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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Coach | 2025 Notre Dame WR Target Elijah Burress "Just Scratching Surface"

January 30, 2024
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Elijah Burress‍ has attracted plenty of attention from colleges this month and his head coach at DePaul Catholic High School expects the 2025 New Jersey receiver to continue attracting attention from colleges - and opponents alike - for years to come.

“He's as talented a guy as we've ever had,” DePaul Catholic head coach Nicky Campanile says of Burress. “I think he's just scratching the surface of how good a player he can be. He's an all-around receiver. He can kind of do everything. 

“He knows how to get open. He knows how to get open versus zone. He knows how to beat man coverage. He's a really smart kid too in addition to being such a great athlete. The thing I love most about him is you could put him in the slot, you could split him out, you could put him in the backfield if you need to. He's very, very versatile.

“I think the thing he does better than almost anybody in high school football right now is his route-running ability, his change of direction. He can pressure step and separate as good as anybody. That's something that you usually see the slots are usually better at than the outside receivers, but he can do both. So again, the versatility is just an awesome thing.”

Some of that ability surely can be traced back to his father, former star NFL receiver Plaxico Burress, but not all of it.

“Obviously his dad's done a great job with him and Elijah really understands the game being a product of his father,” Campanile says. “I think he gets some of his skills from his mother. His mother's an incredible athlete too. She ran track at Penn State, so she was obviously really fast. I think he gets some of his speed and his change of direction maybe from her. 

“Obviously his father did that pretty well too. So, yeah, he's got some great genetics.”

Notre Dame extended an offer to Burress on Jan. 11th and hosted him for a visit a little over a week later. 

Cincinnati, Duke, Marshall, Temple, UMass, East Carolina have offered this month as well, with multiple other Power-5 programs increasing interest in the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder.

“He's definitely picking up steam,” Campanile says. “Everybody who comes in here has asked about him. 

“But obviously there's nowhere like Notre Dame. You go and you see that campus and you spend time around that program, it's second to none. I think he kind of realized that when he went on the visit.”

Campanile says education will play “a big part” in Burress’ final decision.

“His mother's a lawyer and I know how important education is to her, so that's going to be a huge thing,” the coach said. “I think for him, just feeling comfortable with the staff and the players on the team, which it seemed like he really loved his trip (to Notre Dame).”

Burress’ parents have helped keep him grounded through all of the increased attention.

“They run a tight ship at home,” Campanile says. “He's very well grounded. Mom and Dad are both great people and they're holding him accountable. They never let him get too big or let the moment get too big for him. I think he's just a product of two great parents at home.”

But he’s also a product of DePaul Catholic.

“A lot of our guys grew up together,” Campanile says. “They played for the Silk City Cardinals together. He played there with Dez (Jones), DeShawn Stewart, Nolan James.”

James is a 2025 athlete committed to Boston College, Stewart is a 2025 safety with dozens of offers while Jones may be the most highly-touted of them all. 

“That's kind of kept them all grounded because they're all seeing each other succeed,” the coach says. “When you're with guys like that every day, you tend to rub off on one another and push one another. That's what I think has been the best thing for our program. They're not getting too big for it. They're continuing to stay grounded and to push each other and not just on the field too, but in the classroom and in the weight room too. It's a really cool thing to see.”

Campanile expects Burress to have an even bigger impact as a senior.

“I just continue to see him getting better and better,” the coach says. “This year, I think he'll be great with the contested balls. The 50/50 balls, he's going to own those. We're going to use him down the field a lot more than we have. He's a great deep ball receiver and for whatever reason we didn't do enough of that last year. 

“We're going to change some things in the offense to make sure he's more involved. He had a great junior year, but I'd like to see him be even more involved week to week in the game plan. We've talked about that. That's a plan for us going forward. This year, he's going to be lights out. 

“Him and Dez kind of feed off one another and it's a really awesome thing to see. The two of them, you can't double anybody with those guys out there.”

Look for Burress to continue making visits as winter turns into spring - including a possible return to South Bend - before official visits in June and a decision sometime this summer.

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