Joe Burrow says he's absolutely floored by the nearly $500,000 worth of donations to his hometown food bank ... but tells TMZ Sports he's already thinking of other ways to help.
23-year-old Burrow delivered a powerful speech after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday ... bringing national attention to some very serious issues.
“Coming from Southeast Ohio it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average," Burrow said.
"There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot and I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here too."
America was so inspired by Joe's words ... thousands of people donated more than $458k to the Athens County Food Pantry.
Fresh off winning the most desired award in college football, Burrow joined the guys on the "TMZ Sports" TV show(airs nightly on FS1) ... where he says he was shocked his words kick-started a half-million-dollar campaign.
"It's been crazy. I didn't expect that at all," Burrow said. "I was just speaking from the heart and just trying to bring attention to an area that kinda gets lost in the mud."
"The outpour of support has been unbelievable and people have reached out to me and told me stories about how much that food bank in that area has meant to them."
Joe is now one of the most famous athletes in the country ... and he says he's starting to realize how big of a difference he can make away from the football field.
"I'm starting to realize the impact that I can have on the area. I'm trying to think of more things that I can do. The fact that there's gonna be food for people that might have been hungry otherwise means a lot to me."
Burrow -- the #1 overall pick in many mock drafts -- also talked to the guys about only being a 3-star recruit out of high school ... and breaks down why so many scouts dropped the ball.