Media reports, first from Bruce Feldman at Sports Illustrated, and corroborated by The Advocate’s (although soon-to-be of SI as well) Ross Dellenger, have indicated that soon-to-be-former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow will visit LSU this weekend.
Burrow, who indicated his desire to transfer earlier this week, and will be immediately eligible for the 2018 season as a graduate. Burrow will be a redshirt junior, with two full seasons of eligibility remaining. He’ll also visit Cincinnati today, before arriving in Baton Rouge, presumably, this weekend.
Early rumors indicated that Florida, Nebraska and UCLA could be contenders, but as of press time LSU and Cincinnati are the only teams released by Ohio State to talk to Burrow.
Most believe Florida would be a leading contender due to the similarities in offensive system from Urban Meyer to Dan Mullen, but as of now that doesn’t appear to be the case. Mullen had gone on the record as not having interest in a grad transfer quarterback to compete with Feliepe Franks and Kyle Trask, but that was also before Burrow became available.
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell has a relationship with Burrow from recruiting, but he also has a very bad team still early into a major rebuild.
This looks like a pretty good spot for LSU, and I suspect that the coaching staff has been working this situation for a few weeks now. Just a month ago, Ed Orgeron and staff were pursuing Cal running back Tre Watson as a graduate transfer, but pulled back shortly after his official visit. A few days later, Orgeron hinted at pursuing transfers at other positions at a TAF event in Houston. Factor in safeties coach Bill Busch’s relationship with the Burrows (he and father John Burrow were graduate assistants together at Nebraska) and Urban Meyer from their days at Utah, and it’s not hard to envision LSU having some heads up on Burrow’s status. They should be well-prepared to give Burrow their best pitch.
And it seems like a no-brainer of a choice for LSU. Burrow is an unknown, but he’s a fourth-year player that was highly recruited to one of the top programs in the country (and probably the second-most talented one, after Alabama). He’s also well-versed in the spread-style of offense that LSU is looking to move to this season under coordinator Steve Ensminger. In speaking with people on the Ohio State side, most believe he’s more than good enough to start for them, but just doesn’t quite have the potential of Dwayne Haskins, whom Meyer has called the most talented quarterback he’s ever recruited.
Yes, it’s true that the three present quarterbacks on the roster may not take kindly to a new guy walking in and potentially jumping the line, but even a transfer is worth the risk, especially for a possible two-year starter. And in the case of Myles Brennan and Lowell Narcisse, both could conceivably start for multiple seasons once Burrow has moved on (and frankly, both would likely be better for it — we’ve seen this movie before with young quarterbacks pressed into action in year one or two).
The bottom line is that we know Orgeron will not hesitate to bring in players that can help him win games — he’s counting on three such transfers this year in Breiden Fehoko, Jonathan Giles and Thaddeus Moss. With a tough schedule and a skeptical fan base, this is a crucial year. If Burrow can come in and help right away, that’s a chance any coach would take.