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‘It’s the people’: Why Joe Burrow’s connection to Ohio means more than ever ahead of NFL Draft

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Joe Burrow dipped into 2 powerhouse college football programs in Ohio State and LSU– winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship at the latter– and is predicted to be chosen No. 1 in the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday.

In spite of all those achievements, it’s Burrow’s connection to southeast Ohio that continues to specify the quarterback’s tradition. He revealed that once again today by connecting to Lowe’s workers in Athens, Ohio for a series of video talks. For Burrow, it’s the close-to-home- call that still means the most.

“It’s people like the people that I played against and played with in high school,” Burrow informed SportingNews “There is just a certain toughness about this area of the state and the country. It’s a unique area that not a lot of people get to experience. People always ask me, ‘What was it like growing up in Athens?’ I don’t know what to tell them.”

MORE: How Burrow’s Heisman speech raised thousands for Ohio charity

Burrow picks up a second, then discovers his go-to response.

“It’s the people,” he stated. “They are so loyal and so willing to give. I just want to repay as many people as I can from this area who helped me get to this moment.”

That’s not simply a line; Burrow lives by the message. The spread of COVID-19 has actually led to a shelter-in-place order inOhio Burrow has actually remained home in Athens for the past month to get ready for the NFL Draft, and he motivated homeowners to stay home.

On Monday, he took time out once again to talk with Lowe’s workers in the location. Burrow spoken about one discussion in specific with Jason Lowery, a military veteran, single dad and close-by Glousternative For Burrow, nevertheless, Lowery is another member of that southeast Ohio family.

“He told me stories about when he watched me in high school with his sons,” Burrow stated. “I think it brightened his day a little bit, and it definitely brightened mine.”

Burrow’s name appears regularly in Ohio, provided the possibility the Bengals may utilize their No. 1 choice to draft him. That’s the next drop in a journey that began at Athens High School, where he assembled a 37 -4 record as a starter from 2012-14 He passed for 63 goals and simply 2 interceptions in 2014, leading the Bulldogs to the Division III state championship game.

Burrow won the Mr. Football Award– an award he unapologetically compares to the Heisman Trophy he won at LSU in2019 He remembers the looks he saw at media day for the College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 11 when he assessed that high school profession.

“Some of the people were probably like, ‘What is this guy talking about? Why is he talking about his high school team and a state championship?'” Burrow stated. “But it did mean that much to me. It’s like that when you have really, really good teams — the ones that can win championships. It just feels different. It’s hard to explain, but it felt the exact same in a different place (at LSU). It all felt the same.”

Burrow moved from Ohio State after the 2018 season and, after an up-and-down first season at LSU, took off to college football fame with the assistance of death game organizer Joe Brady, worked with by Orgeron from the Saints. Burrow led LSU to a 15 -0 record with 5,671 death yards and 60 passing goals to 6 interceptions. He broke numerous FBS single-season records and had a memorable 2-game run in the College Football Playoff where he represented 1,035 overall yards of offense.

“That led Joe Burreaux” to ending up being a celeb in Baton Rouge, La. He credits the capability to make that shift far from home to his high school days in Athens. It wasn’t practically being a small-town quarterback.

“Our school was very diverse,” he stated. “Not so much racially but socioeconomically. I got a lot of practice connecting to a lot of different people, and that helped me on my journey. As a quarterback, you have to be the leader. You have to be able to connect, and I got practice with that at a very young age.”

That socioeconomic conscience triggered Burrow to concentrate on southeast Ohio– and the need to assistance others– in his Heisman Trophy speech. More than $500,000 in contributions put into the Athens County Food Kitchen later. For Burrow, that was recognition in terms of understanding his fan base.

“I thought it showed exactly what I thought about this area and the area I was playing in,” Burrow stated. “Most of the donations came from people from this area who were financially able or people from Louisiana. It kind of validated what I thought about both areas. I have so much love for people for both areas.”

That’s what makes Burrow one of the more intriguing franchise quarterbacks in current memory.

MORE: How the Bengals can prevent destroying Burrow

He is precious by Ohio State fans regardless of never ever beginning a game there. He’s a cult hero at LSU on the level of Billy Cannon. He’ll be a franchise quarterback at the next level, entrusted with leading a team to the Super Bowl next.

Burrow will go to that next stop with the exact same method that made him effective from the start.

“Wherever you go, people are going to respect people that are loyal and people that work really, really hard,” Burrow stated. “Those are 2 things that I have actually constantly prided myself on. People gravitate towards that. I believe that kind of links all of us.

Burrow intends on keeping that connection in Athens, no matter where he lands in theNFL That tradition figures to grow with each season, too.

“We have some things I’ve been thinking about to give back to people in the area,” Burrow stated. “Obviously, there are donations that can be made, but things that are made impactful when I’m able to spend time with people in the area. The more I can do that, the more fulfilling this will be.”

Burrow partnered with Lowe’s, who is utilizing the 2020 NFL Draft to launch a brand-new campaign committed to the 300,000 associates that serve their neighborhoods. “I think it is great what they are doing,” Burrow stated. “I hope everyone appreciates it as much as me and my family do. I just wanted to show them some gratitude.”

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