Bengals select Athens’ native Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in NFL Draft

NFL Draft

The Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Burrow with the 1st overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night. The LSU quarterback grew up in Athens, Ohio and played at Ohio State for three years before transferring to the Tigers in 2018. 

Last season, Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and led LSU to a perfect 15-0 season capped off by a National Championship win over Clemson. In the 42-25 win over Clemson, Burrow passed for 463 yards and totaled 521 yards, breaking both FBS records previously held by Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. 

Burrow also shattered college football’s passing touchdown record by throwing for 60 touchdowns in the 2019 season. His 65 total touchdowns also broke the previous FBS record of 63 touchdowns. 

At the end of the season, Burrow accumulated more than 5,600 yards, 402 completions for a 76.3 completion percentage while only throwing six interceptions. 

Burrow finished his LSU career with 25 wins and three losses giving him the best win percentage in Tigers’ history. 

Before Burrow and the Tigers beat Clemson, he set an FBS record with seven passing touchdowns and eight total touchdowns against Oklahoma in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs.

Before LSU’s playoff run, Burrow made headlines for his speech about Athens and southeast Ohio during his acceptance of the Heisman Trophy. 

“Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” Burrow said. “There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot and I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here too.”

Since that speech, more than $500,000 has been raised for the Athens County Food Pantry.

To honor Burrow, the Athens City School Board unanimously voted to rename the high school football stadium “The Joe Burrow Stadium.”

Burrow’s dad, Jimmy Burrow, was a longtime college football coach who played at Nebraska. He spent the last 14 years of his career as defensive coordinator at Ohio University in Athens before retiring in 2019 so he could watch his son play his final season at LSU. His older brothers both played football at Nebraska.

His father’s old boss, Ohio coach Frank Solich, hoped Joe would play for the Bobcats, but his high school career landed him more significant Division I offers, including an offer from Ohio State.

Burrow was named Mr. Football in Ohio in 2014 leading Athens High School to its first state championship appearance. In that 2014 season, Burrow and Bulldogs scored 861 points breaking the OHSAA record for most points scored in a single season.

In Columbus, Burrow joined an already loaded quarterback room with J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller. Burrow redshirted as a freshman and played a little in 2016.

In 2017, he was competing with Dwayne Haskins to be Barrett’s backup and broke his hand in a preseason practice. That opened the door for Haskins to position himself as the quarterback of the future for Ohio State. Haskins was drafted 15th overall in 2019 by the Washington Redskins.

Burrow joins Cam Newton as the only other quarterback since 1967 to win the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship and be picked No. 1 overall.


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