COLUMBUS, Ohio—Ohio State quarterbackJoe Burrow shares a few common links with MitchellTrubisky.
Trubiskywon Ohio Mr. Football Award honors while playing for Mentor High School in2012. Burrow won the same award two yearslater at Athens. Now,Trubiskyis a legit candidate to be a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and there are rumors the Cleveland Browns are interested at No. 1.
Will Burrow be in the same spot in 2019? That's a big leap,considering he's in a heated battle to be Ohio State's backup quarterback with Dwayne Haskinsin 2017. Burrow, who figures to play behind J.T. Barrett for at least one more year, will likely have to wait even one more year thanTrubiskyto prove himself on the field.
If the last two spring games offer any hints, however, then Burrow should be just fine. He passed for 196 yards and three TDs in 2016 then piled on 262 yards and three TDs in last Saturday's game. Remember, this is the same quarterback Ohio State running back Mike Weber compared to Tom Brady earlier this spring.
"I know I can play here now," Burrow saidafter the spring game. "Now I need toplay at a high level and keep getting better and better.Following J.T.; getting in a great relationship with the twoyoung guys in the room and just keep on from there."
When pressed about waiting his turn and how long he should wait however, Burrow slipped into an automated answer straight out of "Happy Gilmore."
"I'm just going with the flow, doing what I can do, grinding every day, getting better," Burrow said. "That's where my focus has been."
Burrow repeated that line a few times to the point where he finally laughed. At this point, he's not giving away anything yet still shows a presence on and off the field. There's a confidence there that will show up on the field,whenever Burrow gets a chance to start.
Remember, this is the same quarterback who threw 63 TDs and just two interceptions in his senior year at high school. That's a known-by-heart statistic around central Ohio, where Ohio State's backup quarterback always has a high approval rating, especially who wears an all-time Homecoming king title like Mr. Football. The last Mr. Football to start for the Buckeyes was Bobby Hoying (1990).
Trubiskyopted for a different careerpath at North Carolina. He played behind Marquise Williams in 2014 and 2015, but he did see more than just sparse game action. In 2016,Trubiskypassed for 3,748 yards, 30 TDs and just six interceptions. Now, he's a first-round prospect and could be the first quarterback taken in the draft.
Mike Farrell, national director of Rivals.com, sawTrubisky'spatience as a positive.
"The impatience of the kids is something you can never gauge," Farrell told SN on Jan. 31."I think the ones that wait their turn, like MitchTrubisky, should be the example that kids look at and say, 'I've learned the system for a couple years, I know I've had to wait my turn but once it is my time to shine I'm going to be fully-prepared.'"
Whether or not Burrow transfers might hinge on the battle for the backup quarterback job in fall camp and into 2018, but it's clear he could start for several otherschools in the FBS. Burrow could just as easily be a Heisman Trophy contender if he starts for the Buckeyes. It's an interesting arc to follow.Ohio State coach Urban Meyer wasn't ready to assess who was in the lead for the backup job after the spring game,where Haskins also threw three TDs.
Burrow, meanwhile, showed a touch with the deep ball and clearly looks comfortable under new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.
"The game really slowed down for me," Burrow said. "I see everything that's going on with the defense, know the offense way better the ins and out. I would say the game has slowed down tremendously for me."
He's competing in the shadows for now, but that jump to the next level could happen quickly. That's how it went withTrubisky. Burrow likely will get one —maybe two —years to show he's that kind of talent who could successs at the next level.
When will see Burrow? Don't ask him that. He's focused on continuing the preparation through the summer.
"That's what I'm focused on," Burrow lined up. "Getting better myself, getting better relationships with the quarterbacks."
Another non-answer, when we all know the answer. Burrow can play, and he'll be ready when the time comes to show that as a starter. The ceiling is aTrubisky-likeperformance, and the roof is a NFL future after the next two years.
Don't besurprised when he accomplishesboth, no matter when that happens.