NEW YORK — Born into a family of Cornhuskers and raised in the Buckeye state, Joe Burrow left his roots behind and became a Heisman Trophy winner at LSU.
The quarterback won the Heisman on Saturday night in a record landslide vote, becoming the first LSU player to bring college football's most prestigious award back to Baton Rouge in 60 years.
Burrow received 2,608 points and 841 first-place votes, a record 90.7% of all the first-place votes available. Burrow also set a record for percentage of points available received with 93.8, breaking the mark set by Troy Smith of Ohio State in 2006. Burrow was named on 95.5% of all ballots, breaking the record of 95.2% set by Oregon's Marcus Mariota in 2014.
Burrow's margin of victory of 1,846 broke the record of 1,750 set by O.J. Simpson of Southern California in 1968.
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was second with 762 points. Quarterback Justin Fields of Ohio State was third and defensive end Chase Young of Ohio State was fourth. .
Burrow transferred last year to LSU from Ohio State, where he was a sparingly used reserve. After finishing strong for the Tigers in 2018, he broke out this season, setting a Southeastern Conference record with 48 touchdown passes and leading top-ranked LSU to its first College Football Playoff appearance.
“All my teammates have supported me, welcomed me with open arms. Kid from Ohio, come down the Bayou and welcomed me as brothers,” Burrow said in his acceptance speech at the PlayStation in Times Square.
The Tigers will face No. 4 Oklahoma and Hurts on Dec. 28 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
Burrow, a senior, blended perfectly with first-year LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady and produced the most prolific offense in school history. Playing in a version of offense similar to the one Drew Brees runs for the New Orleans Saints, Burrow has shown accuracy and quick decision-making similar to his childhood idol. With at least one game left, Burrow has passed for 4,715 yards and is completing 77.9% percent of his passes, on pace to set an NCAA record.
The kid who grew up thinking he might play basketball in college has blossomed into the possible first overall pick in April's NFL draft, and LSU's second Heisman winner.
Halfback Billy Cannon won the Heisman for LSU in 1959. The 60-year gap between Heisman victories for LSU is the largest for any school with multiple winners.
Burrow is the 17th quarterback to win the Heisman since 2000, and the third straight QB to win the award after transferring, joining Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018).
Burrow's dad, Jimmy Burrow, was a longtime college football coach who played at Nebraska. He spent the last 14 years of his career as defensive coordinator at Ohio University in Athens before retiring to spend his weekends in Louisiana watching his son play.
Joe Burrow grew up in The Plains, Ohio. His older brothers both played at Nebraska.
His father's old boss, Ohio coach Frank Solich, hoped the youngest Burrow boy would play for the Bobcats, but Joe took off in high school. Burrow was Mr. Football in Ohio in 2014 and signed with Ohio State the next year.
In Columbus, Ohio, Burrow joined an already loaded quarterback room with J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller. Burrow redshirted as a freshman and played a little in 2016.
In 2017, he was competing with Dwayne Haskins to be Barrett's backup and broke his hand in preseason practice. That opened the door for Haskins to position himself as the quarterback of the future for Ohio State.
After spring practice in 2018, having already graduated from Ohio State, Burrow decided to transfer. LSU wasn't his first choice, but Tigers coach Ed Orgeron recruited the quarterback hard. Burrow was interested in Nebraska, but that interest wasn't reciprocated. Cincinnati seemed like a possibility, playing for former Ohio State assistant coach Luke Fickell.
A visit to LSU, with its 100,000-seat stadium, rich history of winning, southern hospitality and SEC competition, won over Burrow. Orgeron has called Burrow his most important recruit and maybe the most important recruit in the history of LSU football.
That might have sounded like hyperbole a few months ago.