If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely seen this infamous tweet:
“Competition breeds excellence.”
— Steve Ensminger (@SteveEnsminger) May 15, 2018
It was the talk of football Twitter – both NFL and college – for a 48-hour period in May.
The goal of the misguided graphic, sent out by LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, was to attract recruits to play for a storied program that has bred NFL-caliber quarterbacks for the past two decades.
Instead, Ensminger unwittingly unleashed an onslaught of unforgiving jokes and ruthless memes at the expense of the university whose talent at the quarterback position hasn’t translated to the NFL particularly well.
Thankfully for Ensminger and the Tigers, the days of having to rely on John David Booty’s big brother and Matt “No, Not That One” Mauck as campus ambassadors could soon be over in 2018.
That’s because Ohio State graduate transfer QB Joe Burrow has quickly turned heads during his brief time in Baton Rouge.
Burrow, a 2014 Ohio Mr. Football Award winner, transferred to LSU with the intention of winning the starting job. And after serving three seasons as a backup for the Buckeyes, it sounds like he might be the favorite heading into summer camp.
During SEC Media Days in Atlanta, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron spoke about Burrow’s potential and his recruitment process.
“…As you know we didn’t sign a quarterback in 2018, and Bill Busch was on the staff at Ohio State, and when Joe Burrow’s name came up, Bill gave him an outstanding recommendation,” said Orgeron.
“And as we researched, Joe was exactly the type of quarterback that we felt that could come in and compete at LSU. So, those things were very important to us in the recruitment of Joe Burrow.”
While LSU’s staff was familiar with Joe’s father Jimmy, the long-time University of Ohio defensive coordinator, they learned a lot about Joe during their first quality sit-down.
“We went out to dinner the first night, and then the next day, we may have had a three-and-a-half to four-hour meeting on football, and Joe was excellent in there,” shared Orgeron. “And I think it’s the first time his dad had heard him talk football.”
“Steve (Ensminger) was running the meeting, obviously, and going through some plays with Joe, some installations that we do, some things that he did at Ohio State. And he was excellent.”
Even though Burrow only played in 10 games during his career at OSU, Orgeron quickly became enamored with the possibility of having the 6’3”, 214-pounder under center for the Tigers.
“…He can be a pro quarterback. He can run the football, extend plays if he has to, he’s very tough,” observed Orgeron.
“He’s a leader. Overall he’s very smart, throws in anticipation and accuracy. We felt that he would add to the quarterback competition that we already have.”
Foster Moreau, Burrow’s new TE, echoed his head coach’s sentiments while speaking with reporters at SEC Media Days.
“I’ve seen some experience and some confidence and a different idea of how to play the quarterback position,” Moreau spoke of Burrow.
“He’s really driven the competition this summer, and he’s been a hot name on everyone’s mind. There’s almost not a time that I don’t walk in and see a different quarterback throwing in the indoor on their off time, and he really brings competition.”
Burrow’s competitiveness has even reached the defensive side of the ball for LSU, with the QB and All-SEC LB Devin White agreeing to a wager ahead of this upcoming season.
“You know, I like to run my mouth a lot at practice,” White divulged. “And I told him, ‘I’m going to catch a pick at this fall camp.’ He said, ‘You will not catch a pick on me. I will not throw any interceptions.’ He’s very confident. So, I was like, ‘Put some money where your mouth is.'”
Burrow, who hasn’t thrown an interception in a live game since his time at Athens High School in The Plains, Ohio, did just that.
“He told me, ‘If you catch an interception, I’ll give you $100,'” White said. “And I said, ‘What if I don’t catch one?’ And he said, ‘Then you’re good. I’ll be good just knowing I haven’t thrown a pick.’ So I said, ‘OK, cool, let’s do it.'”
If Burrow wins the bet this summer, he just might be named LSU’s starting QB.
And he’ll be that much closer to joining Rohan Davey and Danny Etling on that ridiculous infographic.