Ohio State's Next Number Two

By Jeff Beck on February 3, 2014 at 1:00p

With Braxton Miller returning for his senior season, there’s no question who will lead the Buckeyes at the quarterback position in 2014. But, for the first time in roughly four years there will be a debate when it comes to the backup spot. Gone is the smooth jazz of Kenny Guiton, another victim of senseless graduation.

If it were up to me, Kenny would roam the OSU sideline for the next five years. Alas, it’s not to be. Guiton will go on to be a success wherever he ends up, but his departure leaves Ohio State with a competition for next man up.

Stepping in to fill that role will be Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett, or incoming freshman Stephen Collier. Each knows earning the spot will ensure playing time in 2014 while paving the path to the starting position in 2015. So, let’s take a look at the case for each player.

Cardale Jones

Jones will be a sophomore this season and is the only player of the three who has in-game experience. He came in to spell Kenny Guiton and Braxton Miller in blow-out wins vs. Florida A&M, Penn State and Purdue. In those games Cardale’s role didn’t span far beyond rushing the football to the tune of 17 attempts for 128 yards and one touchdown. In that capacity, Jones was incredibly effective chewing up over 7 yards a carry. With that said, Buckeye Nation never got a chance to see what Jones could do through the air as he only attempted two passes completing one for three yards.

Cardale Doing His ThingCould Cardale be OSU's back-up in 2014?

While Jones didn't air it out in 2013, there’s no denying the kid can toss it. As a Cleveland Glenville senior Cardale passed for nearly 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns. In his junior year he eclipsed the two thousand yard mark, throwing for 2,168 yards and 18 TDs.

Jones is a physical specimen standing at 6’5’’ 250 lbs. (for reference, Carlos Hyde is 6’0’’ 242 lbs). He’s established himself as an effective runner who can break tackles and move the chains, but the jury’s still out on his ability to sling it at the college level. Proving he can hang in the pocket and make reads will go a long way in making the case for Cardale in the Fall.

Stephen Collier

Collier is a three star quarterback out of Leesburg, GA, but coming in at 6’4’’ 208 lbs he’s got all the look of a blue chip. Collier impressed Tom Herman and Urban Meyer out of the gate and received a scholarship offer not long after a June 9th camp in Columbus. He was the lone quarterback commit in the class of 2014.

Collier is a true dual-threat who spent his senior season churning out 2,300 passing yards with 24 TDs while rushing for 1,021 yards and 20 touchdowns. He's already graduated and recently moved North to enroll early. The extra time on campus should give him ample opportunity to mesh with teammates while allowing strength coach, Mickey Marotti, to bend his ear in the weight room.

Collier will likely come in with a chip on his shoulder and an impressive drive to make a name for himself in the locker-room. Size, stats and shoulder chips aside, it’s hard to count out a guy who says something like this:

"Ratings can't judge work ethic, character, and the will to succeed, and that, it seems to me, is a far more important thing. The priority for me was uniting my team in order to make this year one of the best in school history. We fell short last year and I take responsibility for that, so the focus was — and is — striving for greatness as a team. I knew if I did the right things offers would come."

J.T. Barrett

Barrett is the potential back-up many Buckeye fans have their eye on in 2014. Hailing from Wichita Falls, TX, Barrett was rated as the third-best dual threat quarterback in the nation and the No. 11 player in the state of Texas. He committed to the Buckeyes in 2012 after a junior season where he tossed for 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for another 1,521 yards and nine scores.

Unfortunately he tore his ACL nearly halfway through his senior year, but in that time he was able to throw for 784 yards and five touchdowns with another 569 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Barrett redshirted during the 2013 season and served as the scout-team quarterback for most of the year. The move allowed J.T. a full season to learn the offense while affording him time in meeting rooms with Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton, who showed him how to prepare for the game at the college level.

Barrett says his knee is fully recovered, if that’s true he’s going to be hard to beat out this year and for years down the road.

At the end of the day, the Buckeyes have three very good options at the back-up quarterback position. But, in my opinion there's no question who will win the job. Simply put, J.T. Barrett is the heir to Braxton Miller’s throne.

He was the most impressive player in high school, he’s got a year under his belt with the offense and he’s a born leader as evidenced by his impromptu speech to James Clark and Dontre Wilson during their recruiting visit to Columbus. With Barrett the Scarlet and Gray have a supreme talent who should usher in the next generation of Buckeye greats.



osu07asu10's picture

It is terribly important for the buckeyes to make sure we find the "right" #2, meaning the guy who is most game ready and can make the transition from Braxton to back up as seamless as possible.
As we have seen over the last two seasons, Braxton is going to miss snaps here and there or for even entire games. Whoever ends us being #2 needs to be able to keep the offense running on all cylinders.


My2Sons's picture

How important is it?

Seattle Linga's picture

SC sounds like he has the right mentality to help lead the squad, Barrett appears to have all the skill in the world and Cardale has the experience as little as it is..............
I hope we make the right decision !!!! I trust Urban's decision on this one.

ab1993's picture

Seems as if once Braxton is gone, JT will start, but I have a feeling Stephen Collier will take up a Kenny G role as a leader off the field.

