Joe Burrow is everything you wished you could be.
Heisman winner. National champion. Presumptive No. 1 pick.
The humble kid from Ohio just wrapped up the most dominant season in college football history and is expected to become the face of the Cincinnati Bengals next month. Through it all, his humility and maturity have shown why he is so revered by teammates and coaches.
Burrow is the real deal and everybody knows it.
Burrow lacked opportunity early in his career
In the span of a year, Burrow went from a late-round prospect to the cream of the crop. Some will give all the praise to new Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady and his RPO-friendly system. Others will point to LSU’s cache of skill-position players.
However, it’s important to remember that although Burrow qualifies as a one-year wonder, he certainly never lacked for talent.
A four-star recruit out of high school, Burrow signed with Ohio State as the eighth-best dual-threat QB in the country. Unfortunately, he got buried on the depth chart behind Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and even Dwayne Haskins. After attempting just 39 passes in three years, Burrow transferred to LSU.
Following a respectable but uninspiring junior season, the 6-foot-3, 221-pound signal-caller entered the fall as nothing more than a Day 3 pick.
Of course, things changed dramatically since then.
Burrow and Brady catapulted their careers in record-setting fashion
Paired with Brady, who had spent two seasons working for the New Orleans Saints, the two Joes took the college football world by storm.
LSU abandoned its archaic, run-first approach in favor of a spread attack that maximized the talents of its skill players. The results came fast and furious.
Burrow kicked off his breakout campaign by throwing five touchdowns against Georgia Southern. He would throw at least five touchdowns in a game five more times that year. The final one just happened to be against Clemson for the national championship.
Receivers Ja’Marr Chase (84 catches, 1,780 yards, 20 TD) and Justin Jefferson (111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 TD) enjoyed monster campaigns playing in the new system with Burrow. So did versatile running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who accounted for nearly 1,900 total yards and 17 touchdowns.
Burrow masterfully ran Brady’s system and put his stamp on college football history. His final stat line included a record-setting 60 touchdown passes to go along with 5,671 yards and a ridiculous 76.3 completion percentage.
NFL executives can’t stop singing Burrow’s praises
Heading into the 2020 NFL draft, there’s no doubt that Burrow should go No. 1 overall to Cincinnati. Not even the Bengals should manage to screw this thing up.
Highly respected by his teammates, coaches and even competitors, Burrow has garnered plenty of attention from the NFL, too.
While former top quarterback prospects like Andrew Luck have been lauded as can’t-miss selections, the optimism has reached an entirely different level with the former Tiger.
According to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, one NFL executive went so far as saying, “If I had a son, I’d love for him to be like Joe.”
Now it’s one thing to love a player for his on-field ability. It’s another to believe in his character so profoundly that you’d wish to have a son like him.
Like I said, Joe Burrow is everything you wished you could be.