Joe Burrow is in an enviable position after announcing his decision to transfer from Ohio State on Tuesday.
He just graduated from OSU on Sunday, which gives him the right to be eligible immediately at his new school — with one caveat (see below).
So where might he land? Several schools are possibilities, including some it’s-a-small-world twists.
Here are the leading contenders:
* LSU. Quarterback play has been a longstanding problem for the Tigers and it remains so under Ed Orgeron, who said in the offseason that he wanted to add a transfer QB. After spring practice, new offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger dissected the play of the top quarterback candidates — Justin McMillan, Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse — and said he told them, “This is why you’re not named the starter.”
Ensminger added that while all had “outstanding” springs, they all made mistakes that caused concern. Ensminger’s system is “more of a spread” than previous LSU offenses, he said, and would feature a hurry-up, no-huddle offense. Burrow is certainly familiar with that.
* Florida. New Gators coach Dan Mullen, a former Urban Meyer assistant, was asked on Monday about adding a graduate transfer quarterback and began his answer by saying “not right now,” adding that he was happy with the quarterbacks on his roster.
But that was before Burrow’s announcement, and the Gators could use a QB. Florida’s offense was abysmal last year and neither Feleipe Franks nor Kyle Trask has seized the job. The Gators have another quarterback on their roster in former OSU commit Emory Jones, a freshman. Florida also has former Buckeyes receiver Trevon Grimes, a promising player who returned to his home state to tend to an ailing relative last year.
* UCLA. This is interesting. The fact that Chip Kelly recently added former Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight as an option might mean there’s no interest, but Burrow is a better fit for Kelly’s offense. Speight is more of a pure pocket passer than a dual threat. Imagine an ex-Buckeye and an ex-Wolverine as teammates on the West Coast. That would be odd, but Kelly is unconventional.
* TCU. The Horned Frogs play Ohio State on Sept. 15 in Dallas. Could Burrow be TCU’s quarterback? It’s not that far-fetched. TCU seems content with sophomore Shawn Robinson stepping into a starting role, but he has little experience. And coach Gary Patterson, like Kelly, likes to think outside the box.
* Nebraska. There are lots of Cornhuskers ties with the Burrow family, and new coach Scott Frost is as hot as anyone in the country after his success at Central Florida. But Frost is enamored with early-enrollee Adrian Martinez, who was impressive in the spring. Frost has the luxury of not needing success immediately, and he could let Martinez go through growing pains.
Also, even though Burrow is a grad transfer, transferring to a Big Ten school would require the conference to grant permission before allowing him to play without losing a year of eligibility.
* Texas. There’s the obvious Tom Herman connection. The former OSU offensive coordinator recruited Burrow to Columbus, and the Longhorns haven’t settled on a quarterback. But Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele are intriguing options and have starting experience. Would Herman want to risk losing them for Burrow?
* Ohio University. His father, Jimmy, is the Bobcats’ defensive coordinator and Burrow almost certainly would start right away. But he can play at a higher level than Ohio. If he lands at a Mid-American Conference school, league champion Toledo might be a better destination.
* Cincinnati. The Bearcats are turning into a landing spot for Buckeyes seeking a fresh start. Coach Luke Fickell would almost certainly be interested and Burrow would almost certainly start, but UC is coming off a dreadful season as Fickell continues his rebuilding program.