Dec. 14 (UPI) -- LSU quarterback Joe Burrow claimed one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, winning the 2019 Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in New York City.
"My journey, I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world," Burrow said in his acceptance speech as he fought back tears of joy and sometimes choked up.
"I tried to leave a legacy of hard work and preparation and loyalty and dedication everywhere I go, and I am surrounded by such great people who make that easy," he said.
Burrow was a heavy favorite to take home the honor entering the ceremony at PlayStation Theater. He beat out Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts for the honor.
Hurts, Burrow and Fields have something else in common, other than being first-time Heisman Trophy finalists. They were all once backup quarterbacks at other schools before transferring to star on their current campuses.
Burrow backed up J.T. Barrett before being beaten for the Buckeyes' starting job by Dwayne Haskins. He transferred to LSU in May 2018. He completed just 57.8 percent of his throws and threw 16 touchdowns and five interceptions during the Tigers' 2018 campaign and entered the 2019 season off the Heisman Trophy radar.
He erupted for a nation-leading 48 touchdowns and was the most accurate quarterback in college football in 2019, completing 77.9 percent of his throws. Burrow also passed for 4,715 yards and threw just six interceptions while leading the Tigers to a No. 1 national ranking in 2019.
In his speech, Burrow paid tribute to LSU coach Ed Orgeron and became emotional talking about his roots -- an impoverished area in southeast Ohio.
"I'm up here for all these kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school," Burrow said, describing himself as "just a kid from Ohio coming down, chasing a dream."
He also paid tribute to the many former Heisman winners who sat behind him as he spoke, including Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Doug Flutie, Steve Spurrier, Ricky Williams and Archie Griffin -- the only two-time Heisman winner.
Burrow is the second Tigers player to win the Heisman Trophy, following Billy Cannon's win in 1959. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma own the record for Heisman Trophy winners, with seven apiece.
A quarterback has now claimed the Heisman Trophy in nine of the last 10 years.
Hurts lost his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa while playing at Alabama. He transferred to Oklahoma in January, replacing 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. Murray went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Tagovailoa finished second in the 2018 Heisman Trophy race.Fields, a Georgia transfer, completed 67.5 percent of his throws for 2,953 yards, a Big Ten leading 40 touchdowns and one interception this season for the Buckeyes. The sophomore quarterback also had 471 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
Young had a nation-leading 16.5 sacks, 44 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles and three passes defensed in 11 games for the Buckeyes.
Burrow also won the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards Thursday, honors given to the best player and best quarterback in college football. Tigers coach Ed Orgeron was named Home Depot Coach of the Year.
Young claimed the 2019 Bednarik Award, an honor given college football's best defensive player.
Burrow and Young are expected to be the first players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Fields isn't draft-eligible until the 2021 NFL Draft. Hurts is likely a borderline first or second round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Tigers take on Hurts' Sooners in the Peach Bowl at 4 p.m. EST Dec. 28 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The winner of that matchup faces either Ohio State or Clemson in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game at 8 p.m. EST Jan. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.