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In the Spur Spotlight with Onte Burns

SMSU Sophomore Linebacker Onte Burns answers questions about how he got started with football, life at SMSU, and more.

September 24, 2019

For this week’s In the Spur Spotlight story, Sophomore Linebacker Onte Burns was selected. Throughout the interview, Burns described aspects about his personal life and how those pieces help to make him not only a dynamic player on the gridiron, but also a great man off of it.

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did and make sure to stay tuned for next week’s edition of In The Spur Spotlight.

What was the thing that influenced you to go out for football?
“I played football ever since I was, like, nine years old. I’ve always enjoyed it, I’ve always liked playing it. I think I was young. I started watching football on the television, and I just wanted to go. I just wanted to go and start doing it as a little kid, I just loved watching it.”

Your coach, Howard, what was that like playing for him? Was he a big influence, or was he just kind of there?
“ He definitely supported all of us as players, not only on the field, but off the field as well. Just helping the community, if you needed any clothes, he would give you clothes off his back, or just hospitality in general. Just being there as more than just a coach. Kind of like a big brother, or a father figure.”

What was it like playing at your high school, Robbinsdale Cooper, and how is it different than playing at SMSU?
“ The speed is obviously way faster, and these linemen are a lot huger than the ones in high school, too, so it’s definitely a change in the strength and speed of the game.”

Pullquote Photo

I just like how quiet it is, how humble it is here. It humbles me; it taught me not everything is about myself”

— Onte Burns

What was it like coming from the 7th largest city in MN to Marshall MN?
“ I’m not really out there a lot, so it really didn’t bother me. It definitely was a big change. Foodwise, I just gotta learn how to cook now, that’s pretty much it. I feel like in the city, there’s a little attitude vibe going on, but I feel like out here, mostly everyone is pretty nice, everywhere you go- it’s pretty cool.” 

In what ways did your family support you and continue to support you with the game?
“Oh man, they come to the games, drive me to the games, whenever I need something, especially out here when I’m alone; they make sure I have food and stuff. I’m hoping to see them this upcoming weekend [USF].

What’s your favorite feature of the position you play?
“ The physicality. Like I said, from high school, the guys weren’t as big. Just getting to be more physical and being able to play fast.”

What are some other things you like to do off the field?
“I play video games, I go hoop every now and again. 2k, Madden, Call of Duty– the basic games, pretty much.”

Did you do any other sports in high school?
“I played basketball, I played LaCross in my junior year. So I went out to one LaCross game with a few of my guys, and I just saw and was like, ‘I can do this.’ Then when I got out there I kind of realized how tough it was. I didn’t know it was that physical, too, so it kind of brought the football side of me into it, too.” 

What made you want to do exercise science as your major?
“ I love football so much that I want to go ahead and be a coach, do personal training, somewhere in that area. My dream job would be coaching– I kind of want to coach, I kind of want to train, not just be too original with coaching, probably set up my own little program with training, too.”

How is this team different from other teams you have worked on?
They are supportive. We have different cliques that we need to fix, but I feel like we can be great if we come together. We have mentors and mentees so all the upper-classmen is assigned with incoming freshmen or younger players. Once you come out here in college football, you have been practicing all throughout the summer, the spring, and fall camp. . . you’re playing with these guys that you have been playing with for a while, so I don’t really get nervous. I’m just going out there, making sure I get the job done

What is your favorite thing about SMSU?
I just like how quiet it is, how humble it is here. It humbles me; it taught me not everything is about myself.

If you could give kids advice or if you could give the younger version of you advice, what would it be?
You’ll go through stuff, and you just have to get through it. Tough stuff will come your way, but you just have to overcome it and be your best self. You don’t worry about what everyone else thinks, because what everyone else thinks is not you; it’s not really you.

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