Buckeyes Have Their Quarterback of Now, but the Future also Burns Bright

By Kyle Rowland on January 14, 2014 at 9:15a
The future.

John Thomas Barrett stood calmly in the middle of the Ohio State locker room in Sun Life Stadium. Moments earlier, Braxton Miller had thrown his second interception of the Orange Bowl, this time a game-ender. Steps away from Barrett, Miller was undergoing his own round of questioning from reporters, a post-game autopsy of sorts.

Is this really what Barrett wants? Well, yes. It’s what you sign up for when you go to Ohio State and it’s in the DNA of every competitor. His time won’t come next season – Miller is returning for his senior year – but Barrett, known as J.T., is the quarterback of the future for the Buckeyes, regardless of what the depth chart might tell you.

He came to Ohio State by way of Wichita Falls, Texas, an outpost to the west and equidistance from Dallas and Oklahoma City. Barrett was handpicked by Tom Herman – “Every day, he just helps me develop,” Barrett said – after a junior year that attracted assistant coaches from both coasts. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,521 yards and nine scores. 

Barrett was a top 100 recruit, rated as the third-best dual-threat quarterback in the nation and the No. 11 player in the state of Texas. He quickly committed to the Buckeyes when they offered him in April, 2012. But he wasn’t able to build on his stupendous junior season after he shredded his knee during the fifth game of his senior year.

Still, in a little less than half a season, Barrett threw for 784 yards and five touchdowns while adding 569 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. A redshirt freshman season was inevitable due to the knee injury. Barrett’s ACL, MCL and meniscus were rehabbed and strength was added to his 6-foot-1, 222-pound frame.

“It still gets sore every now and then,” he said of his surgically-repaired knee. “I’m just working on that in the offseason. I’ll be good. I’m fine.”

For a true dual-threat quarterback, blowing out a knee is a worst-case scenario. But Barrett insists he’ll be the same player he was pre-injury. That seemed to be proven as he starred on the scout team throughout the season.

“Being the scout team quarterback, it’s not like you’re just separated from the offense. You’re still developing,” said Barrett, who played the role of Tajh Boyd during Orange Bowl preparations. “You see a team that an opposing team’s running, you try to make it similar to a play that you would run. Every day, you’re just trying to be a better quarterback and help your defense.”

When he was asked about ascending to the starting job after the Orange Bowl, Barrett didn’t take much interest in the subject. He’s a natural-born leader, as Herman alluded to last spring when Barrett, unprompted, gave an impassioned speech to potential recruits. That’s why his caring nature for Miller to do what’s right comes off as genuine.

“I really don’t have to think about it. I just knew I had something to say, and that’s what came out,” Barrett said of his speech to Dontre Wilson and James Clark. “It was natural and I didn’t have to think about it. It just comes to me sometimes.”

Barrett said the year away from game action served him well. Not only did it allow him to become fully healthy, it also gave him a glimpse into how to prepare at the college level both on and off the field. Meeting room experience with Miller and Kenny Guiton was invaluable, according to Barrett.

“It was a big learning experience,” he said. “I think it was the best thing for me. I’m glad I was redshirted.”

Even with Miller’s return, Barrett remains likely to find himself in a quarterback competition come spring. He, Cardale Jones and incoming freshman Stephen Collier will be the other scholarship quarterbacks on the team, with Guiton’s departure opening the backup position.

The high football IQ and sensible approach of Barrett could give him an advantage over Jones and Collier. Barrett will use the offseason to learn the “whys” of the offense, as he put it. He said losing is at the top of his hate list, going as far to say that he dislikes losing more than he enjoys winning, a model that will mesh well with head coach Urban Meyer.

“I’m a grinder, a competitor, a really tough guy,” Barrett said. “Anything to win. Anything.”


Comments Show All Comments

Thomas's picture

Hoping we get to see him throw a little bit this year. The kid sounds like a competitor. 

dan_isaacs's picture

I'm waiting to see Jones throw.  He's basically Hyde.  I don't see the chains stopping if he's running the offense and can actually pass.

Dan Isaacs

avail31678's picture

I agree.  If he can throw, he's Tim Tebow part 2.  I'm not against him coming in situationally like Tebow did as a freshman to pound out 5 yards.

Ugly Hour Chazz Bear's picture

I couldn't disagree more with this post.

I like the bux.

avail31678's picture

That's totally cool...but we'd all get more out of it if you expanded a bit.  I just think Cardale is a physical freak - he averaged 7.8 yards a carry this year on the limited touches he had.

Zimmy07's picture

And he got that 7.8 ypc when the defense knew there was no way in hell we were going to throw the ball.

zachofaltrades's picture

Well, I think what he meant is that it makes no sense for OSU to pull Braxton for a less dynamic talent in Cardale.  Tebow came in like that for Chris Leak, who was a lot of things, but a runner he certainly was not.  OSU also has bigger more physical backs than any of those Florida teams.  So in summary, keep Miller in there as a home run threat every play and feed it to our big physical backs.  Cardale will get his opportunity next year.

Will in Arizona's picture

I watched him throw at Glenville - it wasn't good.

JacksonHoleBuckeye's picture

Excited about this Barrett kid. There is a reason Urb used him and not someone else to simulate Tajh Boyd.
Had to be devastating to blow out his knee, but betting he comes back with a vengeance!

