Looking at Ohio State's 2014 Quarterback Depth Chart
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the announcement that Braxton Miller will be returning for his senior season, the Ohio State depth chart at quarterback received a major and welcome boost. A four-year starter at quarterback is about as luxurious as a football program can get, provided that quarterback is any good. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, theirs is quite talented.
Moving forward without Miller would have left the Buckeyes with just three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, and Cardale Jones as the only current QB who has taken an actual snap in college football. Even then, Jones only attempted two passes last season, completing one for just three yards, so it's not like he's actually experienced.
Given how important Kenny Guiton was this past season for the Buckeyes, there will be a vital need for a competent backup at quarterback in 2014. Fortunately for Ohio State, every scholarship quarterback is already on campus and they will all be participating in spring football.
Braxton Miller (Sr. 6-2 215)
Miller is just 505 yards away from becoming the most productive offensive player in Ohio State history, and he should hit that number in the second game of the season next year. While the November slide will need to be fixed, the foundation that the Buckeyes have in Miller is stronger than anybody else's in the conference. Health will also be a concern moving forward, especially with no Kenny Guiton behind him. With another offseason to improve as a passer, there is the possibility that he won't need to run the ball as much next season, which could keep him healthy and happy. However, he will always be a dynamic runner, and that should never be removed from the offense. Miller has a chance to leave Ohio State as an all-time great, and he also has the opportunity to bring the young quarterbacks along with him this season. His improvement as a leader has been consistent, and needs to continue given the youth behind him.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Cardale Jones (rSo. 6-5 250)
Jones is number two on this list because of the fact that he actually played this past season. He played in three games, rushing 17 times for 128 yards and a touchdown, and was 1-2 passing for three yards on a slot screen. He probably has the biggest arm on the team, but right now there is no telling where the ball will end up once it is released. This spring will give Jones more reps than he has ever received, and he should improve dramatically between last season and this season. Physically, it would be difficult to design a better looking quarterback prospect, as not only is he big, but he can also run pretty well. Now entering his third season, he should be matured and rounding into what Tom Herman and Urban Meyer want from him. As a true freshman, they didn't expect anything out of him, and they weren't sure they ever would. He responded well as a redshirt freshman, and he has shown some promise. His accuracy as a passer, however, is completely unknown outside of the WHAC.
J.T. Barrett (rFr. 6-1 222)
Depending upon who you asked, had Braxton Miller left for the NFL, there are plenty of people who would have told you that Barrett was a lock to be the starter in 2014. While Jones is seen as having all of the physical tools, Barrett is constantly talked about for his intangibles and leadership, which is strange for a true freshman. Now that he has a redshirt year under his belt and got to see how things work, the spring will be huge for him in his quest to be Miller's backup this season. He has been compared to Troy Smith in the past, and that's probably a fitting analogy. He spent a lot of time working on his game after practice this season, throwing as much as he could. While Jones may have the biggest arm, that doesn't mean that Barrett is a slouch by any means. Expect the spring competition between he and Jones to be very entertaining, and the Spring Game will be the fans' first chance to decide for themselves. The future is expected to be bright for Barrett, and some of that future may be in play next season.
J. T. Barrett
Photo by Dan Harker
Stephen Collier (Fr. 6-3 205)
Collier enrolled early and is already on campus, so even though he's just a true freshman, he'll be battling for the same job as Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. True freshmen quarterbacks haven't gotten many snaps in practice these last two seasons, though that can be explained by Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton needing every single snap in the 2012 practices, and Barrett recovering from a torn ACL in 2013. Collier is a three-star prospect, but the Buckeyes offered him instead a few prospects who were much higher ranked, and were likely to commit to Ohio State. Collier is labeled as a dual-threat quarterback, but is completely comfortable staying behind the line of scrimmage and finding receivers. When things break down, however, he can certainly scramble well enough to move the chains. He rushed for over 1,000 yards as a high school senior, so he fits the mold of the mobile quarterback that Urban Meyer prefers.
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