DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth gridiron standout Cory Burnham (Essex, Mass.) will continue his football career in the upcoming season, as he signed a professional contract with the New England Cavalry of the American Arena League (AAL) recently. He is the first in program-history to sign a professional contract.
The Cavalry are an AAL affiliate team with the newly-formed league, entering its first season of competition following a merger of the Pro Arena Football League and the Can-Am Indoor Football League. There are currently 17 teams in the league spread throughout the eastern coast of the country. Unlike college football, the schedule begins in the spring with the season-opener coming on April 5 in Rochester, New York.
"It's a new experience with new rules and a new field, but I'm excited to get going," Burnham said. "The opportunity came at a good time and I'm so happy to continue playing the game that I grew up loving as a kid."
After not playing competitively since graduating from UMass Dartmouth in the spring of 2017, the stellar quarterback is more than ready to get back onto a football field.
"Being away from the game gave me the itch to get back. I really liked what the Cavalry were building as a new team in the league and I wanted to be a part of it from the start. I can't wait to get going and make the people who have supported me proud," he said about the brief-hiatus from the sport.
In his three-year starting career with the Corsairs, Burnham etched his named alongside some of the program's best quarterbacks. He holds the all-time records for pass attempts (811) and completions (432) and sits second on the list in passing yards (5374) and touchdowns (56). After seeing action in every game during the 2014 campaign, starting the last eight, Burnham took over the following season when he put together one of the most memorable years by a Corsair quarterback in recent memory.
In 2015, Burnham's first as a primary signal caller, the Essex, Mass. native threw for 24 touchdowns and 2117 passing yards while setting a new single-season record of yards per game with 231.7. He was also responsible for a throwing and rushing touchdown in each of the 10 contests of the year. On September 19th, Burnham set a pair single-game records, tossing 489 passing yards and six touchdowns in a 48-41 shootout victory against Westfield State.
On top of his athletic achievements, Burnham was named to the Fall All Academic list for the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2015 with a GPA of 3.20 or higher. He graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor's degree in Management.
"The [Cavalry] are absolutely lucky to have him," said Corsairs' head coach Mark Robichaud about the recent signing of Burnham. "He is very versatile and a tough kid. He played through a separated shoulder in his throwing arm and he's just a tough kid who can run the ball and throw the ball. Those kids are tough to come by.
"He managed the offense very well. By the time he was a senior, we were able to tailor what we were doing to his strengths. He did an outstanding job reading defense, making pre-snap reads, and adjusting plays-he is just a really great player."
Burnham made sure to send his appreciation to the staff and his teammates for his time at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
"I would like to thank everyone at UMD, the coaches, players, and administration, for giving me the initial opportunity out of high school and giving me the best experience playing football in college," he said in a recent phone-interview.
"I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for my time at UMD."