Brothers B.J. and Colin Burlace look to carry on a family tradition by playing lacrosse together at U. Maryland.
By Tom Feda
Colin and B.J. Burlace have always had a dream to play together in college since the brothers were young boys growing up in Maryland. That became a reality in November 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
B.J. Burlace was sitting at home in Edgewater, MD, when he decided to transfer from Yale to the University of Maryland to play for the Terps. Colin, who is two years younger, flipped his decision from Yale to Maryland shortly thereafter. It was a tough decision for B.J to make as deciding to commit to Yale in the first place was due to the school’s stellar academic reputation.
However, after B.J.’s freshman season with the Bulldogs the pandemic hit, and Yale cancelled its season. Many players were forced to look elsewhere to play lacrosse and not sit out a year. When B.J. got home, he put a lot of time and thought into his decision about where he wanted to be to play college lacrosse. “I wanted to be close to my family, have the extra year of eligibility, and have the opportunity to play with my brother,” he said.
Growing up in a lacrosse family, B.J. and Colin have always been extremely close. They played together all throughout their youth and had the opportunity to play together for a year in high school, at the St. Mary’s School in Annapolis. This where they grew as young men and had the chance to learn from each other, on and off the field.
“I knew B.J. was someone I could look up to,” Colin said. “He was captain and the best leader on our team, so learning the leadership skills and the amount of work you have to really put in to get to that level opened my eyes. I give a lot of credit to him in that aspect.”
This part of their friendship and being teammates on the field made them further realize that they could not pass up the chance to play together in college.
“We have always wanted to play together,” B.J. said. “That is something we knew growing up. We kind of realized that if we had that opportunity, we couldn’t pass it up and if we did go on different paths, that is something we would have regretted in the end.”
B.J. and Colin grew up as Terps Fans and came from a family that was closely tied with the school. “I grew up a Terp as my dad, mom, and whole family went to Maryland,” B.J. said. “I grew up going to football, basketball, and lacrosse games, so I always looked up to being a Terp.”
When B.J. transferred and Colin flipped his commitment a week after to join his brother in Maryland, it immediately felt right.
“This place is perfect for us because we live 30 minutes away, so when B.J. transferred, I changed my decision because Maryland was the only place I wanted to be besides Yale,” Colin said.
Sharing a lot of their time together, B.J. and Colin place a strong emphasis on having each other’s back as they navigate the challenges that come with being Division I student-athletes. “It has been awesome just knowing that if I have any questions that I need answered I can call him, and he will pick up right away,” Colin said. “Having B.J. on the field, if I do something wrong, he is someone that is not afraid to call me out and give constructive criticism.”
Brian Burlace, their father and a Maryland Alum, had a huge impact on Colin and B.J. as lacrosse players and people.
“My dad has been a huge impact on my life since Day 1,” B.J. said. “He has coached me up through high school and has taught me everything I need to know about the game.”
When one would expect that following in your father’s footsteps at his alma mater comes with some pressure, that was not the case for the Burlace boys. “There is no pressure from him,” Colin said. “Honestly, he just wants what is best for us. He has our backs and just wants us to love it.”
One thing B.J. learned about himself during the process of transferring was that he values his family and having them close by is special.
“I always kind of knew it, but I think I really put an emphasis on family,” B.J. said. “It was really hard being away from them, so it is good that I get to see them on a bi-weekly basis.”
The value of family is something that B.J. doesn’t easily forget. It is incredible that he is now on this new journey close to home where he is playing with Colin and has his parents in the stands for every game supporting both of them.
Going into this spring lacrosse season, B.J. and Colin will try to elevate the Terps into national title contention. No matter what happens, it will be a time the Burlace brothers never forget.