Is Ohio State The New QB U?

After three years in charge, Urban Meyer has shown he knows how to get quarterbacks ready for the big time.

Ohio State has been a lot of “U’s” over the years.

Is it running back U? It’s the school of the only two-time Heisman winner, Archie Griffin, as well as Chic Harley, Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, Hop Cassady, Bob Ferguson, Jim Otis, Calvin Murray, Tim Spencer, Keith Byars, Eddie George, Maurice Clarett, Antonio Pittman, Beanie Wells and Carlos Hyde.

Linebacker U? Randy Gradishar, Tom Cousineau, Marcus Marek, Pepper Johnson, Chris Spielman, Steve Tovar, Lorenzo Styles, Andy Katzenmoyer, Na’il Diggs, A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis and Ryan Shazier would say that’s the case.

Offensive lineman U? Well, there’s only one of the best to ever play the game, Orlando Pace, along with such stars as John Hicks, LeCharles Bentley, Jim Parker, Bill Willis and others.

Wide receiver U? The names Paul Warfield, Cris Carter, Terry Glenn, David Boston, Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes, Michael Jenkins and others

But quarterback U? Never.

There have been some good ones in Ohio State history, ranging from longtime school record holder Art Schlichter to Heisman winner Troy Smith.

However, the school has always been known for its strong run game over its signal callers.

Until now.

This year, the Buckeyes showed they had three national championship-level QBs considering the team’s No. 3 signal caller led the team to the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

That has continued a run that started with Smith and has since included the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, Terrelle Pryor; another five-star talent in Braxton Miller; and this year’s stars, J.T. Barrett and Kenny Guiton.

The Buckeyes have transitioned into the era of the quarterback strongly, first starting with the work of Jim Tressel and the late Joe Daniels, a noted quarterbacks guru in his own right who served as Tressel’s QBs coach.

Now, the trend shows no sign of stopping. Urban Meyer has been a quarterback whisperer everywhere he goes, putting talented, smart athletes into his QB-friendly system and reaping the benefits to a slew of rings including three national titles.

As he looks at his career, Meyer puts a lot of credit on the men actually in the arena who received snaps and led his team to glory.

“Chris Leak, Braxton Miller, Kenny Guiton, now Cardale Jones, J. T. Barrett,” he said. “That's good, I love saying it. Josh Harris (was) one of the best players I've ever been around, a skinny kid from Utah named Alex Smith who did okay, Chris Leak, national champion, Tim Tebow, Heisman national champion, Braxton Miller, Big Ten Player of the Year two years in a row, Kenny Guiton, best backup player in America, J. T. Barrett, Heisman, he finished (fifth), and then Cardale Jones.

“No.1, they're all competitors, and they're all guys that have bought into the system and really learned well. Obviously they're talented, but each one had such different talents.”

That part is true. Harris was the dual-threat guy who helped make dual-threat guys a thing, while Smith was more of a traditional passer but had the quickness and intelligence to run the system with success. Leak transformed himself into a national champion by using his strengths as well, while Tebow was the ultimate Meyer battering ram and consummate leader who pushed his team to the highest heights.

At OSU, each quarterback has brought something different as well. Miller’s athleticism is almost unparalleled and he improved as a passer each year under Meyer and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman, while Guiton was known for his ability to distribute the ball to the open man without forcing anything. The same could be said of Barrett, who also showed the ability to run effectively, while Jones is a physical specimen with a long stride and an excellent deep ball thanks to his cannon of an arm.

But there’s little doubt that Meyer has a knack for turning quarterbacks into stars – in his last nine years as a coach, Urban Meyer has had his quarterback finish in the top five of the Heisman voting five times – and now the nation knows that for a fact. After all, the Buckeyes have three quarterbacks on the roster who could likely start anywhere else in the nation, plus four-star talents Torrance Gibson and Joey Burrow on the way.

Here’s a look at the stats for each Meyer starting quarterback in his tenure.

Year QB Pass Yds Pass TDs Rush Yds Rush TDs Total QB Yds Total QB TDs
2001 Harris/Sahm 2,348 20 647 11 2,995 31
2002 Harris/Sahm 2,669 23 835 22 3,504 45
2003 Smith/Elliott 2,551 17 525 6 3,076 23
2004 Smith 2,952 32 631 10 3,583 42
2005 Leak 2,639 20 105 6 2,744 26
2006 Leak/Tebow 3,300 28 499 11 3,799 39
2007 Tebow 3,286 32 895 23 4,148 55
2008 Tebow/Brantley 2,981 33 681 12 3,662 45
2009 Tebow/Brantley 3,305 28 977 14 4,282 42
2010 Brantley/Reed/Burton 2,396 12 466 16 2,862 28
2012 Miller 2,039 15 1,271 13 3,310 28
2013 Miller/Guiton 2,843 38 1,398 17 4,241 55
2014 Barrett/Jones 3,694 41 1,234 12 4,928 53

As the numbers show, Meyer knows how to get production out of the most important spot on the field. And as long as the coach is in town, RB U, LB U, OL U and WR U might be QB U as well.

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