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Ahead of his senior season, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett looks back at his Buckeye career

Even though he has already accomplished so much in Columbus, the quarterback has some unfinished business.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

“Even with all the success I’ve had, I know there are skeptics out there. Even some of our fans might feel like I’m not the best option at quarterback, but I’m just going to try and focus on the task at hand. That’s getting us better as a team. The harder I work here and the more team success we have, the better chance I have to position myself for the NFL.”

-Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett via Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports

Just two weeks before Ohio State is scheduled to open their 2017 season against Indiana, Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett sat down with Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel to not only talk about Barrett’s career so far at Ohio State, but what his senior season may hold. Barrett tore his ACL in high school, which lead to the quarterback coming to Ohio State overweight. While Barrett received some teasing from head coach Urban Meyer about his weight, he was able to earn his head coach’s trust, something that was key heading into the 2014 season when Barrett was called on to replace an injured Braxton Miller.

Barrett was stellar in replacing Braxton Miller, and put the Buckeyes in position to make the College Football Playoff before he was injured in the regular season finale against Michigan. The Buckeyes went on to win the national title, but Barrett saw himself on the bench to start the 2015 season behind Cardale Jones. Last year the quarterback job was undoubtedly Barrett’s and Ohio State again made the College Football Playoff, but were shutout in the semifinals by Clemson.

With just one season left at Ohio State, Barrett is trying to make the most of his senior campaign. The addition of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day has Barrett and the rest of the offense working with more confidence this year. Barrett is just hoping that he can finish out his Ohio State career strong, and when Buckeye fans remember him, they remember his as not only a winner but also a good guy. The dream for Barrett is to end his Buckeye career with another championship, and with his talent and the rest of the personnel Ohio State’s offense has, it doesn’t seem too far fetched.

“And when we talk, they still help me out and talk to me about what I need to do and what I need to get better on. It’s just all about working hard, working to be a first-round draft pick.”

-Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward on the group chat with former Ohio State cornerbacks via Austin Ward, Land of 10

These days it almost feels like a given that each year Ohio State is going to have a cornerback taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. A few years ago it was Bradley Roby. Two years ago Eli Apple was taken in the first round. Last year both Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore were selected on the first night of the draft. Denzel Ward could be the next Buckeye cornerback to be taken early in the Draft. As Ward tries to improve his draft stock, he has a number of former Buckeye defensive backs in his corner via a group chat the former cornerbacks have with the current corners.

Not only does the group chat help give the current Ohio State cornerbacks a glimpse of what their predecessors are going through in the NFL, but it also gives allows the current Buckeyes to get some feedback and support on how they are playing from those who were in their shoes over the past few years. Only recently was the group chat made known to Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, which just shows how much the current NFL players not only care about their former position coach, but also their alma mater. There aren’t many schools in the country that have as talented a group of former players doing their best to help mentor those hoping to join them in the pro ranks someday.

“Being a corner you’ve got to have something about yourself. I know that if I try to get inside (a receiver’s) head in practice, that’s something that’s going to happen to them in a game. And if I’m doing it in practice, that’s not going to bother them.”

-Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette via Tim May, The Columbus Dispatch

With Ohio State having two cornerbacks picked in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, there are a couple of holes the Buckeyes need to fill in the secondary. One cornerback who has made some waves so far with not only his play on the field, but also with what he says, is Damon Arnette. The cornerback has a reasoning for why he talks so much though, and that’s to help his teammates. Arnette feels if he gets the wide receivers used to some of the smack talk they might hear from opponents, the less the talk will bother the receivers during games.

Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs says that Arnette and fellow cornerback Denzel Ward have a leg up on four other Ohio State cornerbacks with just a few weeks left before the season opener. While there is no question that Arnette has the physical skills to excel on the football field, at times his maturity can hold him back. Coombs has said he has had a number of conversations with Arnette about his maturity, and it sounds like it is starting to click with Arnette, as he is playing with more consistency. Coombs compares Arnette to former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby, and if Arnette can play like Roby this year, the Buckeyes could have the makings of another first round cornerback on their hands in the future.

“I feel like I was robbed a little bit.”

Ohio State linebacker Dante Booker via Mitch Stacy, Associated Press

After what happened to him in 2016, it’s easy to understand why Dante Booker feels like he was robbed. After earning one of the starting linebacker spots coming out of preseason camp in 2016, Booker didn’t get to spend much time on the field before injuring his knee in the season opener against Bowling Green. Booker was able to return later in the season but by that time Jerome Baker had a firm hold on Booker’s job, and Ohio State decided it was best for Booker to take a medical redshirt.

With Raekwon McMillan having moved on to the NFL, Booker has already reclaimed a starting spot at linebacker. Chris Worley moved to the inside to take McMillan’s spot, while Booker and Baker will be the starting outside linebackers for the Buckeyes. Both head coach Urban Meyer and linebackers coach Bill Davis have high praise for Booker, with Meyer and Davis highlighting how hard Booker has worked. After what happened in the season opener last year, it’s certain that Booker isn’t going to do everything in his power to make sure the opportunity he has doesn’t slip through his fingers.

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