This week LSU football fans were informed of the news that former Ohio State QB Joe Burrow has joined the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Because he redshirted his freshman year in Columbus and spent 2016 and 2017 backing up new Saint J.T. Barrett, Burrow has two years of eligibility remaining. He will compete with sophomore Myles Brennan, redshirt junior Justin McMillan, and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse for the Tigers’ starting job. LSU fans hope that a long-awaited quality starter will emerge from this competition and lead the Tigers back into title contention, and it seems Burrow is the best candidate for the task.
Photo courtesy of LSUSports.net
What We’ve Seen
Burrow was a three-year starter at Athens High School in Southeast Ohio and quickly developed into one of the top QBs in the nation. After improving each year, Burrow finished his high school career with 11,416 yards passing, 157 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions, completing 68% of his passes. He also rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 27 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. A strong-armed, athletic, agile passer, Burrow was a four-star prospect, ranked as the No.8 dual-threat QB in the country out of high school.
At Ohio State he earned playing time only at the end of blowout games. In these ten games he completed 74% of his passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns and added 53 yards and a score on the ground.
He displayed a larger snapshot of his abilities in Ohio State’s 2018 Spring Game. There he connected on 15 of his 22 pass attempts and threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
If they watch those two scores, LSU fans will get excited. On one of them, Burrows stepped into a throw as the pocket caved around him and launched a 35-yard dart over the head of three defenders for a 50-yard score. He froze the single-high safety with his eyes, allowing his receiver the separation necessary to reel in the pass.
On Burrow’s second touchdown pass he again froze the safety and effortlessly tossed a ball that traveled 50 yards in the air and landed perfectly in the hands of his receiver who beat man-coverage.
Burrow clearly has great arm strength, and judging by his completion percentages in action in high school, Ohio State, and the 2018 Spring Game, is accurate with shallow and intermediate throws as well. His exceptional arm strength and athleticism make him arguably the most intriguing LSU QB prospect of the last decade.
What He Means to LSU
Death Valley, often devoid of high-caliber quarterbacking, needs a star signal-caller more than ever. After four years of an offense run predominantly by the rushing of dominant backs Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, LSU football has assumed an old-school, “ground-and pound” identity. 2018’s offense, however, lacks a true bell-cow back. Therefore, Head coach Ed Orgeron and new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger need to spread the field and favor the passing game; a reliable QB is paramount to this adjusted style of play.
Plucking a QB from the embarrassment of riches of one of the titans of College Football is a smart move for Orgeron, for Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer always does an exceptional job of spotting, recruiting, and developing talented QBs. Joe Burrow has marinated in Meyer’s system for three years: How will he perform in purple and gold?
It’s a question vital to the near future of LSU football and one that fans will be pondering all summer.