The Magnificent Three: Barrett, Jones, Miller Defined Ohio State's National Championship Season

By Tim Shoemaker on January 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm
Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett: Ohio State's "Magnificent Three"

The three quarterbacks stood on stage, together, as the crowd inside Ohio Stadium erupted.

To the stage's far left holding the national championship trophy was Braxton Miller, Ohio State's two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and preseason Heisman Trophy candidate who went down in August after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. 

In the middle, addressing the estimated crowd of 45,000 on a chilly Saturday afternoon was Cardale Jones, the Buckeyes' third-string quarterback back in fall camp who won three-straight games to lead them to a national title.

And on the right, on crutches, stood J.T. Barrett, the redshirt freshman quarterback who took over the reins from Miller as Ohio State's starter just 12 days before the season began only to have one of the most successful seasons a quarterback had ever had for the Buckeyes before he suffered his own season-ending injury in the fourth quarter against Michigan.

"The Magnificent Three," head coach Urban Meyer called them.

“Every time we go out on the field for practice, games, it’s all about the guys next to us," Jones said. "I dedicated this season, and the last couple games, to these two guys on my left and my right. Go Bucks.”

That's just the kind of season it was for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes withstood season-ending injuries to Miller and Barrett, they lost key contributors like Noah Spence and Rod Smith to suspensions and Dontre Wilson to injury. They even overcame the loss of one of their teammates as Kosta Karageorge tragically passed away.

Yet even after all of that, Ohio State stood inside Ohio Stadium and celebrated its national championship in front of what Meyer called "the best damn fans in the land."

“There’s going to be many thoughts throughout history when you remember the 2014 Buckeyes, but I’m going to give you a couple examples of who we are," Meyer said. "This is the most selfless group of players and people that I’ve ever been around.”

Perhaps no greater example of that came at quarterback, where Miller, Barrett and Jones were all important cogs to the Buckeyes' run to a title whether they were playing or not.

They compete against each other for playing time, but remained extremely close throughout the entire process.

“One of our dreams this season was definitely winning this national championship. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my unit: Braxton, Cardale, Stephen Collier and Coach Herman," Barrett said. "This is what we talked about from the beginning and I’m glad y’all were a part of it. Go Bucks.”

Added Miller: "It was a privilege and an honor to be part of this national championship team in 2014. And guess what? We’ve got another year to do it. Go Bucks.”

And as of right now, all three are scheduled to be back in Columbus next year. 

Barrett stated after the national championship game he has every intention of returning to Ohio State. He will be limited in spring practice as he continues to rehab his fractured ankle. Jones, held a press conference last week announcing his intentions to return to the Buckeyes after many thought he would jump to the NFL following his remarkable three-game run.

The only question mark that remains is Miller, who has been quiet on what he intends to do: either return to Ohio State to play quarterback or another position, or transfer to another school where he would be eligible to play immediately.

“We’ve been talking all along," Meyer said following the ceremony. "It’s a unique situation which we’ll cover that later."

Nobody is really sure what Miller intends to do next season. Everything at this current point in time is entirely speculation.

But one thing is for certain: Miller, and the other two members of the "Magnificent Three" will be remembered as national champions for the rest of their lives.

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