As Ohio State turned its full attention to playing Saturday at Michigan, quarterback J.T. Barrett was named one of three finalists for the Davey O’Brien Award.

He made the cut along with Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, who is considered the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. The award goes to the best major college quarterback. Barrett and the Buckeyes, with a 52-14 win over Illinois last week, clinched the Big Ten East Division's spot in the league championship game Dec. 2 against Wisconsin.

Against Illinois, Barrett threw two touchdown passes, increasing his Big Ten career record to 101, and he became just the second Big Ten player to top 12,000 yards of total offense in a career. He has 12,149, and with at least three games to play is within striking distance of Drew Brees’ Big Ten record (12,692).

Barrett, a four-year starter, owns 35 Big Ten and/or Ohio State records.

“Elite” when locked in

The latest version of the College Football Playoff selection committee’s rankings will be unveiled Tuesday night. Ohio State was No. 9 last week.

Hybrid back Parris Campbell said the Buckeyes have put themselves back in the discussion to finish in the top four. The challenge is to stay on the rise, he said, especially after a 31-point loss at Iowa on Nov. 4 that cast doubt on their worthiness.

“I definitely think we’re one of the elite teams, but I don’t think that comes without every single guy locked in, focused on their job,” Campbell said. “I think when we’re that focused then we’re definitely one of the elite teams.”

Fuller expected back

Senior safety Erick Smith gained his first career start on senior day last week against Illinois. He started in place of Jordan Fuller, who suffered a knee injury late in the week, according to insiders.

Coaches decided just before the game to have Smith start. Coach Urban Meyer said Monday that Smith “played very well” but that Fuller is expected back this week.

“He's probable. He should play,” Meyer said. “He had a little leg injury that just wasn't quite ready for game time.”

tmay@dispatch.com

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