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LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow Knew He'd Be Great in 2019, But Didn't Think Going No. 1 Overall Was a Possibility

Burrow thought of himself as a third or fourth round pick before 2019 season
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Joe Burrow knew he’d have a great senior season. How could he not with all of the extra time put into making sure LSU was prepared for a national championship run?

It's a story that's been told ad nauseam, how he and the LSU skill players would stay after spring practice and come in on Saturdays during the summer to perfect their route timing. 

“And just the whole year, we were so in sync," Burrow told Sports Illustrated over the weekend. The receivers knew exactly when the ball was gonna be there, where it was gonna be, and I knew exactly where they were gonna be and when they were gonna be there. It was really a special year with some special guys.”

But with all of the prep and subsequent success Burrow had during the 2019 season, he didn't expect that being the No. 1 overall pick was in the realm of possibility.

Burrow spoke with Sports Illustrated writer Albert Breer on Saturday, telling Breer heading into the season if somebody had told him he was going to be the No. 1 pick come Thursday's draft, he wouldn't have believed them.

“Absolutely not,” Burrow said. “I knew that I was gonna play really well my senior year. And I was going into it thinking I was one of the best guys in the country. But I know what recruiting is, and I know how the draft is. It’s always interesting seeing where people go and seeing who ends up panning out. So I knew I had a chance to be a really good pro. But I didn’t think I could do anything to get myself up to the No. 1 pick in the draft."

Well, setting countless NCAA and SEC records as part of a 5,671-yard,  60 touchdown season will skyrocket anyone's draft stock. His passing touchdowns set an NCAA record, his 76.3% completion percentage came in second all time and on Thursday, Burrow will become the second player ever (Cam Newton) to win the Heisman Trophy, a national championship and be drafted No. 1 overall.

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“I expected to have the kind of season that I had. But I didn’t expect for it to propel me to the No. 1 pick. I thought I was gonna go third, fourth round.”

With all of that success, fear does set in for the 23-year-old, soon-to-be first round pick, but not because of the challenges he faces transitioning to the NFL.

Burrow works as hard as anyone but the thought that somebody could be working harder is what scares Burrow.

“I know that something I’m always scared of, that old saying, there’s always someone out there that’s getting up earlier and working harder," Burrow said. "That’s something that I’ve always been kind of fearful of, that someone’s out there working harder than me.”

That's what keeps him motivated because from all of the endorsements and all of the national attention, at the end of the day, Burrow just wants to play football.

It's a year that changed Burrow's life forever, as he went from a day two draft and stash prospect to one of the more hyped players coming out of college we've ever seen.

"In the past, you hear all the things wrong with your game, everything that you need to improve on to get to where you need to get to," Burrow said. "And now you hear everyone telling you how good you are. You just have to keep the same mentality of trying to prove yourself every single day. But it’s a lot of easier when you have people telling you how bad you are than when people are telling you how good you are.