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J.T. Barrett is still humble despite being named to Heisman watch list

After a tumultuous 2015 season, J.T. Barrett is not taking his pre-season hype for granted.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

"It’s one of those things, you see it and you are honored to be part of (the discussion), seeing that it is a great fraternity to be part of. But it’s not something you dwell upon too long, because you know that all of the work that has to be put in in order for those kinds of things to happen, it’s still ahead of you and your team."

-Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, via Tim May, the Columbus Dispatch

In the slew of betting odds and preseason watch lists released in recent weeks, Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett is among an elite group already in consideration for the Heisman Trophy. According to gambling website Bovada, Barrett is tied for fourth in the Heisman race with 12-to-1 odds behind LSU running back Leonard Fournette (4-to-1), Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson (9-to-2) and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (11-to-2). Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook are tied with Barrett at 12-to-1.

Of course, Barrett is no stranger to this hype. He had finished fifth in the Heisman voting in 2014 after setting a conference record for touchdowns responsible for at 45, among others. Despite a broken ankle which knocked him out of the post-season and most of spring practice, bettors still were confident in Barrett. Heading into last season, Barrett was sitting at 9-to-1 odds for the Heisman behind fellow teammate Ezekiel Elliott and TCU’s Trevone Boykin, both of whom led the country with 5-to-1 odds. Things obviously changed when Cardale Jones was named the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes, who himself had 14-to-1 odds to win the trophy.

With Barrett heading into this season as the unchallenged starting quarterback, the odds would seem to be in his favor. However, Barrett recognizes how much can change over the course of a season, and, above all, the work he will have to put in to have a shot at making it to the stage for the Heisman presentation in December: "When you see a watch list or anything like that, you’re definitely grateful for being recognized for things you’ve done in past seasons...but when you look at the guys who have won them, I think they’re guys who were all about the team first, winning and doing the best they can to help their team. That’s how I focus on it."

With the opening of Big Ten Media Days this morning, the start of college football seems closer than ever. Now, with Ohio State’s season opener against Bowling Green just five weeks from Saturday, the Buckeyes have released the official, 115-man roster and media guide. In all, there are four seniors, 20 juniors, 17 sophomores, 20 redshirt freshmen and 23 true freshmen on scholarship heading into this season.

You can check out the full listing of true freshmen here.

The Buckeyes also released several notable number changes:

  • CB Damon Arnette (No. 13 to No. 3)
  • DE Rashod Berry (No. 24 to No. 13)
  • LB Nick Conner (No. 34 to No. 43)
  • WR Johnnie Dixon (No. 5 to No. 1)
  • DE Jalyn Holmes (No. 10 to No. 11)
  • CB Joshua Norwood (No. 14 to No. 28)
  • WR Corey Smith (No. 84 to No. 5)
  • RB Antonio Williams (No. 3 to No. 26)

In other changes, quarterback J.T. Barrett was listed at 6-foot-1, 222-pounds--an inch shorter and three pounds lighter than 2015. Meanwhile, freshman quarterback Joe Burrows added on 10 pounds, and is now sitting at 218. Finally, freshman punter Drue Chrisman was listed on the roster, despite initial plans that he would be grey-shirted in 2016.

Check out the full 2016 media guide here.

"This is a hungry group. It’s a talented group, and it’s a hungry group. I like the team."

-Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck, via Sam McKewon, World-Herald Bureau

While this year’s wealth of talent may be less proven than the last for second-year Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck, he is still excited for the potential of the group behind returning starting quarterback J.T. Barrett. Beck has learned a lot from head coach Urban Meyer in constantly innovating and staying creative, and hopes to keep the offense fresh and exciting as we head towards the start of the 2016 season.

Last season, with Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller in the mix, Beck faced a different sort of challenge in managing the group of offensive weapons. With three different personalities with different skillsets, none could be coached in exactly the same way. Combined with the fact that all were such popular and high-profile figures (and all were, at some point, in the Heisman discussion), Beck had embarrassment of riches in his efforts to select a starting quarterback for the 2015 season.

The first season, in many ways, was an adjustment over Beck’s previous role at Nebraska coaching Taylor Martinez. It would have seemed to have been a simple transition for the Buckeyes, given that Tom Herman’s offense in 2014 ran as smoothly as any, but Beck faced more issues than he thought heading to Columbus, culminating in the team’s only loss of the season to Michigan State. Beck subsequently faced criticism from all sides--including from running back Ezekiel Elliott--about his conservative play calling.

Following the loss, Beck went to the press box with Ed Warriner--the same spot Herman had called from during the Buckeyes’ title run--for Ohio State’s final two games against Michigan and Notre Dame. With Barrett at quarterback, the offense finally seemed to find its lost rhythm.

Beck will face off against his former team when the Buckeyes take on Nebraska Nov. 5 in Columbus.

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