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2020 NFL Draft: 'Amazing' if Joe Burrow's NFL story starts back in Ohio

  • The Bengals being the team who are set to pick Joe Burrow at number one makes it even more special for his former high school coach.
Modified 23 Apr 2020, 18:42 IST
Joe Burrow - cropped
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow's former high school coach described it as "amazing" that the quarterback's NFL career is poised to start in his home state of Ohio.

The LSU signal caller is expected to be picked first overall in Thursday's draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, who play just over two hours' drive from Athens High School where he made his name.

Burrow went on to start his college career at Ohio State but, once it became clear Dwayne Haskins would emerge as the starter there, he transferred to LSU.

He produced a historic 2019 season to win the Heisman Trophy and lead the Tigers to the National Championship, throwing for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns, with just six interceptions.

Despite his exploits taking place 1,500 miles away, Athens High School and the surrounding area in south east Ohio relished Burrow's success.

And his coach at Athens, Nathan White, feels things will reach a whole new level now Burrow is set to return to the state as an NFL quarterback.

"The people in south east Ohio are pretty excited that it could be Cincinnati because it's a two-and-a-half-hour drive," White said to Stats Perform ahead of the NFL Draft.

"So a whole lot of people will get to him watch play on Sundays which would be different than any other team. It would be indescribable how exciting that would be. 

"He was in Baton Rouge this year, 1,500 miles away, and every Saturday in Athens it was crazy. LSU parties everywhere, people watching the games together. 


"To think that it could get bigger than that [is hard to believe] – but it certainly will now. It's kind of amazing that it can end right back here just a couple of hours away.

"It will be pretty neat if it does and as an Ohio team, there are already a lot of fans here. The biggest difference is that we will have a lot of people that drive to Cincinnati and go watch him play." 

Burrow was named Ohio's Mr Football during his time with Athens and threw six touchdowns as the team came agonisingly short of winning a state title in 2014.

A 56-52 loss to Central Catholic with the OHSAA Division III championship up for grabs was a rare sad moment, but White is glad Burrow is in the spotlight and spoke proudly about his team-first approach.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want him to go first," he said. "I want him to be the first pick, that's something that he's worked for so hard. 

"He is such a team guy, it is always about his team and his coaches. It's going to be pretty neat to have one night that's kind of about just him. 

"I hope he goes number one and gets to enjoy the night and I know that the next day it will be about the team, whatever team that is."

White feels Burrow is capable of leading a pro locker room even as a rookie, adding of the QB: "I've been around him and I've seen him work day to day and how he operates. 

"I think he'll be a great leader even as a rookie, have an impact and make the locker room a great place and a unified place wherever he goes.

"I truly believe that wherever he goes they have a chance to be much better because he's a great player."

Published 23 Apr 2020, 18:42 IST
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