Panthers coach Matt Rhule calls former NC State defensive back Juston Burris an ‘unsung hero’

The new Carolina Panthers head coach has heavy praise for the defensive back’s effort in camp

Last season, the Carolina Panthers decided that it was time to switch things up, and that happened once the team parted ways with longtime head coach Ron Rivera. Looking to rebuild and get younger, owner David Tepper secured the services of Baylor sideline boss Matt Rhule, whom was expected by many to take the New York Giants head coaching gig.

With Rhule having control over the roster in Carolina, he opted to bring in former NC State defensive back Juston Burris on a two-year, $8 million contract. On Sunday, Rhule gave Burris some heaping praise, calling him an “unsung hero” of the team’s training camp.

“I would say one of the unsung heroes of camp, one of the guys that we signed and I thought he was going to be good, but I just love his work ethic and attention to detail is Juston Burris,” Rhule said, via 247 Sports. “I mean, he’s exactly the type of guy that I want to build this thing around. Tough, fast, explosive, and versatile. He plays really loudly, he plays on special teams, he doesn’t complain. …

“He’s been one of the guys this camp that you say to yourself, ‘Man, we got to keep this guy out here and really let him have an effect on the entire franchise.’”

A homecoming for Burris

Burris spent his collegiate career at Raleigh, NC, over 160-miles away from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. In his three years with the Wolfpack, Burris recorded 89 tackles, 18 passes defensed and three interceptions.

Following his senior season, Burris was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. Burris posted 37 total tackles, seven passes defensed and one forced fumble in two-plus years with the team, before he was waived in 2018. Burris would then wind up on the Cleveland Browns that year, where he played four games with the team.

Burris’ true breakout campaign came last year, as he recorded 32 combined tackles, seven pass deflections, two interceptions and one sack with the Browns. That season played a role in Carolina giving Burris the two-year pact, and he’s showcasing in camp why that was the right decision.

If Rhule’s comments prove anything, it’s that Burris is the favorite to land the starting strong safety role over second-round selection Jeremy Chinn.

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