After a shaky 2016, J.T. Barrett’s success will determine how far the Ohio State Buckeyes can go.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, the Ohio State Buckeyes should be a team to compete for a championship in 2017. But just how far they get or how many games they win is up to senior QB, J.T. Barrett.
Barrett and the Buckeyes offense got off to a hot start in 2016 but quickly cooled down. The play calling was disastrous. The offensive line seemed like it couldn’t like a block for longer than 2 seconds. Receivers couldn’t get separation from defenders. A quarterback who seemed like he took a step backwards. But with all of that mess, the Buckeyes still managed to make the playoffs.
Out of 128 FBS Division I schools, OSU ranked 74th in passing during the 2017 season.
Of course the Buckeyes did not have a standout No. 1 receiver for Barrett to throw to but in 2017 that is going to change. The receiving core is more experienced and ready to take on the challenges.
In 2016, Campbell was used mainly as a return man. He still managed 121 yards on 13 catches and a touchdown. In 2017 though he will be looked at as the guy who replaces Curtis Samuel. Urban Meyer has used the word “Playmaker” when describing Campbell. A playmaker is what he is going to need to be.
Terry McLaurin and Binjimen Victor will be 1 and 2 on the outside.
However, Binjimen Victor should be the No. 1 1 option for Barrett. Victor has a 6’4 frame. If there is something Ohio State receivers have lacked in the past it has been size. In 2017, the story is a little different.
In the spring game, Victor set himself aside from all other receivers. He was running crisp, clean routes. He added some muscle and he was winning jump balls with no problem. Victor has made himself an all around complete receiver for J.T. to throw the ball too.
Victor will be getting the majority of the snaps at WRX but will rotate time with Austin Mack.
Along with McLaurin, Victor and Campbell, J.T. has one of the best safety valves in the nation in Marcus Baugh.
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Baugh is a 6-foot-5, 250 pound machine that can do pretty much everything. He can pass block, run block, catch the ball, run, and even shed tackles with no problem. Baugh, however was last seen in a walking boot. When asked about it Meyer said that it was just inflammation of the toe and Baugh will be ready to go when fall camp starts.
With all of these pieces, it is now up to J.T. Barrett to finish the puzzle. Fans have seen what Barrett is capable of. Perfect example is back in 2014 when Braxton Miller had shoulder surgery before the season even started. Barrett stepped in, threw for over 2800 yards, 34 touchdowns, ran for 938 yards and added 11 more rushing touchdowns before going down with a broken ankle to end his season.
In 2015, fans can argue Barrett had to deal with the quarterback competition. That is a very valid argument. Even last season the Buckeyes were in rebuild mode after loosing almost everything to the NFL draft.
This season, however, is for J.T. Barrett to step up and show just how good of a quarterback he is. And everyone knows what Barrett can do. He holds numerous Ohio State records and has the record for most touchdowns in the Big Ten in a season.
The offensive line is more experienced, receivers are more experienced, and there is a new offensive coordinator in Kevin Wilson.
J.T. Barrett will get his first big test of the season when the Buckeyes take on Oklahoma the second game of the season. Incase anyone forgot, in 2016 the Buckeyes went to Norman, Oklahoma and came out with a win.
This season the Buckeyes will be at home when they take on the Sooners.