Joe Burrow is leaving Ohio State, and there should be a pretty high demand for his services on the graduate transfer market.
Burrow, a redshirt junior quarterback, competed throughout spring practice with Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell for the Buckeyes’ starting role. He made a good case to earn that role, too, especially with his effort — 15-for-22 for 238 yards — in OSU’s spring game.
However, after graduating over the weekend, Burrow decided it was in his best interests to leave Columbus. He will have two years of eligibility remaining wherever he lands.
After weeks of struggling with this decision, I have decided to leave Ohio State and explore other options. My teammates and coaches all know the love I feel for them. I will decide where I will play next year in the coming weeks.
— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) May 8, 2018
How did we get here?
Burrow, a three-star prospect in the class of 2015, redshirted his first season on campus before moving up to No. 2 on the depth chart behind J.T. Barrett in 2016. Mostly playing in mop-up duty, Burrow completed 22-of-28 pases for 226 yards and two touchdowns that season. However, after an injury, Burrow fell to No. 3 behind redshirt freshman Haskins in 2017.
With Barrett now in the NFL, Burrow, Haskins and Martell, who redshirted in 2017, all received significant reps throughout the spring, but Haskins, who impressed when Barrett was injured in 2017, was perceived as the front-runner.
Burrow has been honest about mulling a graduate transfer. After the spring game, he offered a blunt assessment of the situation:
After the spring game, it was clear that Burrow was torn about his future. But this was the key quote: "I came here to play. I didn't come here to sit on the bench for four years. I know I'm a pretty darn good quarterback and I want to play somewhere."
— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) May 8, 2018
What does Burrow bring to the table?
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Burrow leaves Ohio State with these stats in 11 games: 29-of-39 for 287 yards and two touchdowns passing with 15 rushes for 53 yards and a score on the ground. He’s more of a pocket passer than the Ohio State quarterbacks we’ve become accustomed to in recent years, but according to Kevin Noon of BuckeyeGrove.com, Ohio State’s Rivals.com affiliate, he can hurt you with his legs, too.
“He’s kind of an Alex Smith type. Strong arm, quick release. Deceptive runner. More of a run threat than you would expect. Not as much of a vertical passer as some but can make those throws,” Noon told Yahoo Sports. “He’s best when getting rid of it quickly but versatile enough to be a dangerous weapon as a downfield passer. Highly competitive kid.”
What schools are interested in Burrow’s services?
Many schools have been linked to Burrow in recent weeks, even before the news of his transfer became public. Two SEC schools specifically, LSU and Florida, have been connected to Burrow.
Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse, all inexperienced options, competed for LSU during spring ball. Recently, coach Ed Orgeron said adding a graduate transfer QB to the Tigers roster was “very possible.”
At Florida, Feleipe Franks did not really separate himself from fellow redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask and true freshman early enrollee Emory Jones throughout spring. However, new coach Dan Mullen said UF was not pursuing a grad transfer “right now” when asked Monday night. With Burrow officially on the market, could that change?
Interestingly, there have also been rumblings about Big Ten foe Nebraska. Burrow’s dad, Jimmy, and brothers Jamie and Dan all played football for the Huskers. Jimmy, the defensive coordinator at Ohio, was also a graduate assistant coach at NU under Frank Solich.
Speaking of Ohio, in-state options like Ohio and Cincinnati could also be in the mix. Other interested suitors will certainly trickle out in the coming days as well.
What does Burrow’s transfer mean for Ohio State?
The departure of Burrow means Haskins will likely assume the starting role for the Buckeyes in the fall. OSU fans should feel pretty good about that. When Barrett went down with a knee injury against rival Michigan last fall, Haskins performed admirably, completing 6-of-7 passes for 94 yards in a come-from-behind 31-20 win in Ann Arbor.
If Haskins, who went 40-of-57 for 565 yards and four touchdowns overall on the season, could perform that well in such a hostile environment in his first significant action, Haskins could prove to be a more-than-worthy successor for Barrett, the all-time Big Ten leader in passing touchdowns, total touchdowns and total offensive yards.
Martell, a coveted recruit (No. 39 overall) in the 2017 class, will likely slide to No. 2 on the depth chart. Matthew Baldwin, a four-star 2018 recruit, is the only other scholarship quarterback on the Ohio State roster.
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