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How Joe Burrow Went From Being a Third String Quarterback to the Number 1 Draft Pick

The Game That Changed Ohio State’s Perception of Dwayne Haskins

At the start of the 2017 season, Joe Burrow was the second-string quarterback for Ohio State. Then suddenly he broke his hand. This resulted in redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins being bumped up to second on the quarterback depth chart.

Soon after Ohio State’s starting quarterback J.T. Barrett got injured. This started when a cameraman accidentally bumped into his knee while he was in the middle of throwing a warm-up pass on the sideline. The injury worsened at a crucial moment in the third quarter of a game against arch-rival Michigan. At that moment Ohio State was down 14-20.

No one expected Dwayne Haskins to come into the game and lead the Buckeyes on a 17-0 run to finish off the game with a final score of 31-20. This win allowed Ohio State to stay in the college football playoff mix and more importantly it led to Ohio State making the Big Ten Championship game.

After that season, Haskins was considered as somewhat of a sports hero locally. This was due to the fact that after his big game J.T Barrett would lead the buckeyes to become Big Ten Champions.

Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow (Photo by

Spring of 2018: A Battle for 1st Place

Before the 2018 College Football season took place, the Ohio State Buckeyes hosted an open quarterback competition between Haskins and Burrow.

Yet according to Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Times Haskins held a clear advantage over Burrow. Rabinowitz stated “It was an open competition, but we all basically know that Burrow was going to have to knock out the champ. If you go into Ann Arbor and rally the Buckeyes to win there, that’s a huge thing on your résumé.”

According to multiple accounts, there wasn’t much separation between how Haskins and Burrow performed in training camp. As a result, the team named Haskins the starter for their 2018 campaign.

Interestingly enough Burrow initially wanted to transfer to the Nebraska Cornhuskers football program, however, their head coach Scott Frost was unsure as to whether or not he felt Burrow was better than there starting option at quarterback Adrian Martinez. Frost was quoted saying “is he better then what we got?”

Burrow signed an athletic scholarship with LSU in May of 2018. Soon after the school would announce that the junior would be there starting quarterback for that season. In his first season at LSU, he’d throw for a modest 2,900 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. He would accumulate a passer rating of 133.2.

Dwayne Haskins and Adrian Martinez’s 2018 Season

Neither Frost nor Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer would initially look foolish for the decision to overlook Burrow. This was due to the fact that both Haskins and Martinez would have better seasons then Burrow.

Martinez would go on to throw for 2,617 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 139.5.

Haskins would go on to throw for an astonishing 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 174.1. Ohio State would go on to win the Big Ten Championship that season. Weeks later they’d go on to lose to Clemson 29-23 in the College Football Playoff Semi-Final. Haskins would go on to finish third in Heisman Trophy voting that same season.

One thing that Ohio State couldn’t have predicted was Dwayne Haskins leaving after his sophomore season. This happened as a result of there being an extremely weak NFL draft class at the quarterback position, along with him having a breakout season. As a result, Haskins would be drafted by the Washington Redskins with the 15th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Surprisingly this didn’t have a negative impact on the program. This was due to the number one quarterback from the 2018 class Justin Fields transferring from the University of Georgia only days after his departure.

Scott Frost Should’ve Picked up a Magic 8 Ball

The following season Burrow would go on to make Frost look foolish for passing up on him the previous year.

Burrow would go on to throw for 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns and six interceptions during his senior season. During that same season, Martinez would throw for 1,956 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

In comparison to Martinez’s quarterback rating of 130.8, Burrow would post a rating 200.2. Throughout his playing career at LSU  Burrow would hold the highest all-time win percentage among qualifying LSU quarterbacks at .893.

During that same two-year span, Nebraska would go a combine 9-15.

Burrow would go on to win the Heisman Trophy and get drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the no. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft

Looking Ahead

During the 2020 NFL season, the Washington Redskins will host the Cincinnati Bengals on November 22 barring the cancellation of the 2020 NFL season. What this means is that Burrow will reunite with Haskins for one day on the field. The only difference is this time they will be on different sidelines.

A winning culture is something that both of these quarterbacks were offered in college, however, it will be something both quarterbacks will have to try to find a way to create for their respective teams at the professional level.

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