“I am not sad or excited or anything. I have been here a while, guys. People joke around and say I have played college football for seven years. I think that's a little extreme but the same thing when I think about it is just grateful for the opportunity to be at a place like Ohio State.”
J.T. Barrett has had quite the career at Ohio State and will have a chance to go out with a bang against the USC Trojans in the Cotton Bowl. Barrett is the first Buckeye quarterback to go 4-0 against Michigan, and has amassed a 37-6 record as a starter. He has the most career touchdowns in Big Ten history (145 and counting), surpassing Drew Brees and never looking back. He’s been heavily criticized since the 2014 season, but his record speaks for itself and Urban Meyer has consistently praised and backed his redshirt senior quarterback.
If Barrett can get the job done against the Trojans and help the Buckeyes (who just missed out on a playoff spot) get the win, it will go an extra mile in helping secure his legacy as one of the best quarterbacks in school history.
“It's not normal. We've looked at the great running backs we've had. Carlos Hyde was certainly not ready to play as a young player. Zeke Elliott was not -- he got pretty good real fast. But his freshman year was nothing compared to (Dobbins). And Weber took a minute to get to where he's had to get and he's fantastic right now. (It takes) a lot of maturity to be able to handle that position as a freshman.”
There’s so much potential surrounding freshman running back J.K. Dobbins. He came in this season and started the Indiana game, something that not many (if any) were expecting, and took over the Buckeyes rushing attack. He broke Maurice Clarett’s freshman record for a first game with 181 yards against the Hoosiers. Dobbins finished the season with 1,364 yards on 181 carries and seven touchdowns. In the Big Ten championship game, Dobbins had 174 yards and was the game’s MVP.
The future is bright for the running back as he becomes a sophomore next season, and perhaps down the line could be considered a contender for the Heisman Trophy should he continue his dominance. From the jump cuts, to the vision and speed, Dobbins seems to have nearly every part that the Buckeyes need from a running back. And it seems like so far, it’s a match made in heaven.
“The team [Ohio State] that fell just short of the No. 4 spot this year should have a good chance to leave no doubt about its playoff profile in 2018.”
ESPN is already looking ahead to next season a bit by taking a look at who the top contenders will be for the next College Football Playoff. For the sake of the article, Adam Rittenberg left out the current top four (Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama). Ohio State came first on the list, and for good reason. Urban Meyer’s squad barely missed out on the playoffs this season and return a lot of talent in 2018. The biggest question mark will be at quarterback, but Dwayne Haskins looked the part against Michigan and many called for him to be the starter against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
There’s a lot of talent returning on both sides of the ball, and the Buckeyes could receive even more hype if certain players were to return instead of declaring for the NFL Draft. Sam Hubbard, Denzel Ward, and Jerome Baker are the biggest names to stick out and have eligibility remaining after this season if they don’t declare. But, Ohio State still returns J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber, Nick Bosa, Tuf Borland, and could return most of the receiving core: Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin and Binjimen Victor.