NEW YORK (WCMH/AP) — Thanks to Joe Burrow’s Heisman speech, many families won’t go hungry this holiday season.
On Saturday, LSU quarterback, and Athens, Ohio native, Joe Burrow won the most prestigious award in college football; the Heisman trophy.
But it was his speech that has many people in his hometown talking.
“Coming from southeast Ohio it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average. There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot and I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here, too,” an emotional Burrow said during the ceremony.
As of Monday morning, over 1,300 people have almost exceeded the original goal of $50,000.
“When Joe Burrow mentioned how hungry the children of Athens were, I wanted to help in some way,” said Lois Young Stuckey, who launched a $5,000 fundraiser for the food pantry.
And Louisiana native Shelby Christian launched one of her own, which had exceeded its $5,000 goal as of Monday morning.
Athens Football tweeted out a thank you note to everyone who has started collecting money for southeast Ohio children.
In response to his speech, a fundraiser was set up for the Athens County Food Pantry. The goal was to raise $50,000. In one day, it has raised more than $70,000. And it continues to climb.
The quarterback won the Heisman on Saturday night in a record-breaking landslide, becoming the first LSU player to bring college football’s most prestigious award back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 60 years.
Burrow received 2,608 points and 841 first-place votes, a record 90.7% of all the first-place votes available. Burrow also set a record for percentage of points available received with 93.8, breaking the mark of 91.6% set by Troy Smith of Ohio State in 2006. Burrow was named on 95.5% of all ballots, breaking the record of 95.2% set by Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in 2014.
Burrow’s margin of victory of 1,846 points broke the record of 1,750 set by O.J. Simpson of Southern California in 1968.
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts was second with 762 points. Quarterback Justin Fields of Ohio State was third and defensive end Chase Young of Ohio State was fourth.
Burrow transferred last year to LSU from Ohio State, where he was a sparingly used reserve. After finishing strong for the Tigers in 2018, he broke out this season, setting a Southeastern Conference record with 48 touchdown passes and leading top-ranked LSU (13-0) to its first College Football Playoff appearance.
Burrow’s victory was a foregone conclusion, but after he was announced as the winner it still overwhelmed him.
“That’s the most I’ve cried in 23 years of living,” Burrow said later.
After hugging his parents and coaches, Burrow made his way to the stage inside the PlayStation Theater in Times Square. He started his acceptance speech, stopped and took 23 seconds to compose himself before rattling off the names of LSU’s other offensive players.
“All my teammates have supported me, welcomed me with open arms. Kid from Ohio, come down to the Bayou, and welcomed me as brothers,” Burrow said, with about two dozen former Heisman winners standing behind him on stage.
“What a special moment,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “I thought Joe handled everything first class. It’s the first time I’ve seen him get that emotional.”
The Tigers will face No. 4 Oklahoma and Hurts on Dec. 28 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
“I’m ready to get back to Baton Rouge and start practice on Monday,” Burrow said.
Burrow, a senior, blended perfectly with first-year LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady and produced the most prolific offense in school history. Playing in a version of the offense Drew Brees runs for the New Orleans Saints, Burrow has shown accuracy and quick decision-making similar to his childhood idol. With at least one game left, Burrow has passed for 4,715 yards and is completing 77.9% of his passes, on pace to set an NCAA record.
The kid who grew up thinking he might play college basketball has blossomed into the possible first overall pick in April’s NFL draft, and LSU’s second Heisman winner.
Halfback Billy Cannon won the Heisman for LSU in 1959. The 60-year gap between Heisman victories for LSU is the largest for any school with multiple winners.
Burrow is the 17th quarterback to win the Heisman since 2000, and the third straight QB to win the award after transferring, joining Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018).