Joe Burrow, LSU Star and the #1 NFL Pick
This past week the long awaited NFL Draft was held and LSU’s hero is going to the NFL! This annual event marks a milestone for American football athletes and begins with a young boys dream. With all the crazy going on, football fans across the country were too excited about this years picks to even care the draft was being announced from the commissioners basement. Joe Burrow, LSU Star and the #1 NFL Pick.
To no surprise he was presumed to be the number one NFL Draft pick, and the Bengals were eyeing him for months. Though still uncertain, weeks before the NFL Draft Joe said, “Whatever team I go to, it’s going to be a challenge to begin in,” Burrow told the ESPN Radio affiliate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I’m going to have to persevere through it, just like I’ve done in the past.”
It all started when Joe joined Sam Smathers, youth football program in his hometown of, The Plains, Ohio. Joe always had a strong work ethic and passion for winning. His father, Jimmy, played for Nebraska during his college years and in 1976 he was actually selected in the 8th round of the NFL Draft.
He played for the Green Bay Packers for one year, following an extensive coaching career of 37 years! While many children of college coaches don’t stay in the same town for long, Joe was able to stay in The Plains, Ohio throughout his high school career. Meanwhile his father coached at Ohio State University.
Jimmy didn’t see his son playing offense.” This is your fault,” Jimmy Burrow would jokingly tell Sam “You made him a quarterback,” Jimmy Burrow would say. “I wanted him to play defense.”
Joe Burrow as a child in a Nebraska helmet, where his father Jimmy Burrow once coached. (Source: WAFB)
Joe was ahead of the curve and understood the game quicker than any of his peers. Coming from a known blue-collar town his family’s work ethic shined through into his athleticism. He didn’t want to step off the field and strived to be the best, all while having fun.
“He picked up on things that, you know, other kids just weren’t as quick to pick up on. He could be the field general at that level.” Smathers said. “He was the first one in line and I’m telling you what, he was wanting to lay that hit, it was his toughness. You could tell. He’d come off the field stomping.”
During his senior year of high school he lead his team to the Championship game and became the hometown hero. His high school team set the Ohio record for most points in a single season.
His first year in college was in 2015 at Ohio State, though he didn’t play (redshirting) until his second year in 2016. He spent the following two years as a backup quarterbacks to J.T. Barrett, who is currently on the Pittsburg Steelers. After one of his teammates Dwayne Haskins would be named the starting quarterback at Ohio State, he transferred to Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2018.
Burrow graduated Ohio State in 3 years with a degree in Family and Financial Services. This secured his eligibility as a graduate transfer. In December 2019 he graduated alongside 2,000 of his pears, earning his Masters Degree in Liberal Arts from LSU.
During his final season at Louisiana State University, Joe Burrow passed for over 5,600 yards and led 60 touchdowns. Setting a new NCAA FBS record for most touchdowns in a single season, 60. Colt Brennan previously set this record at 58 touchdowns in 2006. He also led LSU to victory in the 2020 National Championship Game against Clemson University.
Last week Joe was the number one pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, selected by the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Bengals went 2-14 last season, will Joe be able to give them a winning season?
“You might have a really good first year,” Burrow said. “You might have a really bad first year. You don’t really know, especially without OTAs this year. You’re going to have less time with your team. So there’s going to be ups and downs, for sure. You’re just going to have to battle through it.”
Whatever happens, we’ll be watching!