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Top college quarterbacks step up at NFL Combine

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said he’s “going to show up” if he’s selected by the woeful Bengals with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A dozen of the nation’s best college quarterbacks traded commanding huddles to commanding media interview podiums Tuesday at the NFL Combine. As always, the cream of the crop provided the day’s top stories.

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow quashed a rumor he would try to influence which team takes him by threatening not to play for certain clubs such as the Bengals, who own the No. 1 overall pick in the April 23 NFL Draft.

“Yeah, I’m not going to not play,” said Burrow, one of a group of quarterbacks who spoke to reporters ahead of on-field workouts this week. “I’m a ballplayer. Whoever takes me I’m going to show up.”


Joe Burrow led LSU to a national championship.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

On Monday, the signal-callers took their physical measurements and also underwent medical testing in preparation for Thursday’s on-field drills. Their informal meetings with team personnel began as soon as they arrived in Indianapolis, though formal interviews will take place later in the week.

Three quarterbacks — Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Utah State’s Jordan Love, and Oregon State’s Jake Luton — said they had met with the Patriots.

“I’m excited to meet with them a little bit more,” said Fromm, who said that his first interview involved some football talk and some “life” talk.

Fromm and Love both could be selected toward the end of the first round, while Luton is more likely to be a late-round pick. Love is a high-caliber athlete with size, mobility, and a big arm whose decision-making sometimes has been questioned. Fromm, more methodical and efficient though less athletic, gave a Tom Brady-like response to a question about his ability to make the right reads on the field, saying he prides himself on finding the “answers” to what he sees on the field quickly. He said he has high hopes for his testing this week.


“For me, I think it’s just being the best me that I can be. I’m not the tallest and I’m not the fastest,” Fromm said. “I know that I’m not going to go out and run any 4.2s. I’m trying to hone in and give the best that I can. I want to be a quick as possible and I want to throw the ball around as good as I can.”

Love’s game is less comparable to Brady’s but he said he would enjoy the challenge of succeeding Brady in New England.

“Those are some big shoes to fill, but that’s the job of a quarterback,” Love said. “Step in and fill those shows, and that’s why we’re here.”

Love checked in at 6 feet 4 inches and 224 pounds, while his hand size was measured at 10½ inches, putting him at the top of the list of quarterbacks who probably got a boost from their measurements. Oregon’s Justin Herbert (6-6¼, 236 pounds, 10-inch hands) is also physically impressive, while Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, though much smaller, did well by hitting the 6-foot height mark with 10-inch hands.

There were plenty of players, though, expressing disdain for the hand-size debate, Burrow among them. Burrow, with 9-inch hands, sarcastically tweeted Monday after his measurements were taken he was “considering retirement after I was informed the football will be slipping out of my tiny hands.”

“These measurements, you can take so much from them,” Burrow said Tuesday. “If it’s a glaring issue on film with turnovers, yeah, it’s probably an issue. But I didn’t have a lot of fumbles or anything like that, so I just tried to make a little joke about it.”


Burrow also said he won’t be throwing or working out at the Combine, citing LSU’s postseason run that culminated on Jan. 13 with a 42-25 victory over Clemson in the CFP National Championship game.

“Everyone else has been training a lot longer, so I feel like I wouldn’t be able to put my best foot forward at the Combine. I wanted to wait until the pro day,” Burrow said.

Tua Tagovailoa speaks during a press conference at the combine on Tuesday.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Tagovailoa is still rehabbing from the season-ending hip dislocation he suffered in November that required surgery and will not be throwing this week. How teams evaluate Tagovailoa, who had been considered a potential No. 1 overall pick before he was injured, is one of the Combine’s major story lines.

Tagovailoa said he hasn’t decided if he will take part in Alabama’s pro day on March 9, also the last benchmark date in his rehab process. He will throw at his own pro day workout on April 9. He already has been throwing on his own but “nothing too crazy,” he said.

“This rehab process has been gradually getting up as far as workouts with what we’ve been doing,” Tagovailoa said. “Just strengthening all the parts around the hip, the glute, hamstring, quad. Just being able to be ready that once March 9 hits and we’re cleared to go, I’ll be able to do everything.”


Tagovailoa said he spent most of Monday at a local hospital for medical testing, arriving at 10 a.m. before being among the last to leave at 7:49 p.m. It was a long day, but Tagovailoa said he left feeling good because the news was “all positive.”

Nora Princiotti can be reached at nora.princiotti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @NoraPrinciotti.