American Football

Jason Kelce tried to recruit Joe Burrow to UC


Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Joe Burrow could have been a Cincinnati mainstay before he ever put on a Bengals uniform.

After Joe Burrow decided to transfer from Ohio State, current Philadelphia Eagles center and former University of Cincinnati Bearcats standout Jason Kelce tried to convince the quarterback he should move just a couple hours south to finish his collegiate career at UC, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Haadiza Ogwude.

Kelce, and his brother, Travis Kelce, who both had prolific college careers at UC, told Rich Eisen on their “New Heights” podcast that someone gave the center Burrow’s number and asked him if he would help recruit the quarterback for the Bearcats.

Kelce said he sent Burrow a text, but didn’t want to be pushy.

“I didn’t wanna push him or anything,” Kelce said.

The Bearcats were hoping the link between Burrow and then Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell, who was previously coaching at Ohio State during Burrow’s tenure there, would help bring the quarterback to the Queen City. Fickell has since moved on to become the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers.

Of course, it all worked out in the end for both Burrow, LSU and UC. Burrow went to LSU where he won the National Championship by having what many consider the greatest single season for a quarterback in NCAA history. He also played alongside Ja’Marr Chase, forging their relationship that would follow them to Cincinnati. In his final season at LSU, Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns.

He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and was selected by the Bengals to be their new franchise quarterback. Chase followed a year later and helped the Bengals get to the Super Bowl and the AFC Championship game a year later.

For UC, Burrow passing opened the door for Desmond Ridder, who helped lead the Bearcats to become the first non-power five school to force their way into the college football playoff. They lost in the first round to Alabama but made history nonetheless. Ridder was selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

Had Burrow decided against LSU, who knows where he or the Bengals would be right now. In the end, the Queen City still got her quarterback, even if that means it was a couple years later than it could have been.

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