Inked: Four-Star Quarterback Joe Burrow, from Athens, Ohio, is Officially a Buckeye

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 4, 2015 at 7:25 am
Joe Burrow is officially a Buckeye.

The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers today as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent. Signing Day is here.

Eleven Warriors would like to officially welcome Joe Burrow to the Ohio State football program. 

The Burrow File

  • Class 2015
  • Position ATH
  • Size 6-4/200
  • School Athens (The Plains, OH)
  • Composite ★★★★
  • Rank 9 (Dual-Threat QB)

When you win Ohio's Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior, you're in rare company. Joe Burrow, as a 6-foot-4, 190-pound junior, did that. Despite that honor, Burrow remained overlooked by many of the country's biggest college football programs. At 6-foot-4 and 190-pounds, he has prototypical size for a big-time quarterback, and his statistical dominance (47 touchdown passes as a sophomore and again as a junior) was becoming the stuff of legend. The son of a coach, Burrow's football acumen rivaled his physical abilities and his football lineage (his father and two brothers played at Nebraska) indicated a player to pay close attention to. 

Still, the big offers weren't coming. Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Penn State, each of them expressed interest in Burrow, but none of them offered. He visited a number of schools, but by the time this past spring rolled around his biggest offers were from Iowa State, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Maryland. Ohio State's Tom Herman was paying close attention to Burrow's development, but the Buckeyes were hot and heavy in their pursuit of New Jersey's Brandon Wimbush, who they had been aggressively chasing for six months.

In early April, as Ohio State's grip on Wimbush appeared to be loosening, Herman upped the contact between he and Burrow. The country's 9th-ranked dual-threat quarterback made a visit to see the Buckeyes and things began to escalate.

On May 6th, Wimbush committed to Penn State and the Buckeyes decided it was time to move on to their next option, which many believed was a toss-up between Burrow and California's Travis Waller. Waller was active on social media, courting the Buckeyes and lobbying to be "the guy" but behind the scenes it was all Burrow as far as Ohio State's quarterback pursuit was concerned. Three weeks after Wimbush made his announcement and after intense evaluation of the home-state quarterback, the Buckeyes offered Burrow and he immediately accepted, becoming the third commitment in the 2015 class.

Burrow told the Columbus Dispatch that the offer from Ohio State caught him by surprise.

“When Coach Meyer called, it caught me off-guard,” Burrow told the Dispatch in August. “I had to call my parents to tell them first, but I made my decision right away.”

Now, the face of a then stuttering Ohio State recruiting class, Burrow was immediately put on stage as "Ohio State commitment Joe Burrow" at the following weekend's Elite 11 quarterback camp, which took place in the shadows of Ohio Stadium – literally. Although he didn't perform as well as he would have liked, Burrow made it known that he was going to work hard to represent Ohio State at every turn.

He also displayed an impeccable fashion sense, rocking hosiery that earned him respect from everyone in attendance.

Burrow entered his senior season at Athens High School with lofty expectations. Anything short of a state title run would be unacceptable. He had worked tirelessly to improve his game and it was that commitment to the work that made him such an attractive option for the Buckeyes.

"I think what improved most was just my my footwork and arm strength," Burrow told 11W readers. "I have a very good quarterback coach here at Athens and he worked with me a lot last season to get me where I am today. My biggest strength on the field in my opinion is my ability to extend the play."

Burrow and his Bulldog teammates ran through the regular season and the incredible numbers from his sophomore and junior season somehow improved. As a senior, Burrow threw 63 touchdown passes against only two interceptions. He spent time on SportsCenter for his remarkable touchdown himself. 

His miracle season came to a disappointing end, Athens fell short in one of the best high school football games anyone will ever see, but his efforts yielded more lauding and more trophies.

Burrow's recruitment rarely featured dramatics, but as Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman moved on to become the head coach at Houston, questions about his commitment percolated. The Buckeyes hired former Nebraska quarterbacks' coach Tim Beck, and some speculated that a rift between the parties existed. Rumors began swirling that Burrow would finally be a Cornhusker target, that he'd consider Michigan (who had reached out to him to gauge his interest) and any other number of possibilities but Burrow, Beck and Urban Meyer set the record straight as quickly as they could. 

There was no hesitation when he decided to become a Buckeye in May, and there's no doubt now that Burrow will take his hard-nosed work-ethic to the Ohio State quarterback room. 

View 10 Comments