Urban Meyer discusses his relationship and experience with Joe Burrow

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When the Jaguars take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, there will be a familiar face on the opposite sideline for coach Urban Meyer. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who the team took with the first overall pick in 2020, was most known for his legendary final season at LSU. But before transferring to the Bayou, Burrow started his career under Meyer at Ohio State.

Burrow wasn’t exactly a high-profile recruit. He was a four-star prospect, according to the 247Sports Composite, but a relatively low-rated one. Meyer discussed Burrow’s development, both at Ohio State and after.

“He has arguably one of the best mindsets I’ve ever seen in an athlete, his toughness,” Meyer said. “He’ll tell you he was highly recruited, he wasn’t. He comes from an incredible family. It’s just a very, very close family, a football family. But his mindset, even when he struggled early in his career, the thing you can count on is that guy’s tough as nails, [is a] competitor, refused to lose at anything in the offseason. Then you started seeing this younger body start to develop. Even he was shocked by it. I remember talking to him. I mean all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Woah.'”

Burrow was in the running to be the Buckeyes’ starter heading into Meyer’s final season in 2018, but that job was eventually lost to another future first-round pick in Dwayne Haskins.

“When [former Ohio State QB] Dwayne [Haskins] came in, he was going to play and then he broke his hand about a week before the season,” Meyer said. “That was his throwing hand I believe too, and he was out for quite a while. Then Dwayne came in and started doing well and then went into that rivalry game and won the game for us. We had open competition his, whatever year it was, and it was close. Obviously, Dwayne beat him out. Dwayne threw for 50 touchdowns and then the second year had one of the best years in college football history. But we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve talked to him a couple of times about Trevor [Lawrence]. Our relationship is fantastic and he’s fantastic.”

He missed a good portion of his rookie season with a torn ACL, but Burrow is off to a solid start in Year 2. He has 640 yards with seven touchdowns and four picks, and he’s completing over 70% of his passes. More importantly, he has guided the Bengals to a 2-1 start, and they’ll look to make that start even better on Thursday night against a Jags defense that looked better last week but struggled mightily in the first two games.

Limiting Burrow through the air will be a major priority for Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen, but at least the man in charge in Jacksonville has quite a bit of familiarity with the opposing quarterback.