Notebook - Burrow leaving OSU
May 9, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Via his twitter account on Tuesday (5/8/18), quarterback Joe Burrow announced his decision to leave Ohio State and explore his options as a grad transfer. Burrow graduated from Ohio State this past Sunday but since he was redshirted earlier in his career, he will have two years of eligibility and be able to play right away.
Burrow’s exit from the Buckeyes wasn’t one based on discontent. Although Urban Meyer hasn’t announced a starting QB yet, Dwayne Haskins is believed to be the frontrunner for the gig. Haskins helped the Buckeyes rally to win at Michigan in last year’s regular-season finale. He is competing with Tate Martell for the job. Burrow’s departure leaves Ohio State with three QBs on scholarship, including Matthew Baldwin.
Burrow played in 11 games for Ohio State, completing 29-of-39 throws for two TDs and zero interceptions. He rushed for 53 yards and one TD on 15 attempts. In the spring game last month, Burrow connected on 15-of-22 passes for 238 yards.
Facing the media following the spring game, Burrow said, “I came here to play. I didn’t come here to sit on the bench for four years. And I know I’m a pretty darn good quarterback. And I want to play somewhere. I’ve put so much into this, and I’ve put my heart and soul into it, and if I were to leave, it would be pretty devastating for me. But at the same time, I would understand how they went.”
Burrow was a three-year starter in high school, playing 41 games. He completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 11,416 yards with a 157/17 touchdown-to-interception ratio. During his senior season, Burrow connected on 72.3 percent of his throws for 4,445 yards with a remarkable 63/2 TD-INT ratio.
Burrow also rushed for 2,067 yards and 27 TDs during his prep career, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. He had two TD catches on trick plays and lost only three fumbles.
Burrow’s father, Jimmy, and brothers Jamie and Dan all played football at Nebraska. Jimmy is currently the Ohio defensive coordinator and served as grad assistant under Frank Solich at Nebraska.
LSU lost starter Danny Etling. Myles Brenan, Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan competed for the QB job during spring practice. Brennan is the only player with experience, completing 14-of-24 passes (58.3%) for 182 yards with one TD and two interceptions in 2017.
With Jake Allen transferring, Florida has only three QBs on scholarship. This trio includes redshirt sophomores Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask, in addition to true freshman Emory Jones. Jones, a four-star recruit, left high school early to participate in spring practice for the Gators.
Franks is the only one with playing experience, but he struggled mightily as a RS freshman in ’17. Franks, who has all the tools with great size, a terrific arm and running ability, completed only 54.6 percent of his passes for 1,438 yards with a 9/8 TD-INT ratio. The Wakulla Co. HS (FL.) product didn’t get much help from the former staff in terms of play calling, but he constantly made poor decision and was slow in making his reads.
Trask was injured all of last season but played well in the spring game. I’m of the belief that he’ll be the starter if new head coach Dan Mullen doesn’t add a grad transfer to the QB room. Jones appears to be the future, but I doubt Mullen wants to rush him into action as a true freshman. Franks struggled again in the spring game last month.
UF has endured garbage QB play for the most part of eight consecutive seasons. Some of that can be blamed on coaching and injuries but whatever the case, Gator Nation is starving for first downs and touchdowns. This is why Mullen must make Burrow a priority.
However, Mullen said his team wasn’t looking to add a grad transfer QB at a speaking function on Monday night. Then when the Burrow news came out yesterday, Mullen was asked by reporters if that stance had changed. According to 247 Sports, Mullen said, "No, it really hasn't. One of the things we do is we look, we evaluate everybody that may transfer as grad transfers, We try to look and say, 'Hey, what's the need? How does it fit our program? Are they a one- or a two-year transfer?' That's a big deal, too, because you're looking short-term, long-term. So it really hasn't changed for us."
Is Mullen playing coy here? UF fans certainly hope so.
A report today from Rivals.com listed schools such as Arkansas, Wyoming and Arizona State showing early interest in Burrow. Also, SI.com’s Andy Staples reported that LSU and Cincinnati have been granted permission to speak with Burrow.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Mississippi State redshirt junior LB Leo Lewis was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct on May 4. Lewis started 12 of 13 games in 2017, recording 46 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
-- Former California RB Tre Watson has transferred to Texas. Watson, a redshirt senior, will be eligible right away for the Longhorns as a grad transfer. He played in two games last year before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. Watson rushed for 709 yards and four TDs for the Golden Bears in 2016.
-- Kentucky took a huge loss last week when DE Denzil Ware announced his intentions to transfer. Ware earned his degree this past weekend and will be eligible to play right away as a grad transfer. As a redshirt junior in 2017, Ware produced 48 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, two QB hurries, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. He also had two touchdowns with a pick-six and a scoop-and-score fumble return.
-- In other not-great-news for Mark Stoops, Kentucky LB Eli Brown has transferred to Western Kentucky to be closer to family members who will help him take care of his younger siblings. When Brown’s mother died several years ago, Brown’s siblings were placed into foster care. Once they were old enough to leave foster care, they joined Brown in Lexington. Brown had 38 tackles for the Wildcats as a redshirt sophomore in 2017.
-- Former Alabama and Arizona State QB Blake Barnett, a five-star recruit out of HS, has landed at South Florida. Barnett hopes to beat out RS junior Brett Keane and RS sophomore Chris Oladokun to replace Quinton Flowers as the Bulls’ starting QB in 2018.
-- Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich took to social media last week to call out Oregon State for actively recruiting his players with recruiting packets inviting them to attend the Beavers’ spring game. This is a clear rules violation that an OSU spokesman said was being investigated by the program.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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