watching his game tape, you’ll notice that he has a great first step and his hand placement and strength are great for creating leverage against blockers. Malachi constantly plays through the whistle.

“I believe that I use my hands very well and I hustle to finish plays well,” said Burby. “A lot of the Rutgers coaches pointed out my hands as a strong point that not a lot of d-tackles my age have.”

He’s slightly shorter than Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, but a lot of his play mimics Williams. If he can put on good size and match Williams in weight (295 pounds), Burby can be a force on the line for Rutgers. He has above average athleticism, a high motor, great hands and pass rushing toolkit you don’t see from many young defensive tackles. The 270-pound DT credits certain pieces of his game after an NFL star.

“I try to model my game like Aaron Donald. He’s my favorite defensive lineman.”

If Burby can bring a fraction of the talent Aaron Donald has, Rutgers football recruiting landed a gem. When asked about his outlook and goals, Malachi was pretty direct.

“I want to leave my footprint at Rutgers,” Burby said. “I want to be one of the best defensive linemen to come through Rutgers. I want to be one of the best defensive lineman in the Big Ten, and dominate all four years no matter who I’m going up against.”