On Ohio State’s Media Day, August 10th, Buckeye offensive coordinator Tom Herman said he considered the battle to be the backup quarterback to be “constantly changing.” Both Cardale Jones and JT Barrett, Herman told us, were getting an equal number of snaps with the first and second teams. In fact, Jones had the slight edge.
This past Saturday, head coach Urban Meyer announced that Barrett had moved ahead in the quest to be OSU’s “Plan B.”
Just yesterday, Herman confirmed that Barrett had overtaken Jones, explaining simply, “the offense moves better when he’s in there.” Still, Barrett was the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency signal caller. The hopes of the 2014 season remained firmly on the surgically repaired shoulder of Braxton Miller.
Miller himself declared that he was 100 percent healthy.
That was yesterday. Now 2014 belongs to Barrett.
Amid multiple reports that Miller is out for the year after reinjuring his shoulder throwing a simple screen pass in practice, Barrett seems poised to be under center for the Scarlet and Gray this upcoming season.
So who is John Thomas Barrett?*
He’s a 6’1″, 225 pound red-shirt freshman out of Wichita Falls, Texas.
When he received his first major collegiate offer (from Texas Tech), he says his mother told him, “That’s nice. Now shouldn’t you go back to class?”
Such grounded parenting explains why his high school coach Jim Garfield ended up raving about Barrett’s intangibles: “His leadership skills are immeasurable,” Garfield said. “He was our captain. He was our emotional leader. He’s a leader by his mouth and his actions.”
However, Barrett’s high school career was cut short. About halfway through his senior season, he tore his ACL.
Ohio State remained committed to him despite that. They were sold watching Barrett throw for more than 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. He added more than 1,500 yards and 9 touchdowns running the ball.
Barrett graduated high school early and enrolled at OSU in January of 2013.
“I’m hoping he brings a little something that our quarterback position can use, and that’s a grinder, a guy that’s just nonstop,” Coach Meyer said at the time. “You know, the [guys like former Utah quarterback] Alex Smith — they wake up in the morning and they’re a quarterback all day long. They go to sleep and the next day they wake up again and they’re a quarterback all day long.”
All spring long, Barrett split snaps with Jones while Miller recovered from surgery, and in the Spring Game, Barrett’s Gray squad topped Scarlet 17-7. Barrett was 17/33 for 151 yards.
So that’s the backstory, and the reason Barrett’s journey has been longer than the whiplash speed of the past few days suggests.
*Editor’s note: A really, really good question since it’s actually Joe.