An Appreciation Post for J.T. Barrett, Who Set the Big Ten and Ohio State Career Quarterback Benchmarks

By David Regimbal on April 16, 2020 at 10:10 am
Former Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett

The man pictured above this sentence is the only quarterback in Ohio State history to beat Michigan four times as a starter.

He also holds the career Big Ten and Ohio State records for both touchdowns thrown (previously held by some guy named Drew Brees) and touchdowns responsible for. The latter record stands at a boisterous 147 — 40 more touchdowns than the quarterback who sits second on the same list.

This could go on for a while. When J.T. Barrett's collegiate career ended, his name stood next to an incredible 39 conference and school records, highlighted by career wins (38) and total offense (12,697 yards).

And yet, it doesn't feel like the first-ever three-time team captain gets the credit he deserves.

That may be because he wasn't the quarterback behind center when Ohio State pounded Alabama and Oregon on their way to claiming the 2014 College Football Playoff National Championship. Maybe it's because he wasn't able to guide the Buckeyes back to that mountaintop in his final three seasons. Or maybe it's because his two predecessors in 2018 and 2019 put together historical statistical seasons in their own right.

Whatever the reason, it's a slight to the most productive quarterback who has ever suited up at Ohio State.

Barrett was the first quarterback former head coach Urban Meyer recruited to Ohio State. He was a member of the Buckeyes' legendary 2013 recruiting class that included superstars Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott, checking in as the 12th highest-rated prospect in that crop of players.

Buckeye fans at large didn't know much about Barrett during his true freshman season, in which he sat well back on the depth chart while taking a redshirt in 2013. But Barrett was unceremoniously thrust into the spotlight when Braxton Miller's 2014 season ended before it started with a shoulder injury in fall camp.

With just half of fall camp to prepare to take over as Ohio State's starting quarterback, Barrett's debut agains Navy in the season-opener got off to a rocky start. A pair field goals and a defensive touchdown had the Buckeyes trailing Navy 14-13 late in the third quarter, but that's when he officially arrived.

On the play immediately after the Midshipmen took the lead, Barrett took the snap and saw wideout Devin Smith breaking away from coverage.

The Buckeyes generated something special that season. They stumbled in a surprising upset to Virginia Tech in Week 2, but Barrett bounced back and put together the most productive season for a quarterback in school history, accounting for 45 total touchdowns during an 11-1 campaign that was cut short by a broken ankle against Michigan.

But Barrett's performance that season put Ohio State at the doorstep of that first-ever college football playoff, and his team responded in the postseason.

Barrett was resilient through all the obstacles he encountered in his career. There was the quarterback controversy between him and Cardale Jones to start the 2015 season, the uneven coaching after the departure of offensive coordinator Tom Herman, and all the nagging injuries he encountered as a dual-threat, do-it-all option in Ohio State's offense.

He set the standard and elevated the expectations for what a Buckeye quarterback should look like, both from a leadership and production level.

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