J.T. Barrett spent more time signing autographs at the Midwest Sports Spectacular on Sunday than he usually does playing a football game.
In a four-hour autograph session that began before Sunday’s AFC Championship Game started and ended after that game was over, Barrett signed a total of 740 autographs, surpassing the previous record of 636 autographs signed by former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott at the 2016 Midwest Sports Spectacular.
That made for a long day of work for the recent Ohio State quarterback – factor in the time Barrett spent autographing additional items before and after his public signing, and the Ohio State quarterback could have played in two football games – but that didn’t stop him from appreciating the support that Ohio State fans showed him on Sunday.
"If you’re good to the fans, the fans will be good to you, so I think it speaks a lot about Buckeye Nation, the people within it and how much they love Ohio State," Barrett told Eleven Warriors while still signing autographs, more than seven hours after he arrived. "I’m just glad that they were able to stand in line and help me out a little bit."
The long day also didn’t stop him from having a sense of humor – or taking the time to sign more than just his name – as evidenced by the autographs pictured below:
There are J.T. Barrett autographs.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) January 22, 2018
And then there are next level J.T. Barrett autographs. pic.twitter.com/BUdCzfessW
Some of the other inscriptions signed by J.T. Barrett: pic.twitter.com/viQLFSMvOq— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) January 22, 2018
On a day where many other former Buckeyes were also in attendance to sign autographs and meet fans, Barrett also appreciated the opportunity to catch up with some Ohio State greats.
"Being able to see former Buckeyes, Buckeye greats like Archie Griffin … to see Eddie George and (James) Laurinaitis, all those guys, it’s just an honor to be a part of that brotherhood," Barrett said.
Barrett’s long Sunday came just one day after he played in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he had his final opportunity to try to impress scouts while playing an actual football game in an Ohio State helmet before the 2018 NFL draft.
Barrett was disappointed with the outcome of Saturday’s game, in which he completed only five of 13 passing attempts for 69 yards, because his East team suffered a 14-10 loss after Barrett was unable to lead his offense to the scoring drive it needed on its final possession. Overall, though, he felt as though the week was a success.
"I was upset we lost, but I mean, it was overall a great experience," said Barrett, who also threw a touchdown pass and had three rushing attempts for 17 yards in Saturday’s game. "I think in the game, I think I executed the offense well. Could have did a better job of staying on the field, getting a first first down and things, but (the game) came down to two-minute (offense) and just didn’t execute like we needed to win. But overall, it was a good experience."
By participating in the Shrine Game, Barrett had the opportunity to learn the West Coast offense as well as new footwork from Shrine Game quarterbacks coach Zack Grossi, who is also an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he expects that learning to benefit him as he continues through the NFL draft process.
While Barrett could probably use some rest after a busy week at the Shrine Game and then back in Columbus, he said he plans to return right back to Florida to continue training with Tom Shaw – whose trainees have included the winner of that AFC Championship Game (and seven previous AFC Championship Games), Tom Brady, among others – as he readies for his next opportunities to impress NFL decision-makers at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ohio State’s pro day and any other pre-draft workouts he might have.
"Going right back to Orlando, going back to work," Barrett said. "They say you can sleep on planes, so I’m getting used to that."