J.T. Barrett Returning To Ohio State For Senior Season

J.T. Barrett said after the loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff that it would be difficult to leave Ohio State on such a bad note.

He’ll get a chance to make better memories next season.

Barrett announced Wednesday via Instagram and Twitter that he has decided to play his redshirt senior season at Ohio State.

Barrett was named the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year as a redshirt freshman in 2014, but was hurt prior to the College Football Playoff as Ohio State went on to win the national championship. Barrett won the award again this season, throwing for 24 touchdowns and rushing for nine more.

But Barrett threw two interceptions and finished with minus-2 rushing yards in the Buckeyes’ 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. He completed only 50.6 percent of his passes with one touchdown and three picks over Ohio State’s last three games, further submarining a draft stock that wasn’t all that high to begin with.

Barrett’s return will be a major coup for the Buckeyes, though. Ohio State still is awaiting a decision from standout athlete Curtis Samuel regarding his future, but running back Mike Weber will rejoin Barrett in the backfield next season as the Buckeyes look to make another CFP run.

Ohio State has already lost three early entrants to the NFL draft. Defensive backs Malik Hooker and Gereon Conley, along with linebacker Raekwon McMillan, have foregone their remaining eligibility to turn pro.

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Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett to return in 2017 for senior season

There hadn't been much concern about Barrett leaving to enter the NFL Draft since he's not considered an early round draft pick at this point, but at least things are official now.

Returning for his senior season will also allow Barnett a chance to leave on a higher note than the one he would have left on this season following Ohio State's 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. Barrett completed 19-of-33 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions in the game, and he rushed for minus-2 yards on 11 carries.

Barnett became Ohio State's starter in 2014 when Braxton Miller suffered an injury in the preseason and had a fantastic season. He threw for 2,834 yards and 34 touchdowns while completing 64.7 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 938 yards and 11 touchdowns but missed the Buckeyes final three games of the season -- the Big Ten title game as well as two playoff victories -- because of his own injury.

The last two seasons have seen Barrett head the wrong direction. He had to split time with Cardale Jones in 2015, and this year, his completion percentage dropped to a career low of 61.5 percent. Ohio State is hopeful that new quarterback coach Ryan Day and a new offensive coordinator can reverse that trend in 2017.

J.T. Barrett gets one more chance to prove it by staying at Ohio State

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett posted on Instagram that he’s returning for his senior season, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

This should make Buckeyes fans happy. Barrett is 26-4 as Ohio State’s starter. He hasn’t lost to Michigan. He has had a career with more ups and downs than most NFL quarterbacks. He has accounted for 100 total touchdowns. 

Think about that — 100 touchdowns. That’s a career that’s going to be celebrated long after he leaves Columbus.

Yeah, but what about right now? The Buckeyes are coming off a 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. That’s why Ohio State coach Urban Meyer acted swiftly with a set of coaching hires. Ryan Day — a Chip Kelly disciple — is the new quarterbacks coach. Former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson is reportedly close to becoming the new offensive coordinator. Credit Meyer for making those changes.

It’s a pivotal year ahead for Ohio State, which likely won’t be given the benefit of the doubt as far as the College Football Playoff race without a Big Ten championship in hand. That’s not going to be easy.

Michigan will improve in Jim Harbaugh’s third season with Wilton Speight. Penn State likely will be picked to win the conference in most preseason polls behind Sporting News Coach of the Year James Franklin and Heisman Trophy candidates Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley. Ohio State’s trump card in that race the past few seasons has been the combination of Meyer and Barrett.

That’s why this is a pivotal year for Barrett, too. He has experienced everything at Ohio State. This is the same quarterback who set the Big Ten record for total touchdowns in 2014 before a season-ending ankle injury. He lost the starting job to Cardale Jones in 2015, regained it, lost it after being cited with OVI, then regained it again and led the Buckeyes to victories over Michigan in the regular-season finale and Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

Barrett then led Ohio State to the College Football Playoff on the strength of three victories against top 10 teams this season. He’s in the Heisman Trophy discussion every year, even if he hasn’t been a finalist yet. In most cases, that would be enough to be the most-celebrated quarterback in school history. At most schools, he wouldn’t have anything to prove.

Most schools aren’t Ohio State.

Clemson's rout of the Buckeyes was the culmination of the Buckeyes' problems the past two seasons. The Buckeyes haven’t had a consistent downfield passing attack, and the Tigers exposed that. Barrett had 11 carries for minus-2 yards in the loss. Critics will start bringing up the names of other quarterbacks in the stable, including Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and incoming freshman Tate Martell.

That’s not going to happen. Barrett is going to start for Ohio State in 2017, and it’s important to remember he’ll be on his third different quarterback coach — Tom Herman and Tim Beck are now both at Texas — and third different offensive coordinator — Herman and Ed Warinner. That feels like most NFL quarterbacks, too.

It might seem like Barrett has been at Ohio State forever, but the same can’t be said about those assistant coaches.

Barrett now will work with a different combination, and maybe that takes his game to the next level — and gets him a look at the next level. That wasn’t coming after this season, especially after that loss to Clemson. Barrett now will get that chance to take one more run through the Big Ten, where Penn State and Michigan will be among the challengers. Perhaps Barrett will get the chance to run out of the tunnel as the starter at the Big Ten championship game as a starter, something he couldn’t do after the season-ending injury against Michigan in 2014.

He’ll need to get the Buckeyes back in the playoff. It won’t hurt his draft status, either. Barrett needs this season to prove himself all over again. More accomplishments are on the way, and Barrett will add more touchdowns. Barrett needs just four to tie the Big Ten career record set by Purdue’s Drew Brees from 1997-2000.

That’s not why Barrett came back. Ohio State needs him to win that Big Ten championship, and he needs one more year to get ready for the NFL. 

Don’t be surprised when both sides take full advantage of it.

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