When Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett’s career playing football comes to an end, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer wants to hire Barrett to be a member of his coaching staff.
"I joke around about it, but he’s certainly going to be a coach," Meyer said during his radio show on Oct. 26. "He really doesn’t have an option, I told him. Go play as long as you can, and you don’t have to look to work, we’ll find you."
Meyer might have a hard time, however, convincing Barrett to take that job.
While Barrett plans to pursue a playing career in the NFL after he plays his final game as a Buckeye in the Cotton Bowl later this month, Barrett said Friday that he does not currently see himself pursuing a career in coaching.
"A coach? Nah, I don’t see that," Barrett said.
To the contrary, Barrett said he hopes to be living a much easier lifestyle after his career playing football is over.
"After I’m done playing football – or even in the profession I choose to do, which I have no idea what it is – I want to be living a non-stressful life," Barrett said. "I want to not have to set an alarm clock to get up – that means a lot to me – so it’s almost like at my leisure whether I choose to work or not. So whatever that job is, I’m going to be out searching for it, you best believe it."
Beyond the obvious question of what post-football career Barrett – who graduated from Ohio State in December 2016 with a degree in communications – could pursue that would enable him to choose when he wants to work, whether Barrett will be able to have a significant career in the NFL remains in question. Barrett isn’t widely regarded to be a top draft prospect, leaving it in question whether he will be a late-round pick or if he will even be drafted at all.
Yet even as Barrett’s Ohio State career is nearing its end, he says he hasn’t spent much time worrying about how he will regarded by NFL scouts. While he did seek feedback from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee last year before ultimately deciding to return to Ohio State for his fifth and final season of eligibility, Barrett said he feels comfortable that he has made his case to the NFL through what he has done on the field in his four playing seasons.
"I’m really not too concerned about it," Barrett said in regards to his NFL draft stock. "I’ve played a lot of ball here, so their evaluations, they have them. I’m pretty sure they’re not set in stone, but they’ve probably got a pretty good idea, being how much ball I’ve played. So I haven’t really thought about that, honestly. Just worried about beating USC."
Barrett does believe, though, that he improved enough over the past year – his lone season working with new Ohio State quarterbacks coach Ryan Day – to bolster his draft stock by returning for one more season as a Buckeye.
"I feel like, you look at it, being comfortable in the pocket maybe would be one thing, not just being in a rush to pull the ball down. Accuracy has gotten better, things like that. But, I mean, it’s part of development," Barrett said. "Those things, I feel like I constantly was trying to work on, and then they was able to show through games, which was good."
After years in the spotlight as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, and potentially more years in the spotlight to come as an NFL quarterback, the more leisurely future that Barrett aspires for would be a stark contrast to the life he is living now, as Barrett has been constantly under the microscope while leading one of the most prominent college sports teams in the country.
With that, Barrett has had to get used to dealing with criticism when his play is less than spectacular, which inspired the five-word message on the pinned tweet in his Twitter account:
Learn to love the hate— Jt Barrett (@JT_theQB4th) March 19, 2016
Barrett explained the rationale behind pinning that tweet during his interview session on Friday.
"I feel like I’ve been successful here being the quarterback here at Ohio State, so with that, there’s a lot of people that don’t like me, and don’t like the fact that it’s me playing the position, they want somebody else doing it, all these different things," Barrett said. "There’s, I guess, a lot of negativity coming along with production that I’ve had. And so with that, I feel like you could have that weigh on you as a person, or you can embrace it and just learn to like people hating you."
Being a student-athlete at Ohio State does require Barrett to set an alarm clock, and to work when he might not feel like it, too. He'll have to do that in order to play quarterback in the NFL, as well. But he says he does try to keep his life as stress-free as possible, however, by not worrying about what other people – whether that be Ohio State fans, fans of opposing teams, NFL scouts or anyone else – might think of him.
"This is what I think about stress: If there’s something that is out of my control, I don’t really stress about it," Barrett said. "The things I am in control of, I feel like I have a good handle on things. So I don’t really ever get stressed."