Burrow Decision Nears, OSU Adjusts

By Jeff Rapp, May 15th, 2018

Joe Burrow always has been known as a dedicated football player and hard worker, but this past week has been one of the most event-filled of his life.

Last weekend, the redshirt junior quarterback received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University. That day, his father, Jimmy Burrow, who is the defensive coordinator at Ohio University, tweeted about his son looking to tackle “the next challenge.”

On Tuesday, Joe Burrow made it clear he was leaving the OSU football program and would be pursuing a graduate transfer, which by NCAA rule would allow for him to play right away at another school. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer figures to allow for that process and release Burrow from his scholarship without incident, although he may not be pleased that one of the schools rumored to be on Burrow’s checklist is Nebraska, which just hired offensive guru Scott Frost.

Other schools reportedly in the mix for Burrow include Florida, LSU and Oklahoma. The Sporting News recently added Texas and Cincinnati to that list, noting Texas head coach Tom Herman originally recruited Burrow to OSU and UC is run by former OSU assistant Luke Fickell.

Still other schools that have entered into the speculation include Pittsburgh and Boston College. And it stands to reason that Ohio U. is staying warm on the backburner in case any of those moves don’t materialize.

But chances are Burrow ends up being a household name at a major program soon.

“One of these schools is going to get Burrow, and in so doing will get a quarterback who can contribute immediately,” TSN said. “It wouldn’t be a shock to watch Burrow take the same leap Mitchell Trubisky had with North Carolina in 2016. He’s that good. And if he finds the right system, an FBS program is going to reap the rewards.”

Burrow sums up an outstanding day in the sun after the 2017 Spring Game.

Burrow is a former blue-chip prospect who has looked nothing but comfortable and capable in his time at Ohio State. He attempted just 11 passes last season but has lit it up in Spring Game competitions and has 287 career passing yards with two touchdowns on his resume.

He’s also been very accurate in his time on the college field. He was 22 of 28 passing in 2016 and added a 7-for-11 clip in 2017. The combined 29-for-39 showing equates to 74.4 percent.

In the most recent Spring Game – granted with no threat of being hit – he led all quarterbacks with 234 passing yards and two TDs on 15-of-22 passing. Still, the sentiment this offseason has been that redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins has built up more points with the coaching staff, especially after coming off the bench to play hero for an injured J.T. Barrett in the narrow win at Michigan.

Haskins held down the backup spot last season and ended up recording 565 passing yards, four touchdowns and an interception. That pick directly led to a touchdown and Haskins also had a fumble that was scooped up for a score. While Haskins already has endeared himself to members of the program and fans, there are concerns as to whether he can run Meyer’s offense efficiently and he has a long way to go when it comes to the zone read play, a staple of the attack.

The 6-3, 215-pound Burrow is a more fluid runner of the football and may be more reliable in the pocket while Haskins has freakish arm strength and a very high ceiling. The Buckeyes return virtually all of their wideouts from last season and could feature more downfield passing with Haskins in the pocket.

Tate Martell is now the clear backup. The former prep national player of the year showed in the Spring Game that he still needs to develop as a pocket passer but is a clear weapon taking off with the football. The expectation now is that he will enter games on occasion as a changeup QB and be given a chance to damage defenses.

Ohio State’s only other scholarship QB at the moment is Matthew Baldwin, a 6-3, 200-pound freshman from Austin, Texas.

Burrow, of course, isn’t guaranteed for success but several schools would be thrilled to add a semi-polished QB who was rated as the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback nationally and the No. 11 recruit in the state of Ohio in 2015. Plus, he has two years of eligibility remaining.

Nebraska has lost the services of QB Tanner Lee and would figure to be a top suitor. Plus, it needs to be noted that Burrow’s father and brothers played for the Cornhuskers.

Florida continues to be mentioned as well, even though first-year Gators coach Dan Mullen said recently he wasn’t looking at the transfer quarterback market “right now.”

Recent reports suggest LSU is making a strong push. In fact, Burrow and his parents made a three-day visit there and reportedly received the red-carpet treatment.

After the Spring Game, Burrow hinted at this path, saying, “I didn’t come here to sit on the bench for four years, and I know I’m a pretty darn good quarterback. I want to play somewhere.”

That day is coming – soon.