“Such is life for a quarterback that is not without flaws playing behind an offensive line with a leaky right tackle and a group of true wide receivers that have largely struggled to emerge.”
-Chris Lauderback, Eleven Warriors
He may not be the flashiest player on the field, but there can be little doubt that J.T. Barrett is one of the top players to ever grace the quarterback position at Ohio State. This season alone, Barrett has thrown 24 touchdowns to five interceptions and run for another nine scores. He is second on the team in rushing behind running back Mike Weber with 847 rushing yards in the regular season. Individually, he is 35th nationally in total offense per game with 272.9 yards per game (that’s good for third in the Big Ten, too).
Even while splitting time with Cardale Jones last season, Barrett has, over the course of three years at Ohio State, planted himself firmly in the record books as a top performer in most statistical categories among quarterbacks. Entering 2016, Barrett held the school records for career average total offense per game (249.2) and career 300-yard total offense games (15). Already this season, Barrett has earned the top spot in:
- Career passing yards per game (178.8), overtaking Joe Germaine (172.2 yards per game in 37 games)
- Career 200 yard passing games (18), passing Bobby Hoying’s record (16)
- Career 200 yard total-offense games (26), overtaking Art Schlichter, Hoying, Steve Bellisari, Troy Smith and Braxton Miller
- Career completions (510), passing Hoying (498)
- Career touchdown passes (69), passing Hoying (57). Barrett has also thrown just 19 interceptions to Hoying’s 35 over the course of his run
- Career touchdowns responsible for (100), overtaking Miller (88)
This season, Barrett could also break Schlichter’s mark on career total yards of offense (8,850) with a 130 yard performance against Clemson. Next year, assuming Barrett’s return to Columbus, he would also be able to crack Schlichter’s career passing yards record (7,547) and possibly Germaine’s 300-yard passing games record (eight).
“Since Troy Smith won it in 2006, the closest any Ohio State player has come was when Braxton Miller finished fifth in 2012 and J.T. Barrett finished fifth in 2014.”
-Ryan Ginn, Land of 10
Quarterback Lamar Jackson brought home Louisville’s first-ever Heisman Trophy Saturday night, winning by the largest margin in 70 years of Heisman voting by more than 600 points over runner-up Deshaun Watson of Clemson. However, for the first time since 2011, no Ohio State player broke the top-10 of voting--a fact that particularly stings given that even Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers garnered a fifth-place finish.
Heading into the season, quarterback J.T. Barrett seemed to be the Buckeyes’ best hope for a Heisman in 2016. Especially given three stellar performances in non-conference victories early in the season (and then Rutgers), his stock was certainly on the rise heading into conference play. However, like the rest of the offense, Barrett entered a slump that lasted from Ohio State’s matchup with Indiana through to Wisconsin, Penn State and Northwestern. His Heisman stock went down and did not recover, even with near perfect performances against Nebraska and Maryland.
Next season, Barrett’s odds improve dramatically. He will have a more experienced offensive line, even with the loss of Pat Elflein, and a receiving corps that, so unlike last year, will have actually seen the field before. It doesn’t hurt that Barrett is also a third-year starter and the unquestioned leader of a championship-caliber team, which tends to help in the voting.
Beyond Barrett, H-back Curtis Samuel was the only player in the nation to record at least 700 receiving yards and 700 rushing yards on the season this year. One of the most dynamic players on the field, it seemed like Samuel couldn’t touch the ball enough this year. While he is electrifying on offense, Samuel also has the opportunity to rack up return yardage next season as Ohio State’s go-to man, which would certainly grab the attention of voters.
Running back Mike Weber and wide receiver Noah Brown also showed flashes of brilliance this season which, if improved and made more consistent heading into next year, could make them dark horses for the trophy by the end of the season.
“It seems like he’s calmed down a little bit more and has a great focus about how he’s playing. He’s starting to get a little more instinctive, especially on the defensive end, which is good to see. He’s not as robotic. He’s challenging shots and making big plays.”
-Thad Matta, via Bill Landis, Cleveland.com
In a season which has already shown the inconsistency that plagued the Ohio State men’s basketball team last year, it seems that one player alone has risen above the noise to provide reliability for the 8-2 Buckeyes. Coming off the bench Saturday, big man Trevor Thompson scored 17 points alongside 17 rebounds for Ohio State against a strong UConn team, who had held the seven-foot center scoreless in last year’s meeting between the two teams.
Thus far, Thompson has been the most improved player on the Ohio State roster this season, averaging 11 points and a team-high 8.6 rebounds. He is also shooting nearly 67 percent from the field, which leads the team, and is one of the most reliable free throw shooters for Ohio State, hitting 26-of-33 from the line this season. Comparatively, he is averaging just over one turnover per game, which is low for a team which has been notoriously poor in that area.
Not only are his stats strong on the team for this season, they are also much-improved over his own performance last season. Through 10 games, Thompson has doubled his points, rebounds and blocks over the same 10 game stretch as last season. He has also increased his field goal percentage and spent more time--nearly five minutes per game longer--on the court this season.
Even so, Thad Matta cites focus as an issue for Thompson--something which plagued the big man last year and, at times, this season. Those momentary lapses in judgement have become less common, however, and Thompson has shown himself able to learn and rebound from those moments, putting himself and his team in a better position to make a play as a result. While the rest of the team has had its issues so far this season, Thompson has provided a reliable presence on the court.
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