Who says Ohio State never recruits southeastern Ohio?
Just last week, the Buckeyes got a commitment for 2015 from Athens High School quarterback Joe Burrow, coming off a junior season that saw the 6-4, 205-pound signal-caller honored as the prep football Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Ohio.
Last fall, Burrow threw for 3,374 yards and 46 touchdowns with only five interceptions and also rushed for nearly 600 yards and nine TDs in leading the Bulldogs to a 12-1 record, losing only to Columbus Marion-Franklin 38-7 in the Division III state playoff quarterfinals.
Burrow, judged a three-star prospect by most recruiting gurus, is currently ranked as the 10th best dual-threat QB in the class of 2015, the 16th best player in Ohio and the 334th best overall player nationally. The son of Ohio University assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow, the Athens grid standout's services were also being sought by WVU, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Iowa State, Maryland, Kentucky, NC State and Vanderbilt.
With Athens only 75 miles down U.S. 33 from Columbus, I'm sure Urban Meyer and his staff knew all about Burrow. But what really heightened the Buckeyes' interest in Burrow was his stellar 2013 season. "They (Ohio State) said they liked my improvement last year," said Burrow. "He (Meyer) said I was high on their list. They were very serious about what they do and that stood out to me."
And obviously Burrow is too, as within hours of his decision, he - like former OSU quarterback Justin Zwick did after his recruitment back some 10 years ago - tried to get in touch with several other potential top Buckeye prospects for next year to convince them to join the class of 2015 with him in Columbus.
Seen as somewhat of a sleeper, Burrow is viewed as "a pretty solid passer" already, although he will far from measure up to Braxton Miller as a shifty, elusive runner, noted Miles Joseph of Land-Grant Holy Land.
SB Nation football recruiting analyst Bud Elliott stressed that Burrow "does have quite a few highlights of him throwing in rhythm and accurately, which is more important than just having a gun, and probably reminds Meyer of Alex Smith, who he had at Utah."
LGHL's Christopher Jason indicated that even though Burrow "is not a burner, he possesses deceptive speed, can outrun linebackers and has good (field) vision." Passing-wise, said Jason, Burrow "moves well in the pocket and can throw on the run. Plus, "he's a tough kid who will block downfield for his teammates if necessary and seems to really love the game."
Jason thinks that at OSU, Burrow will "fit nicely into Meyer's spread offense, as he is a true dual-threat quarterback that excels at both rushing and passing the football. I think Meyer found himself a very-underrated quarterback recruit that could be in the mix sooner than later."
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at email@example.com