Quarterback J.T. Barrett keeps turning heads, even at the Ohio State team dinner table. Although many other players probably call it a day at about that time, "He went back in at 7:30 last night to watch more film of Minnesota," offensive line coach Ed Warinner said on Thursday, referring to Barrett's focus on a game Saturday at Minnesota.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett keeps turning heads, even at the Ohio State team dinner table.
Although many other players probably call it a day at about that time, "He went back in at 7:30 last night to watch more film of Minnesota," offensive line coach Ed Warinner said on Thursday, referring to Barrett's focus on a game Saturday at Minnesota.
In all facets of playing and preparation, "He's just relentless," coach Urban Meyer said.
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Barrett also is compiling quite the statistics. Consider that just nine games into his first season as a starter, the redshirt freshman from Wichita Falls, Texas, has:
Thrown 26 touchdown passes, four short of Troy Smith's Ohio State record set in his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2006. And Barrett still has at least four games left - up to six if things break right for the Buckeyes with the College Football Playoff committee. Barrett already has tied the school record with six touchdown passes in one game.
Rushed for eight touchdowns, which means, including the passing scores, he has been responsible for 204 points, second nationally to 228 for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Passed with an efficiency rating of 172.9 (completed 150 of 223 passes for 2,156 yards with 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions), second nationally to Mariota's 184.6 (186 of 277, 2,780 yards, 29 touchdowns and two interceptions in 10 games).
Rushed for 582 yards, second on the team to running back Ezekiel Elliott's 863, but he leads the Buckeyes with eight touchdown runs, one more than Elliott. And Barrett has the team's longest run from scrimmage, 55 yards in the fourth quarter last week in a 49-37 victory over Michigan State.
Acquired 13 Big Ten or national plaudits, the latest yesterday in being named the Maxwell Award national player of the week. Barrett has been named the top offensive performer in the Big Ten three times and the top freshman five times.
Meyer and Warinner pointed out that a huge reason for that production and recognition has been Barrett's preparation. But he has opposing teams preparing for him intently, too - for example, coach Jerry Kill of Minnesota.
Like most coaches on Ohio State's schedule, Kill probably breathed a sigh of relief when word got out in August that senior Braxton Miller, a two-time Silver Football Award winner as Big Ten MVP, had been lost for the season because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.
"I will tell you this: I said Braxton Miller, when we started the year, was the best quarterback (in the Big Ten) and maybe one of the best in the country," Kill said.
Now he has seen video of Barrett, especially the way he carved up Michigan State last week with 300 yards passing, including three touchdowns, and 86 yards rushing, including two more scores. He also knows that Barrett has passed for 219 or more yards in seven games this season, including three of 300 or more.
"Braxton is very, very good, but this young man, they've done a great job of bringing him along," Kill said. "And he has the same type of running ability, but he throws the ball better right now, I believe, than what Braxton did, and Braxton threw it good.
"But this kid is on fire. And his receivers are - we haven't seen any receivers like this since we played TCU. I mean that type of speed. So they're built for speed. They do a great job of recruiting, and they've done a great job of developing that young man."