My2Sons's picture

You trust Urban's decision on this one?  Well, that's awfully big of you.  And if you didn't?

bukyze's picture

I still can't figure out why they didn't have Cardale throw the ball more during those blowout wins rather than rush it every time.   To me, those were wasted opportunities to get some valuable game time throwing experience.

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Usually a 3rd string QB is in the game to run the clock out, unless they are in because of injuries. I would say all things considered, he got a lot of touches for 3rd team QB. I am not too worried about the back up considering KG flourished under Herman and we now have Jones and Barrett entering their 2nd and 3rd season under him.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Nutinpa's picture

I too....heck all of us would have liked to see Jones throw the ball last year.  After-all, this is why he came to tOSU...not go to class, right? I keed, I keed.
Urban Meyer already has a legion of haters.  For Jones to have thrown callled passes in those games by Herman or Meyer...it would have gotten ugly, really ugly and possibly even backfired in the polls.  No need to remind me:  When Oregon or Baylor do it....it is their prolific offense. When Ohio State does it, Urban Meyer is considered an asshole.  Hey, some things in life just aren't fair.  

+1 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

I understand your point, but, since when do we make tactical decisions on appeasing haters?  That doesn't seem like a winning formula to me.  People are going to hate tOSU no matter what (jealousy), so I really don't pay them any mind whatsoever.

Nutinpa's picture

It isn't just to appease haters...although my post made it read that way.
I just think there is a code....unwritten, or otherwise, which states that when you are up 40 or even 50 points on an opponent you don't: throw a lot of passes unless they are simple square outs to gain first down; you don't blitz the opposing passer; you don't try and block punts; you don't run a flea flicker, run a reverse, or throw a long bomb.
You've already crushed your opponent.  Some day you might play them again so don't be a complete dick when you beat them.  Karma is a bitch....that is all.
Go Bucks!

Furious George 27's picture

I also was thinking along the lines of who he would be throwing passes to as well, I didn't pay much attention at that point but I assume he had walk-ons and other players they weren't willing to burn a red-shirt on. If that was the case then he wouldn't get much out of passing other than throwing the ball.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

tOSUswaggernut's picture

The anti-OSU agenda gets old guys. Of course espn is all over sec. We all see it. But any big time program like osu gets scrutiny. I need to remind you Oregon got called out twice last year for running up the score.  

DNARCO's picture

I'm going to go ahead and say it now:  Diamond Formation, all QB's.
B1G defensive coordinators...you are on alert.


+1 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

I am anxiously awaiting the elusive quadruple pass!

jamesrbrown322's picture

Just like 10 Yard Fight! Woohoo!

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

Killer nuts's picture

Cardale Jones at 6' 5" 250 lbs... another point of comparison to a former Urban Meyer QB - Cam Newton is 6' 5", 245 lbs

+1 HS
Killer nuts's picture

My apologies to my downvoter for pointing out that Cardale Jones and Cam Newton are the same size, I can see how that was offensive

+1 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

They're probably jealous that we didn't have to pay Cardale Jones to "not play school" here instead of at Auburn.

Golden Buckeye's picture

Terrelle Pryor is listed on ESPN as 6'4'' 233 lbs... Wow Cardale is HUGE.

PittBuckeye's picture

Can't take credit for being the one to downvote you, but are you saying that Newton played for Meyer? Because that's how I read that, but I guess it could be Cam Newton also compares to a former Meyer qb just as Jones does?

-3 HS
Killer nuts's picture

Cam Newton was at Florida under Urban Meyer. Yes. Meyer recruited him to Florida before he got kicked out of school and ultimately wound up at Auburn

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Collier will probably be redshirting no?
If they get Gibson to play QB next year (who will assumably redshirt), the situation may dictate that Collier never sees the field. This would be a shame, but there is nothing wrong with being a backup.

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

osu07asu10's picture

If they get Gibson to play QB next year (who will assumably redshirt), the situation may dictate that Collier never sees the field. This would be a shame, but there is nothing wrong with being a backup.

I would be really hesitant to write off any player so early in their career at Ohio State. 1 player (Collier) has only gone through strength and conditioning and the other player (Gibson) is only an Ohio State target.
If we thought like this, Troy Smith should have never received a scholarship because Justin Zwick was going to lead us to multiple national titles and Elite 11 QB Rob Schoenhoft was his heir apparent...


+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Very true. Just operating on assumptions. I am hopeful that Barrett is the real deal, and they land Gibson too. Collier seems like a real quality kid, so hopefully he does indeed get the opportunity to contribute on the field.

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

osu07asu10's picture

Very true. Just operating on assumptions.

You know what they say happens when you assume things?


I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Both of us and something about a donkey?  

AJBor41's picture

That's a lot of speculation without seeing what any of them can do yet.

