J.T. Barrett isn't walking into his junior season at Ohio State with blinders on. The quarterback knows he is considered one of the top six players in the Heisman Trophy race.
J.T. Barrett isn't walking into his junior season at Ohio State with blinders on.
The quarterback knows he is considered one of the top six players in the Heisman Trophy race.
"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 a part of," Barrett said. "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."
The odds on the gambling website Bovada show Barrett tied for fourth at 12-1 in the Heisman race with Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. They are behind LSU running back Leonard Fournette (4-1), Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson (9-2) and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (11-2).
But looking back a year, the final odds set by Bovada before the season had TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin and Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott tied for first at 5-1 and Barrett third at 9-1.
Then Barrett was made the backup to Cardale Jones, who had a strong three-game run in the 2014 postseason after Barrett suffered a broken ankle. Bets were being hedged, though, with Jones 14-1 in the Heisman race.
Barrett set multiple Ohio State and Big Ten records in 2014, including most touchdowns responsible for (45). He finished fifth in Heisman voting.
That led oddsmakers to believe he would regain the starting job in '15. He eventually did, but not until past midseason.
This season, Barrett is the unquestioned starter as well as a captain on a team that will feature 16 new starters.
Fournette, meanwhile, is coming back from a season in which his robust start was stunted by nagging injuries as LSU leaned on him to prop up the offense.
Watson is returning from a season in which he led Clemson to the national title game with Alabama. He was spectacular in that game despite the loss.
McCaffrey was the runner-up to Alabama running back Derrick Henry for the Heisman in 2015, a season in which McCaffrey was named the Associated Press player of the year after gaining an NCAA-record 3,824 all-purpose yards.
Henry was considered a 16-1 shot for the Heisman this time a year ago, and McCaffrey wasn't listed among a top 30 that contained four Buckeyes (Elliott, Barrett, Jones and Braxton Miller).
In other words, much can change between now and December, when the trophy is awarded.
Barrett, the only Big Ten player listed in the top 20 of the Heisman odds, could take a big step in a road game against Mayfield and Oklahoma on Sept. 17. But he said team welfare will be his only concern.
"When you see a watch list or anything like that, you're definitely grateful for being recognized for the 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 team first, winning and doing the best they can to help their team," Barrett said. "That's how I focus on it."