RebelGrove - Ole Miss adds Australian punter to 2022 class
football Edit

Ole Miss adds Australian punter to 2022 class

You'd think that someone from Mount Macedon, Victoria, in Australia wouldn't be too familiar with Ole Miss, but Lane Kiffin's reach apparently crosses international waters. James Burnip, the second 2022 commit for the Rebels, is more than familiar with the football program and their head coach.

"Well, The Blind Side was my introduction to Ole Miss," Burnip said. "But I check out coach Kiffin's Twitter a lot, he's really funny."

The 6-foot-6, 216-pound right-footed punter has also done his research offline as well.

"Coach Kiffin has already turned the program around after this last season," Burnip said. "The Outback Bowl win over Indiana is huge for the future and trajectory."

The Australian native hasn't played a down of football in his life, as is the norm in Melbourne. But, he has worked diligently with Prokick Australia, a development firm for prospective punters and kickers that produced former Rebel Will Gleeson as well as Power-5 punters like Ohio State's Cameron Johnston, Arkansas' Sam Irwin-Hill, LSU's Jamie Keehn and Penn State's Daniel Pasquariello, among several others.

"We don't play games or compete in a league...we don't have that here," Burnip said. "But we train with the coaches and focus on perfecting our technique. Then we move into simulating a live punt and work on getting acclimated on what to expect once we get to the states."

Burnip was actually being recruited by former special teams coordinator Blake Gideon. But, once he accepted the job at Texas, the recruitment shifted to newly-named special teams coordinator, Coleman Hutzler.

"The transition was very smooth and fast," Burnip said. "Coach Gideon was great but once he left for Texas, Coach Hutzler got in touch with my coach and I almost immediately and offered me.

He just told me he was excited to get me in December or January and get to work."

When he arrives, though, it won't be intimidating or a shock at all.

"I've been to Oxford before back in 2019 when we did some campus tours and kicking camps," Burnip said. "The campus is unreal."

The decision was easy for Burnip once he received the offer from Hutzler.

"The opportunity to play in the SEC, it was a no-brainer...getting to play in front of thousands of people is going to be incredible."

Burnip plans on reporting to campus as an early enrollee at the end of the year.

"I'm such a huge fan of the states and the game of college football. I can't wait to get back to Oxford."