NitroBuck's picture

Sounds to me like both Barrett and Collier have the leadership intangibles covered extremely well.

Ferio.  Tego.

hit_the_couch's picture

Whoever #2 is, I hope they get a ton of playing time this year and are well prepared.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

sharks's picture

Can Cardale block? Can he learn?

A man got to have a code...

osu07asu10's picture

QBs don't have to block...


Brandon26841's picture

If he doesn't end up winning the #2 job this season and Barrett gets it, but Jones still wants to remain a Buckeye for the rest of his career... I think a move to TE would be interesting. He's obviously a good athlete at 6-5, 250 pounds. 

osu07asu10's picture

The problem with that is that we then would be heading into the 2015 campaign with just 2 scholarship QBs. Assuming that we sign 1 or 2 QBs in the 2015 class (Gibson and/or Wimbush) we would then be asking 1 of them to pretty much be game ready the day they step on campus.
2015 (in your scenario) would have Barrett as the starter, Collier (a RS freshman w/zero game experience) as his back-up, and 1-2 incoming freshman to fight for the 3rd string spot.
That is scary. We would then be 1 injury to Barrett away from having a QB with zero game experience running the offense and that is not good. As long as Cardale is a buckeye, it will be as a QB.


Brandon26841's picture

All true and it's something that I considered, but I've seen worse QB situations than that. I mean, if Braxton would have left for the NFL this year (which was apparently close to actually happening) they would have been in a similar situation right now. 2 QB's with next to little experience (one a redshirt freshman with no game experience, the other a redshirt sophomore with no career attempts) and a true freshman automatically in the 3rd spot.
I agree that he'll probably stay at QB, but it's not like positions are set in stone. I mean, Ryan Tannehill played WR for his first 2 seasons at A&M and then went back to QB and ended up a top 10 pick. He could always play a little TE and also be an emergency QB. I just think his physical talent is obvious, and if was to not start at QB it'd be interesting to see if he could contribute in another way.

osu07asu10's picture

if Braxton would have left for the NFL this year (which was apparently close to actually happening) they would have been in a similar situation right now. 2 QB's with next to little experience (one a redshirt freshman with no game experience, the other a redshirt sophomore with no career attempts) and a true freshman automatically in the 3rd spot.

Yep, we would have and imagine our chances our making the 4 team playoff in that situation? Pretty terrible.
Also, look at where we would have been the last 2 years without Kenny Guiton? I can almost guarantee that 24 in a row doesn't happen. Quality back ups are necessary and they are also tough to find. 


DefendYoungstown's picture

Can he learn?

Can't learn if you're not going to school. He didn't come to tOSU to play school...

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

ExpatBuckeye's picture

I would be equally hesitant to write off Cardale Jones.  He's a fantastic athlete built to withstand some of the punishment that Braxton has experienced.  His passing skills seem to be at least the equal of JT Barrett though JT may be the better runner.  
Although I know everyone is impressed with JT's speech and leadership, it all comes down to decision-making.  Who is going to be able to make the right reads on the option and who is going to make the right decisions in the pocket?  I don't think we've seen enough yet to say JT is the lock for "heir apparent" and everything else seems just to be hearsay.
Personally, I'm rooting for Cardale to be like another overlooked QB from Glenville who came in NOT the heir apparent and did some pretty good things here once he got the chance.  People forget that NO ONE liked Troy Smith compared to Justin Zwick when they started out either.

osu07asu10's picture

People forget that NO ONE liked Troy Smith compared to Justin Zwick when they started out either.

Not true! I was in Troy's corner when he took the last spot in the class. That being said, we can't be writing off any of the scholarship QBs we have. All 3 will play an important role for the buckeyes following Braxton's departure. I want all of them to be great, put in their time, and shine when their number is called.


DannyBeane's picture

True that. I am a Cardale fan. I believe he brings a different set of skills. He may not be as shifty but you don't have to be when you can run defenders down like a horse. At the end of the day, I hope the best man wins but I am rooting for our Ohio born Cardale.

Crumb's picture

Our backfield is loaded with talent, how many other teams have too many good RBs and QBs? It's great to be a Buckeye!!!

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

Hovenaut's picture

Glad Braxton is finishing his college career, but I'm eager to see what Barrett, Jones and Collier can do down the road.

For this year, one of them has very big shoes to fill.


We have filled the Braxton Miller position.

PittBuckeye's picture

I'm excited to see what we have in store behind him. I'd like to see Cardale get a shot to go out there and run the O for more than just a few running plays in garbage time.

osupolo's picture

I am eager to see  what the QB's can do too. That is why I love the spring game. I can wait for mid April. 

BoFuquel's picture

Jones, Barrett and Collier red shirts. Dats, dat. GO BUCKS!

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

Deadly Nuts's picture

Can Jones play TE?


CALPOPPY's picture

The real question is:
"Who does number 2 work for?"

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

"Yeah that's right,...you show that turd who's boss!!!!"


BuckeyeStrong2's picture

"Can we get a courtesy flush?"