Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer used a certain word to describe J.T. Barrett on Wednesday, one not many people outside of the Buckeyes' locker room had heard before.
“He’s kind of Guiton-ish," Meyer said. "He’s a very calm, cool, collect guy and he has very good leadership skills. That’s a term we use around here now, Guiton-ish."
It was a compliment comparing Barrett to Kenny Guiton, the former Ohio State quarterback who spent his entire career backing up Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller but became one of the most beloved Buckeyes in recent memory despite only making two career starts and appearing in 21 games in his career.
When Miller went down last year, Guiton stepped in nicely in two starts and his seven appearances. He threw for 749 yards and 14 touchdowns, while throwing just two picks on the season.
Whenever Guiton came into the game, Ohio State fans did not worry.
Guiton was not the athlete Miller is, but not many are. What he was, however, was a distributor of the football who almost always made the right decision and a true leader of a football team.
Meyer and the rest of the Ohio State coaching staff and players see a lot of the same qualities in Barrett, who will likely start his first ever collegiate game Saturday when the Buckeyes take on Navy in Baltimore.
“Some of the best quarterbacks are great distributors," Meyer said. I watch Peyton Manning play and I’m in awe with the way he distributes the ball around."
"I thought Kenny Guiton was one of the best I’ve been around as far as getting the ball out rather quickly and distributing to playmakers and letting them make plays. That’s what my initial evaluation of J.T. is that he’s very good at that.”– Urban Meyer
So good, in fact, that Ohio State assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti has given Barrett the nickname of 'The Distributor.'
“Just smart decisions, makes the hard throws, makes the easy throws, controls the offense, controls the huddle," cornerback Doran Grant said of Barrett. "You can tell, even when we’re speeding it up, he has everything controlled, everybody’s getting set and it’s go time.”
In addition to his distribution of the football, Ohio State players and coaches have raved about Barrett's leadership ability. Even Barrett's high school coach said he was a great leader.
“It’s the leadership qualities that he shows every day," Grant said. "He was on our leadership committee as a true freshman last year and he was the only one. I don’t know if anybody knew that, but he just has those natural leadership abilities.”
Like Barrett, Guiton had leadership capabilities, too. He was named a team captain in 2013 as the back-up quarterback. Guiton's performance on the field spoke for itself, though. Barrett has yet to take a snap in a game for Ohio State.
Will Barrett become the type of player Guiton was for the Buckeyes? Who really knows. It's impossible to tell at this point. One thing is clear, however: The Buckeyes are fully confident in their new quarterback.
“He’s just controlling everything, pointing out things, being very verbal and talking," Grant said. "He’s controlling everybody and if a veteran might mess up a route he’ll go talk to him and be like ‘Hey, go do this or go do that,’ just like he’s been in there. That’s what we need to see from him and that’s what he’s been doing.”