THE PLAINS (WCMH-TV) — Joe Burrow’s story began long before he became a Heisman favorite for the LSU Tigers. His dad, Jimmy, took the defensive coordinator job at Ohio University in 2005 and for the next decade Joe grew up in The Plains, Ohio, a small village located less than 10 miles from Athens.
“Ohio gets a lot of respect as a football state but southeast Ohio does not,” former Athens High School football head coach Ryan Adams said.
But that all changed when Joe Burrow came into the picture. He took over as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback in 2012 and proceeded to lead Athens to 37 wins in three seasons, the most points scored in OHSAA history with 681 points in one season and the school’s first state title appearance that same season in 2014.
“[Joe’s] style of play is still the same,” former Athens High teammate Adam Luehrman said. “I feel like it’s just like watching him in high school.”
The former Ohio State Buckeye turned LSU Tiger is now the odds-on- favorite to win the Heisman and when he raises that trophy, just know he’s raising up an entire village.
“A lot of kids live in poverty or below the poverty line and so it gives kids something to look up to say ‘Hey Joe Burrow can do this I can make something of myself.”‘
Among those who will be in New York City to watch the Heisman ceremony is Adams, a man who has seen The Plains transform from an booming mine town to a forgotten village tucked away in the Appalachian hills.
“I’m looking very much forward to seeing him hold the Heisman trophy,” Adams said. “That will certainly be a very special moment for me and a lot of people here. He’s one of us.”
A statement that resonates with Appalachians and Cajuns alike.