Meet a Buckeye: Safety C.J. Barnett

Staff Writer
The Columbus Dispatch

C.J. Barnett was emerging as one of the young standouts of the Ohio State secondary last year. He had a huge hit on a Miami receiver on one play and broke up a touchdown pass on another. But his coming-out party was aborted when he suffered torn ligaments in his right knee later in the Miami game, ending his season. Now he's back and has earned a starting spot for the Buckeyes.

Q - What does C.J. stand for?

A - Charles Junior.

Q - Tell me about your family.

A - I have a mom and a stepdad and a younger sister, who's 15. She does basketball and track. That's pretty much it. Kind of boring. For an outside family, I've got a dog and a girlfriend.

Q - You were an honor-roll student in high school, right?

A - I had all A's until one of my last classes and I got a B. I think my grade-point average was like a 3.98.

Q - What was the B in?

A - Trigonometry or pre-calculus my junior year. I think the teacher had a little something against me. I don't know what it was.

Q - How bummed were you?

A - I was mad because grades were really important. To get all A's throughout high school was pretty cool. When I got that B, it kind of put me down a little bit, but it's all right.

Q - Where'd that desire to excel in school come from?

A - My mom always stressed getting good grades. And if you're going to do something, you might as well do it to the best of your ability.

Q -What are your hobbies?

A - It used to be playing video games and just watching TV or whatever. But now that I've got a girlfriend, it's usually just kicking it with her if I'm not doing the football thing.

Q - How long have you been dating her?

A - What's today? Like three months and 10 days or something like that.

Q - You're still counting the days. You must really be in love …

A - (Laughing). I mean, if she's going to read this, you can say that.

Q -What are you studying at Ohio State?

A - Criminology. I'm thinking if I want to double-major or go for my master's since I have an extra year after getting hurt.

Q - What's your GPA here?

A - I think like a 2.98.

Q - How much do you want to get it above 3.0?

A - I've been working for that. I had two bad quarters. But I'm getting it back up there. I had some hard classes, (particularly) Chem 121. It was one of those weed-out classes, and they weeded me out. I was going to go into engineering. It was over after that.

Q - What do you want to do after football?

A - Wherever life takes me. I'm kind of a free spirit. I'm majoring in criminology, but if I have a long career in football, I'll just want to chill and relax with my family.

Q - In what ways are you a free spirit?

A - I just like to enjoy myself and have fun, but do it the right way. I'm not too serious about many things besides football and my family (and grades).

Q - The Miami game last year was your breakout game, and then you suffered a season-ending knee injury in that game before you could even really enjoy it. What did that do to you?

A - It was pretty tough getting hurt, but like I tell everybody, that opened opportunities for other people. Orhian (Johnson) got to come back in there and do his thing, just like Tyler Moeller going down let Christian Bryant come in there. Everything happens for a reason, and there's good in everything.

Q - You've said you play defense with "bad intentions." Where does that come from?

A - I think it's just putting on that jersey. People who put on that jersey before us, like Jack Tatum, you don't want to let them down, or especially your teammates. That's the only way you can play defense, with bad intentions. You can't go out there wanting to love-tap somebody.

Q - You and Kurt Coleman went to the same high school, Clayton Northmont in suburban Dayton. You took his number 4, right?

A -We wore the same number in high school, so I said, 'Why not wear the same number in college?' Wearing that number and trying to fill his shoes, if I can do half of what he did, I'll be all right.

C.J. Barnett

Age: 20

Year: Redshirt sophomore

Vitals: 6 feet, 190 pounds

Hometown: Dayton (Clayton Northmont)

Major: Criminology