After endearing himself to LSU fans with his leadership, toughness and stellar play, Joe Burrow took the first step toward what perhaps will be college football immortality Monday afternoon when he was named a finalist for the 85th Heisman Memorial Trophy.

Finalists named by the Heisman Trophy Trust, the presenter of the award, are, in alphabetical order, Burrow; Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields; Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts; and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.

Burrow and his fellow finalists will travel to New York later this week for the announcement of the winner, which will come Saturday night at the conclusion of a one-hour show to be televised by ESPN at 7 p.m.

If he wins, Burrow would become just the second honoree from LSU — joining Billy Cannon, the 1959 recipient — as the only Tigers to claim the iconic bronze trophy that was first awarded back in 1935.

While this year’s winner won’t be revealed until Saturday night, Burrow has been the Heisman front-runner since mid-October after leading LSU to home wins over No. 7 Florida and No. 9 Auburn.

Then, on Nov. 9, he threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns to help snap an eight-game losing streak to Alabama with an emotional 46-41 win over the third-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

Burrow became such an overwhelming favorite after that game that most Las Vegas oddsmakers took the Heisman Trophy off the board after he dropped to 1-to-30.

In shattering most school single-season and several career passing records this season, Burrow has led the Tigers into the four-team College Football Playoff for the first time since its inception in 2014.

He has already broken Southeastern Conference records with 4,715 passing yards and 48 passing touchdowns while completing 77.9% of his 439 attempts — which puts him on pace to break the NCAA’s single-season record of 76.7% for passing accuracy.

But the fifth-year transfer from Ohio State and Athens, Ohio, native isn’t finished yet with at least one game to play.

No. 1 LSU, which improved to 13-0 and claimed its first SEC title since 2011 with a 37-10 bashing of then-No. 4 Georgia on Saturday, will play No. 4 Oklahoma in the CFP semifinals on Dec. 28 in Atlanta.

With a win, LSU would play in the CFP championship game against the winner of the other semifinal between defending champion Clemson and Ohio State on Jan. 13 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Burrow becomes only the second LSU player to be named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, college football’s highest individual honor.

The Downtown Athletic Club, the original presenter of the award, began naming finalists to attend the live announcement of the winner in 1982.

Prior to 1982, only the winner went to New York for the ceremony.

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Since then, the only finalist from LSU to be invited to New York was defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who finished fifth in the 2011 voting the year Baylor's Robert Griffin III won.

Cannon, who also was third in 1958 before winning the next year, and four other Tigers have finished in the top five in the voting for college football’s highest honor.

Along with Cannon and Mathieu, Jerry Stovall was the runner up to Oregon State’s Terry Baker in 1962, Bert Jones was fourth in 1972 (Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska) and Charles Alexander was fifth in 1978 (Billy Sims, Oklahoma).

Heisman finalists

(in alphabetical order)

JOE BURROW

Position: Quarterback

School: LSU

Class: Senior

2019 stats/notes: 342-of-439 passing, 4,715 yards, 48 TDs, 6 INTs; 289 rushing yards, 3 TDs; 5,004 total yards. … Has led an LSU offense that leads the FBS in total yards with 554.4 per game and is second in passing with 386.8 yards a game. … Burrow leads the FBS in completion percentage (77.9%), TD passes (48) and points responsible for (308), and is second in passing efficiency (201.5).

JUSTIN FIELDS

Position: Quarterback

School: Ohio State

Class: Sophomore

2019 stats/notes: 208-of-308 passing, 2,953 yards, 40 TDs, 1 INT; 471 rushing yards, 10 TDs; 3,424 total yards. … Georgia transfer became an instant starter, directing a solid offense that tops the FBS with 48.7 points a game and is fifth in total offense at 531.0 yards a game. … Ranks third nationally with 40 passing TDs and is third in points responsible for with 300.

JALEN HURTS

Position: Quarterback

School: Oklahoma

Class: Senior

2019 stats/notes: Has had a massive season with 4,889 total yards and 50 TDs in his first season at OU. … Has 3,634 passing yards and 32 scores and 1,255 rushing yards and 18 TDs, and is 3.5 yards shy of averaging a double-triple with 279.5 passing yards and 96.5 rushing yards a game. … OU is second in the country in total offense at 554.2 yards per game.

CHASE YOUNG

Position: Defensive end

School: Ohio State

Class: Junior

2019 stats/notes: The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder is the unquestioned leader of one of the nation’s best defenses, which ranks second in total yards allowed (247.6 yards a game) and is third in scoring defense (12.5 points a game) and sacks (3.9 per game). … Individually, Young tops the FBS in two categories with 16½ sacks and 21 tackles for loss and is third with six forced fumbles.

Sheldon Mickles

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com