Story Poster
Photo by Matt Freeman
Notre Dame Football

Joshua Burnham Looking to Become A Leader on Notre Dame's Defense

March 26, 2024

Joshua Burnham arrived at Notre Dame as a linebacker, but he quickly outgrew the position and made the move to defensive end. 

2023 was the first season Burnham was able to get meaningful reps in games, as he recorded 18 tackles, four tackles for loss and one sack. The experience allowed him to see where he needed to grow his game, while the production gave him confidence heading into the spring. 

“I think I’m more comfortable with playing more of that interior defensive line in that 4i taking on double teams,” Burnham said. “I feel a lot more comfortable with that than last year. I’m putting on more weight. I’m 250 right now and I’m trying to get to 255-260 by the season.” 

The Michigan native is in his third spring at Notre Dame and is preparing to take on a leadership role this season. And it starts with leading by example. 

“I’m definitely trying to outwork everybody,” explained Burnham. “Got a good group of guys ahead of us that are leaders, but I feel it’s key that my class - we’re getting towards that next level. I feel personally like we have to step up and take leadership as well and just help these young guys and help meet that standard that’s been set years before.”

Notre Dame’s defensive line also has depth across the board for the first time in a while. Burnham has embraced this, as each player is getting quality work and an opportunity to show what they can do during spring practice. 

“We’ve been cycling three plays each,” Burnham stated. “If you can’t go 100% in three plays then – you just have to give it your all every single play. We have the depth to give you a rest and feel good about it.” 

Although the spring is still early, Burnham and the Notre Dame defense have already had some good battles with the young Irish offensive line, which will pay dividends down the line for both sides. 

“They definitely have a good group of guys in front of them as well,” Burnham said. “Definitely some key losses there, but we have such good depth at that position, especially with the coaches and everything they got.” 

Burnham understands the standard at Notre Dame and believes he’s close to having a breakout season. 

“I feel like I am,” said Burnham when asked if he was close to breaking out. “Coach Wash (Al Washington), Sebas (Nick Sebastian) have been a huge help. And the leaders around us, they really help us all. I think it’s definitely time for leadership and stuff for me. I take it personally, I have to step up and be more of a true leader.” 

Looking to join a Fighting Irish community and get the latest scoop? Sign up for our newsletter and become an ISD Premium Subscriber: Sign Up for ISD

Notre Dame 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament March Madness Sweet 16 T-Shirt

subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.