Kindell's picture

I love how he is a natural leader at such a young age already.  This is a perfect setup for JT IMO.  The start of 2015 he will be the favorite to take over the starting duties.  He will have had 2 full years to get healthy and master the offense.  I am really excited to see him throw the ball in the Spring.

carence's picture

Lol, raise your hand if you started reading the article and asked "why is Barrett's dad in the Buckeye locker". I never knew JT was John Thomas! I'm doing pushups.

nm_buck's picture

From reports I heard all season the kid is the first to arrive and the last to leave practice.  Stays late to get in extra reps.  Also heard he throws ropes and is accurate as hell both short and deep.  If this is true he won't have to rely on his legs as much.  Bodes well for his longevity... as Braxton has implied on more than a few occasions.

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

BAR43's picture

Can't wait to see what he brings to the table. I am still a big Miller fan, but JT seems like a natural born leader and I think that is one area where Miller is a bit timid.

Buckeye06's picture

What did he say to Wilson and Clark?  Did i miss that?

JacksonHoleBuckeye's picture

He spoke to them when they were considering OSU. Not sure what he said but I'd bet it was something along the lines of:
get your asses to Ohio State and I'll be throwing the ball your way in a couple seasons

Mizzillion's picture

JT's speech is mentioned in this article.

Buckeye06's picture

Thanks I thought it was something he said after the Orange Bowl for some reason.  Maybe the context in the article

chirobuck's picture

I think we will def see whoever wins that backup QB job as Miller has yet to get through a season healthy, it will be an important competition and from the sounds of it he should be ready to come in and get the team through a game or two, I'm excited to see him play


^ best post ever ^


I would imagine JT is going to play quite a bit in the spring game, maybe most of it as Brax will probably play a series or two. Really looking forward to see what he can do. I've heard from several people I know who've seen him warm up that he has a cannon but is really accurate and makes it look easy. If his knee is 100% and he can run the option well I get the feeling we're all going to be in for a treat when he takes over.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

logamaniac's picture

Glad to hear hes progressing, with braxtons inability to complete a full season (admittedly due to the nature of the offense and hits he takes) its great to know theres someone in the wings the staff is confident in.

osu07asu10's picture

"It still gets sore every now and then,” he said of his surgically-repaired knee. “I’m just working on that in the offseason. I’ll be good. I’m fine.”

This is why it is paramount for 2015 and beyond that Cardale and Collier develop. The QB play in Urban's offense is demanding and can cause the starter to miss game action (even if just a few plays). 
No matter who takes the starting job when Braxton leaves, we need quality at #2 and #3 as those guys times will come as well.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Hovenaut's picture

Ready for that spring game - I think the backup battle between Barrett and Jones is going to be tight.
Eager to see what JT can do, as well as seeing Cardale throw - was surprised at his mobility.
Another one of those "good" Buckeye problems to have.

Crumb's picture

I'm with you Hovenaut. I think the future is bright for Buckeye QBs. Jones or Barrett will be great. I'd also like to see that formation with two QBs on the field a few more times, I think it's gotta drive defensive coaches crazy.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

trock's picture

With the last name, Barrett. I think it would make sense that he can fire bullets.

Buckeye1004's picture

It's good to see the cupboard is full....and it's name brand not generic! 
Go Buckeyes! 

sharks's picture

Hopefully, his knee keeps getting stronger. Definitely excited to see he and Cardale battle.

A man got to have a code...

seafus26's picture

Does he give receivers a chance to catch in stride and create YAC. We had flashes of that with Guiton, but haven't seen that for a season since Troy's senior year and prior to that, not since Joe Germaine. 

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

seafus26's picture

Given areas they came from and developed will be no shock if Barrett and Collier are the more polished passers and have the better mechanics than Braxton and Cardale.

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

wilkins0802's picture

Can't wait to see Barrett play. I love Miller, but I know after next season he's gone. Good to know what the possibilities of the future can be.

Truth & Courage, 1-17IN, 5/2 SBCT


Bamabucknut's picture

He needs significant play time this year.We need a back up when Miller goes down....and so he can hit he ground with some experience in 2015.

BoFuquel's picture

Whomever the backup is, looks like we will be in good hands. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

avail31678's picture

He played the role of Tajh Boyd during Orange Bowl prep....so how many times did he do the flip pass over Vonn Bell's head before Vonn knew it was coming??

southernbuckeye's picture

I am picking up what he's laying down! SOLID!

steveoz49's picture

I like this kid more and more.  I hope big things are in store for him and our Buckeyes.

2002osubuck's picture

I just hope he really is back to his pre-injury form with the talent this kid has. He is absolutely made for our offense and his highlight film shows a lot of read option passes with great touch. I think the battle between Collier and Barrett is going to be interesting. Jones isnt as polished of a passer as those two, but if he progresses passing could be a surprise, with his size he's a tough tackle. The good thing is we have legit options with these guys no matter what happens.

zacisone's picture

Go Bucks! Just follow Brax's lead and you will be fine JT!


buckeyemondo's picture

kid looks like a right handed mike vick in the photo.  hopefully he's got the wheels & arm strength -- we can do without the dog fighting & lack of pocket presence/accuracy.

ScarletGray43157's picture

Physical tools are important for a QB.  So are reading defenses, going through receiver progressions, leadership, the ability to stand in the pocket and take a hit when necessary to complete a pass.  Then there are the intangibles, the "IT" Factor, of leadership and mental toughness.  
When OSU gets such a package in a QB then we will hoist the Crystal Football. 

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

The best offenses under Urban Meyer will begin in the JT Barrett era. 

jamesrbrown322's picture

I just hope Barrett came to play football AND school...

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Kyle.  Nice to get to know JT a little better!
Go Bucks!!

Poison nuts's picture

I liked reading about JT some. I'm curious to know more about what he'll do on the field. Whoever the next QB is, my big hope is that they want to throw first & look to distribute the ball around to the other playmakers on the team. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.