LSU Football, 2019-20 Corbett Award
After turning in what is arguably the best season ever for a collegiate quarterback in 2019, LSU star Joe Burrow was selected unanimously as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s James J. Corbett Award winner. The honor is presented to the top amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana.
Burrow, a native of Athens, Ohio, set the NCAA FBS record with 60 touchdown passes while leading the nation with 5,671 passing yards (an LSU and SEC record and the third most all-time) and narrowly missing setting the FBS record for completion percentage – he finished at 76.3 percent as he completed 402 of 527 passes (Texas’ Colt McCoy set the mark at 76.7 percent in 2008).
Most impressively, he led the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 season including a dominant 42-25 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship victory over defending champion Clemson. Burrow was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship game after throwing for 463 yards and five touchdowns.
“I still can’t believe how everything came together for me at LSU,” Burrow said. “I had the opportunity to join an amazing team and together we reached and surpassed all of our goals. The state of Louisiana embraced me along the way and became a second home to me. To be recognized as the top athlete in the state is a tremendous honor and I want to thank my teammates and coaches as well as everyone who supported me.”
“I’ve never been around a player like Joe” said LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, “and obviously he’s very talented and he’s a leader, but day in and day out, he’s the same guy. Very focused, focused on the task at hand. It’s about execution and winning and being great…The guy is a perfectionist. It does rub off on our football team. He’s an outstanding leader.”
For the season, Burrow earned nearly every national honor possible – he won the Heisman Trophy, the AP National Player of the Year award, the Manning Award, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Davey O’Brien Award and the Johnny Unitas Award as well as being a unanimous First-Team All-American and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Despite only playing two seasons at LSU after transferring from Ohio State, Burrow completely re-wrote the Tiger record books. He owns school career records for total yards (9,332), touchdown passes (76), completion percentage (.685), passing yards per game (305.9), 300-yard passing games (15), 400-yard passing games (4) and touchdowns responsible for (88: 12 rush, 76 pass). He finished his career having thrown for 300 yards in nine consecutive games and having completed 20 or more passes in 18 straight games, two more LSU records.
“Something that I’ve always been scared of is, that saying, ‘There’s always someone out there that’s getting up earlier and working harder,'” Burrow said prior to the NFL Draft, in which he was selected No. 1. “I’ve always tried to be that other person, when people say that, I try to be the guy that they’re talking about.”
Burrow’s sensational national championship performance followed a remarkable Playoff Semifinal effort in LSU’s 63-28 obliteration of Oklahoma. He completed 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards and an SEC-record tying seven touchdowns while adding a rushing TD. His combined numbers for the two CFP games were 60-of-88 (.682) for 956 yards and 12 touchdowns, as well as a pair of rushing scores.
“As soon as we walked off the field, my junior year after the bowl game, I knew exactly what was gonna happen [in 2019],” Burrow said. “We didn’t focus on winning the national championship. We focused on dominating every single team that we played. And I think that was the key to our success.”
“[Burrow means] the world [to me],” Orgeron said after LSU won the national title. “He’s one of the greatest players in LSU history. He’s done so much for the state of Louisiana and LSU. We are so grateful for Joe Burrow.”
Other finalists for the honor included Burrow’s LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson and UL-Lafayette’s Kevin Dotson. Chase, the Greater New Orleans Amateur Male Athlete of the Year, set LSU records for touchdown receptions (20) and receiving yards (1,780) as he earned the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. Robertson earned All-America honors at defensive back after anchoring the Bulldog defense with 60 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five interceptions before being drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders. Dotson earned All-America recognition on the offensive line after helping the Ragin’ Cajuns rank third nationally in yards per carry (6.28), fourth nationally in rushing touchdowns (42) and sixth nationally in rushing yards per game (257.4). He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers.