OK, that might be a bit of a dramatic lede, but any discussion about the quarterback position at Ohio State now that Braxton Miller faces a serious shoulder injury that could end his season before it even began must begin with a realization that the guy who was the security blanket for so long now suits up for the L.A. Kiss.
“By no stretch of the imagination are we where we were at that position with Kenny Guiton, arguably the best backup quarterback in college football the last two years,” quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said Monday. “To put those guys in that same category would be a little premature.”
Those guys he’s referring to are sophomore Cardale Jones, redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett and even true freshman Stephen Collier, but the next three words out of Herman’s mouth were likely positive for Ohio State fans even though the three quarterbacks listed above have completed a grand total of one pass in their collegiate careers.
“I’m not worried,” Herman said.
Maybe the worry level changes some after Miller’s Monday evening injury, but the fact of the matter remains the Buckeyes have three talented if green signal callers on scholarship remaining on the roster.
They won’t have the veteran leadership or game reps of Miller – or even the faculty for mental reps and cool, calm demeanor of Guiton – but Barrett and Jones bring something to the table after spending both the spring and large parts of fall camp alternating with the first unit.
“I’m OK with where we’re at right now,” Herman said Aug. 10 at OSU’s annual media day. “We have two guys that are inexperienced, but I think the progression of where they are in their career is really at the end of the day where quarterbacks are supposed to be. You’re not supposed to be thrown into the fire like Braxton Miller as a true freshman at quarterback. You’re just not.
“You see it in the NFL, there’s first-round draft picks at quarterback that aren’t going to start for their NFL teams. Why? Because they need this seasoning, they need the experience, they need the maturity. These guys, the two in Cardale and J.T., have grown and will continue to grow and they’re right on track.”
Of course, Herman said those words well before he knew the team would likely have to win a number of games without Miller on the field, but recent college football history is littered with young quarterbacks having breakout performances. Florida State’s Jameis Winston burst onto the scene last year as a redshirt freshman and won the national title and the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman, while Johnny Manziel won the Heisman the year before as a redshirt freshman as well. Tim Tebow also won the award under Meyer as a second-year quarterback in 2007 at Florida.
Those are obviously big shoes to fill and live up to, but both Barrett and Jones bring a lot to the table. The two have split time with the ones this fall with Barrett moving ahead during fall camp, but it could be all hands on deck to replace Miller.
The following are quick capsule breakdowns of each quarterback.
Via: Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider High School
Scout Rating: No. 13 QB, No. 151 player in class of 2013
Background: John Thomas (J.T.) Barrett enrolled at Ohio State in January 2013 and spent the spring season working out, but not running, while recovering from his 2012 knee surgery … he also rehabbed throughout the ’13 campaign ... he was considered one of the nation's premier dual threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2013, although his senior season came to an early end with a knee injury in the fifth game of the season ... Barrett rushed for 569 yards with seven touchdowns and passed for 784 yards and five scores as a senior prior to the injury ... he rushed for over 1,500 yards with nine touchdowns and passed for over 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns for coach Jim Garfield's Raiders as a junior ... he is the son of Stacy and John Barrett and he has two brothers: Xavier and Stephen.
2014 Spring Game Stats: 17 for 33, 151 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; six rushes, 21 yards
More Info: Barrett A New Man In Second Year
Scout Rating: No. 24 QB in class of 2010
Via: Cleveland Glenville High School and Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy
Background: Jones had his first collegiate action in 2013, playing a total of 39 plays from scrimmage in games vs. Florida A&M, Penn State and Purdue ... only attempted one pass in those three games that Ohio State won by a collective score of 195-14, but did rush 17 times for 128 yards (a 7.5 per carry average) and scored one touchdown, a 10-yard run vs. Florida A&M. … Redshirted in 2012 after enrolling in January … Jones signed his national letter of intent in February 2011, but attended Fork Union Military Academy for one semester that fall and roomed with 2012 Ohio State recruit Michael Thomas ... he led perennial northeast Ohio high school power Cleveland Glenville to a 24-3 record as a starting quarterback ... passed for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in 2011 for coach Ted Ginn and was named third-team Division I all-state by the Associated Press ... threw for 2,168 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior in 2009, and he also had 14 career rushing touchdowns ... was the MVP of the 2010 Offense-Defense Bowl, and he also played in the Big 33 Game ... a basketball letterman at Glenville ... is the son of Florence Jones..
2014 Spring Game Stats: 14 for 31, 126 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; eight rushes, 28 yards
More Info: Jones Has Come A Long Way To Lead Offense