The No. 3 player on this list could very well end up being the most prolific player in Big Ten history. Or he could just end up being 4-0 as a starter against Michigan as a consolation prize.
No. 3 — J.T. Barrett, rSr Quarterback
J.T. Barrett is on pace for, basically, everything. He has accounted for 100 touchdowns in his three seasons on the field, though the production has dwindled over the past two seasons. That production, however, should be back on the uptick with Kevin Wilson calling plays and Ryan Day coaching the quarterback position.
Barrett was hesitant to throw the ball at times last season for a number of reasons, and he spent the spring working to eliminate those hesitations. There was a greater focus on the deep ball, as well as putting the ball in a position for the receivers to do something with it after the catch. Ohio State shouldn’t have a station-to-station passing game, and Barrett is setting out to make sure it won’t happen gain.
In terms of playmaking, few quarterbacks handle the read option better than Barrett. His 194 carries last season were a career high, but his average per carry (4.4) was a career low. That wasn’t just because he was sacked a bunch last year, as the sacks numbers in 2016 were identical to the 2014 season. There was simply fewer explosive plays for Barrett on the ground, which happened in part because of the lack of explosion through the air.
It is his ability to run the ball and create plays with his feet that puts him on this list.
BARRETT’S CAREER PASSING STATS
BARRETT’S CAREER RUSHING STATS
BARRETT’S CAREER TOTAL OFFENSE STATS
What He Does Well
J.T. Barrett can MacGyver a first down out of nothing, and he can keep a play alive long enough to find the right place to go with the ball. He is a tremendous leader and his teammates follow him. They do so for many different reasons, but one of the main reasons is his ability to maximize a play. He can squeeze it for everything it’s got, whether it’s a fourth-and-one in overtime, or an 86-yard jaunt on a frozen field.
Barrett is an accurate passer when given time. In fact, there are few better than him in that regard. With a solid pocket, not only will Barrett make the right read, but he’ll put the ball on a receiver.
On the run, he doesn’t look to hit home runs. He’s fine with the bloop singles and sometimes legging out a double. His decision making on the read option, however, is exceptional. He has always been fantastic at it. As a redshirt freshman, there were few better third-down runners in the nation.
J.T. Barrett in 2017
This is the do-or-die year for Barrett. He has yet to lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship, and that will absolutely be one of his goals this season. There is certainly an argument for having him higher on this list, but his rushing numbers should be down this season. His focus this spring was on allowing his receivers to make plays, as opposed to the offense over-relying on him to do it. If he can put his passes on the money, then we may as well move Barrett down this list because he’ll be making even fewer plays with his feet than anticipated.
There will still be running and scrambling, of course. He’s too dangerous to get away from it completely.
This should be J.T. Barrett’s best season as a Buckeye. He is 3,847 total yards away from capturing the Big Ten total yardage record from Drew Brees. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Barrett produced 3,772 yards of total offense in just 11.5 games.
Barrett should have the greatest single season for a Buckeye quarterback ever, but only if his receivers are making more plays than he is.
What They Are Saying
“How do you measure the success of a quarterback? Some people do it with passing yards. You’ll never hear me talk about that. It’s wins and losses. So he’s a very decorated quarterback. His winning percentage must be off the chain. However, he’s never lifted the trophy yet, and I’m talking about the Big Ten championship or the next one after that. And so in my opinion that’s how quarterbacks should be measured. Are you a champion? Have you led your team to a championship? It’s the most unique position in my opinion in all of sport. And how do you measure it? Obviously, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Why? He’s won more championships than any other quarterback. That’s how J.T. is ultimately going to be measured.” — Urban Meyer
“From when I got here until now, I can see the best thing that he does is play the game. You can see that in today’s practice, we get out there and we started playing it, he is moving the team up and down the field. At the end of the day, that is what is most important as a quarterback, leading the other 10 guys on the field and then moving the team down and score points.” — Ryan Day
“It’s kind of the same reaction I have when people say we’re terrible offensive linemen. The conversations about who should be the starter and who should not be, your body of work stands for a lot. I stand behind him 110 percent within the locker room, if we’re on High Street, wherever we’re at. There’s just a lot of things that people don’t know about. They don’t understand it. I know some articles try to explain our offense and guys do hit some things right, but you’re not in the rooms, not in the meeting rooms, you just don’t know what’s going on. There are things that are out of our control that fans and people get upset about that we don’t even have control on, so we are respecting our coaches and doing what they say.” — Billy Price on J.T. Barrett.