Joe Burrow evidently is taking his talents to the Southeastern Conference, LSU to be precise, according to a report Friday by Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Tom Groeschen.
The beat reporter of University of Cincinnati football, which was one of Burrow's two options, Groeschen wrote that Cincinnati sources told him Burrow had picked LSU.
A junior-to-be at quarterback, Burrow spent the last three years at Ohio State but, upon gaining his degree two weeks ago, said he wanted to transfer to a school where he would have an immediate chance to be the starter.
Though Burrow said last week going into what amounted to his free agency period that he would consider all opportunities, he wound up visiting just Cincinnati and LSU. There had been a report earlier this week North Carolina might get a look but that never materialized.
LSU, with coach Ed Orgeron, went into the spring with a three-man competition of Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan, and Lowell Narcisse vying to start. According to reports, the Tigers left spring practice with no clearcut favorite to run an offense revamped by new coordinator Steve Ensminger.
That’s why LSU was interested in Burrow, hosting him and his family last weekend. That came right after Burrow made a visit to Cincinnati, led by coach Luke Fickell, a former longtime Ohio State defensive coordinator.
Both LSU and UC reportedly told Burrow he likely would be at the top of their depth chart. He evidently had not gained such a guarantee from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer after 15 days of spring practice competing with sophomore Dwayne Haskins Jr. to replace four-year starter J.T. Barrett.
As for Burrow, he’s unproven, at least in terms of playing time. Over the past two years he appeared in just 10 games combined, going 29-of-39 passing, for 287 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
But Burrow said he believes he is worthy of a starting job. Since he earned his degree in three years, he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
From Athens, where he had been the Mr. Football of Ohio his senior high school season of 2014, he was the backup to Barrett in 2016. He and Haskins competed to be the backup last season before a broken bone in Burrow’s throwing hand in preseason camp took him out of the running.
Haskins went on to become the hero of the win at Michigan last season when he replaced an injured Barrett in the third quarter and rallied the team to victory.
Meyer had no immediate comment last week upon Burrow’s announcement that he was leaving and acknowledged it for the first time in public while talking to the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton earlier this week.
“As of now it looks like Dwayne Haskins will get the first opportunity to be the starter,” he told the audience, according to the Canton Repository. “Dwayne is a young guy that came in against our rivals and did a heck of a job.
“You go back and watch that again, he came in on the first drive and took us down the field and scored on that first drive against that defense. So he's got a great release, he's got good size and he's a mobile-enough quarterback. It’s going to change how we attack defenses.”
The Buckeyes have just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, including redshirt freshman Tate Martell and true freshman Matthew Baldwin.
Part of the 2018 recruiting class and an early enrollee, Baldwin is coming back from a knee injury suffered during Lake Travis High School’s run to the Texas Class 6A-Division I state title game, but he is expected to be fully healthy by the start of preseason camp.