WADESBORO — Just days after signing a letter of intent to play football for Elizabeth City State University on Feb. 5, Rasheed Burns received a special Facetime call from Anson football coach Ralph Jackson while riding in the car with his mother.
The video call was to inform Burns that he’d been chosen as one of the state’s best players and would, therefore, participate in the N.C. East-West All-Star Football Game this summer.
“I was proud because I didn’t think I would be playing in the game because I’m from Anson,” said Burns, who received the official selection letter from Jackson the following week. “I’m very underrated, but I was ecstatic when I got the call.”
It was only fitting that Burns would be in the car with his mom, who he credited for playing a big part in why he’s had so much success throughout his career.
“My mother taking me back and forth to workouts and practice…played a huge role. If I didn’t make it to those practices I’d never be the player I am today,” said Burns.
He added that the coaching staff always pushed him to be the best player possible while maximizing his potential.
Since 8th grade, Burns and the current 2020 class started training with Jackson when he took over the program five years ago.
“It’s a testament to all the hard work he’s put in. Rasheed has always been a standout,” said Jackson. “My first two years, I would always give him a hard time because I told him he was hard-headed. But he has learned how to play within the scheme and play team football.”
The Bearcats captain finished his career as an all-conference selection, leading the defense with 88 total tackles, 18 of which resulted in a loss of yardage.
He helped the team to a 7-3 overall record and a perfect 4-0 mark in the Rocky River Conference. Burns says he had one mentality every week he stepped on the field.
“It was eat or be eaten,” he said frankly. “Especially being 5’6, I had to go show the bigger people that I’m not nobody to play with. So I just brought it to them every Friday night.”
The high point of the season came in a win over Mount Pleasant where the senior middle linebacker tallied 15 tackles, three of which were for a loss.
Jackson isn’t surprised that the diminutive dynamo puts up those types of numbers.
“He has a nose for the ball, and his closing speed is pretty astronomical, to be honest with you. He’s smaller in stature, but as far as skillset and heart, he’s full of it,” Jackson said of Burns.
Both hope that this distinguished honor will pay dividends for future athletes as Burns added that his younger teammates should be inspired to be even better than he is and make it to bigger bowl games.
Meanwhile, Jackson took it a step further and highlighted its impact off the field. He says that the achievement brings positive light for a county that’s had some of it’s darkest hours that culminated in the untimely death of a Bearcats football player who was killed by gunfire in January.
“We’ve had a lot of things go on here that we could very easily be ashamed of. Even in all that disarray, we still have young men that are striving to do better and be their best,” said Jackson.
The first East-West game was played in 1949 and over the years has featured hundreds of future NCAA Division I stars, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the NFL.
Over 3,400 players have had the chance to wear the royal of the East or the scarlet of the West over the past 71 years.
Burns thanked the county for helping him grow to the level to bring praise for them and says he simply wants to do what it takes to help his team get a win.
The All-Star game will be played July 22 in at Greensboro’s Jamieson Stadium, on the Grimsley HS campus. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and halftime will include a fireworks show.
Courtesy photo Anson middle linebacker Rasheed Burns was recently selected to play in the N.C. East-West All-Star Football Game held in Greenboro this summer.