With Braxton Miller's 2014 lost after suffering an injury on his surgically repaired throwing shoulder, it looks as though redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett will be leading the offense against Navy on Aug. 30.
Offensive coordinator Tom Herman had this to say to the media yesterday regarding Barrett, "Gets the ball out quickly. Very efficient. Smooth release. Very accurate. Extremely cerebral. Very magnetic leader. I think the kids kind of gravitate towards him."
"We've got to work on strengthening his arm. He's a distant third to Braxton and Cardale in terms of just rearing back and trying to throw it through a wall. But he makes up for it in his anticipation and his accuracy and all that. You don't have to have a howitzer to be successful in college football. I'm very pleased with his continuing growth."
Looking at his 2011 junior year and 2012 senior year film, Barrett does a lot of things that should make Buckeye fans feel optimistic. The first thing that stands out is his lightning quick release and the ability to get the ball out of his hands once he makes a decision. In high school, his mechanics were already top notch for his age and after sitting out his freshman season and getting the majority of the reps in the spring, his mechanics should be even more polished.
Coming out of high school, Barrett was ranked the number three dual-threat passer in the 2013 class per the 247 Sports Composite rankings. But he is the anti-Miller, as he is a pass first, run second dual-threat. He keeps his eyes downfield, shows good composure in the pocket and makes great decisions with the football. In roll-out situations, he throws effortlessly and accurately when on the run. Barrett also has a nice touch on his deep ball but he does not have overwhelming arm strength as Coach Herman pointed out.
He is not going to make the Miller-like highlight runs and make multiple players miss but he has the athleticism to make sound plays in the running game. If there was a real negative about Barrett, it would be his height (listed at 6'1, may be shorter), which may cause Coach Herman and Urban Meyer to call more roll-out type plays to create cleaner throwing lanes for the Wichita Falls, TX product.
"The offense moves better when he's in there," Herman said of Barrett yesterday when comparing him to Cardale Jones. "You can throw all the completion percentages - he's probably completing more balls and making more of the right reads in the run game."
Reading more into that quote, I would not expect the offense to change much, as Barrett can make all of the throws that Miller can and although he is younger and less experienced, he may possess more natural arm talent than Miller.
We will soon find out if the redshirt freshman has what it takes to lead the Buckeyes to a Big Ten crown, something Miller has not done in his three seasons as a starter.