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Joe Burrow announced his intent to transfer on May 8.

The latest on Ohio State grad transfer Joe Burrow’s decision, and how it affects LSU

Sam Spiegelman

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There has been no definitive word on the Joe Burrow situation yet, but in reading the tea leaves over the past couple of days, there are some glaring conclusions to be made.

Heading into Burrow’s visit, there was a good deal of confidence in Baton Rouge about the chances of landing the Ohio State graduate transfer. Even before the quarterback went public about his intent to transfer from Columbus, Ohio, sources close to the program informed SEC Country that LSU was one of the early leaders.

Burrow’s connection to Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, the former defensive coordinator at Ohio State, is nothing to look past. I believe that relationship came very much into play when Burrow and his family visited Cincinnati last Thursday. The proximity to his home in Athens, Ohio, is also a critical fact to be considered.

Burrow stayed one day in Cincinnati before taking a three-day official visit to LSU. It’s been well-documented that the entire coaching staff spent hours with the sought-after quarterback, talking purely football. By the time the Burrow family returned home to Ohio on Sunday, no decision had been made.

As of Monday, sources on the LSU side told SEC Country that Burrow was leaning toward Cincinnati. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given his relationship with Fickell and playing college football close to home.

A source who spoke with Burrow used the term “nervous” to describe the thought of playing in Baton Rouge. Hence, that’s why I have emphasized Cincinnati as the favorite in this race. Burrow doesn’t have too many relationships with current Tigers players, so it would not only be a major football transition but a social one as well. Meanwhile, he has several connections at Cincinnati, including some staff members and players on the team.

Things have taken a unique twist as of Tuesday when Husker Online’s Sean Callahan reported that Burrow will make a third visit to North Carolina this week. The thought here is that after making visits to Cincinnati and LSU over the weekend, that an additional visit would lessen the likelihood that Burrow would pick the Bearcats or Tigers.

If Burrow feels the need to head to Chapel Hill, N.C., then that is a clear-cut indicator that he isn’t overly confident in his decision to go to Cincinnati or to LSU. If the Bearcats were in fact the team to beat, going to North Carolina is a major twist that wouldn’t seem to bode well for the teams that hosted Burrow last week.

In talking to several people close to the LSU football program, there is a feel Burrow will play his college ball elsewhere in 2018. Obviously, that seemingly rubbed some of the quarterbacks in the room the wrong way. I don’t think it affects Myles Brennan or Lowell Narcisse, though. Justin McMillan already has graduated and could follow a similar path as Burrow should he elect to take his talents elsewhere before the start of the season.

If anything, some inside the building believe Burrow visiting LSU last weekend could be a motivating force for the quarterbacks already on the roster. Of course, outsiders perceive it differently, but coach Ed Orgeron is tasked with winning — and doing so quickly.

Quarterback is a polarizing position in Baton Rouge more than most college towns in the country and getting it right is integral to the coach’s success. Whether LSU can somehow pull off winning the Joe Burrow sweepstakes or it lights a fire under Brennan, Narcisse or McMillan is ultimately a victory.

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