Joe Burrow is joining the Cinncinati Bengals after winning Louisiana State University’s first Heisman trophy since 1959

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 23, 2020 08:31 PM
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Joe Burrow

The Cincinnati Bengals got their man.

Quarterback Joe Burrow, who led Louisiana State University to victory over Clemson at the 2020 National Championship Game, was selected by the team with the first selection in the NFL Draft. This was the first time the Bengals held the No. 1 pick in the draft since they selected quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

The Bengals only managed to win two games last season, giving them the worst record in the NFL. Burrow will now be tasked with the monumental goal of turning around the franchise.

“We feel very comfortable with him as a prospect,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor told ESPN earlier this week. “We talked to a lot of guys but certainly formed a really good relationship with Joe and been really impressed with everything we’ve seen from him.”

“He’s as advertised,” he continued. “All the things we heard about him, we saw from our first meeting with him and as we’ve gotten to know him over the last couple weeks.”

Burrow also has the unique title of being the first person to be selected in an entirely “virtual” version of the NFL Draft, which was implemented after the league decided to cancel its original plans to host the event in Las Vegas due to coronavirus restrictions.

Along with his championship season at LSU in 2019, Burrow was also named the winner of the Heisman Trophy. He was awarded the honor with a record 2,608 points and 841 first-place votes — which gave him 90.7 percent of all first-place votes available.

Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
| Credit: Alika Jenner/Getty

After winning the Heisman in December, Burrow gave an impassioned speech about growing up in poverty in Athens, Ohio.

“Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” Burrow shared during his acceptance speech. “There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot.”

“I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens county that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here, too,” he added.

Within days of his speech, people around the country began to contribute to the Athens County Food Pantry thanks to a Facebook Fundraiser that was set up in honor of Burrow. It has since raised more than $510,000.

Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
| Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty

“Joey inspired a generation of children in Appalachian Ohio,” Athens resident Will Drabold, who started the fundraiser, wrote on the page.

“Some of these kids don’t get toys for Christmas,” he added. Some get their food from the food pantry. You cannot beat the power of role models and inspiration in their lives. None of these kids, who are in the same classrooms Joey was, will ever forget this.”

Athens is located about three hours from where Burrow will be playing at Paul Brown Stadium.