COLUMBUS — Joe Burrow announced Tuesday that he would be leaving Ohio State, instantly making him one of the hottest commodities on the transfer market.
Burrow just earned his diploma from Ohio State, meaning he does not have to miss any time – he can play this fall in addition to having two years of eligibility remaining.
Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow drops back to pass against UNLV last season.
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For quarterback-needy teams, this is about as close to a free agent as there is in college football.
So where will he land? A look at some good options for the newly available Burrow:
Burrow learned how to ride a bicycle on the turf at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. His father and two brothers went there, and half of his family is from Nebraska. The ties are deep, new coach Scott Frost could use an upgrade at quarterback, and the Huskers have a strong receiving corps in Stanley Morgan, Jr., JD Spielman, and Tyjon Lindsey.
There also is some precedent here for a grad transfer going from a Big Ten school to another Big Ten school. Jake Rudock needed a waiver to go from Iowa to Michigan in 2015, but the conference signed off on it.
The Cyclones were in the running to sign Burrow the first time around, and now the program is in much better shape under coach Matt Campbell – who also offered Burrow a scholarship while he was at Toledo. Further, Burrow also has familiarity here as well, as he spent part of his childhood in Ames. Iowa State showed last season it’s not far away from being a Big XII contender, and Burrow certainly would help that cause.
Longtime Ohio State assistant Luke Fickell is now the head coach of the Bearcats, who have the potential to be one of the top Group of Five programs. Burrow will receive offers from better conferences, but UC is in state, he would be the unquestioned starter, and he already knows exactly what he’s getting with Fickell.
Dan Mullen said Monday that the Gators were “not really looking” at the quarterback market this week, but if anyone is going to change his mind, it might be Burrow. The Gators already have three scholarship quarterbacks, though it’s hard to say after last season that Florida is set at QB, and Burrow could be an even better fit for Mullen’s offense. If the Gators hope to contend with rival Georgia, a quarterback upgrade wouldn’t hurt.
This remains highly unlikely (though many Bobcats fans have convinced themselves otherwise), but Ohio deserves a mention. Burrow’s father, Jimmy, is the defensive coordinator, and Burrow spent his formative years in Athens. While Burrow would be an upgrade, Ohio is a midmajor who doesn’t have much of a need at quarterback, as Nathan Rourke accounted for more points than anyone in the MAC last season. But, if Burrow wants, a return home is on the table.
The Tigers also are in the market for a grad transfer, and already have been granted permission to speak with Burrow, according to Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples. If Burrow is after another program with big resources, a passionate base, and marquee opponents in the same division, LSU makes a lot of sense.
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