Earlier this week, Clemson safety Jadar Johnson called out Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett. With the two set to square off on Saturday night in the Fiesta Bowl, Johnson took to the microphone to speak about the Buckeyes’ junior signal caller. Through a variety of comments, Johnson said the he believes that Barrett’s play this season has been good, but not great.
Johnson called Barrett “pretty good”, but went on to add that Clemson has “definitely faced quarterbacks better than him”. He closed his statement out by restating that Barrett is “definitely a good player”, but said that he lacks accuracy with his throws.
Predictably, the college football world reacted by not only questioning the comments, but also questioning who Jadar Johnson even is. For a little background, Jadar Johnson is a senior, he is a starter, and in this case, he is correct.
The opening point in Johnson’s trash talk was that Clemson has faced better quarterbacks than JT Barrett this season. That is a fact. Don’t forget that Clemson had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Lamar Jackson and Louisville early in the season.
Also, don’t freak out when you read this next sentence, but Jerod Evans of Virginia Tech is tougher to stop than JT Barrett. Evans was quite the handful for Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, running over defenders all night long. Evans also has the ability to scamper, rushing for 12 TDs this season.
Now lets get into JT Barrett himself. As a freshman, he set the college football world ablaze. All he did was finish second in the country in passer rating, while accounting for 45 total TDs. Barrett was so good in his freshman season that the team decided to move Braxton Miller to H-Back following his return from injury. The same Braxton Miller who at one point won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year as a quarterback. Then came Barrett’s injury.
Nearing the end of his stellar freshman campaign, Barrett suffered a gruesome leg injury. That opened the door for Cardale Jones to lead the Buckeyes to the national title and threw a major wrench in Barrett’s career plans. When Barrett did return in 2015, he split time with Jones, and wasn’t as efficient when he did play.
This season, even with the loss of RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State is loaded with talent at every position. With playmakers surrounding him on offense, Barrett has often found himself in game-manager mode this season. The Buckeyes have relied on Barrett less this season than they did in their 2014 championship campaign.
There’s no questioning the fact that JT Barrett has been a big part of Ohio State’s success this season. The reality is, however, that Barrett has been good, but not great. Compared to his 2014 numbers, Barrett’s declined in many statistical categories. Some of those include passing yards, passing TDs, completion percentage, passer rating, rushing yards, rushing TDs, and yards per carry.
JT Barrett may be just good, not great, but the Buckeyes haven’t needed greatness from him this season. Their offense is dynamic, and they’ll be looking to pick apart the Tigers defense in Arizona to punch their tickets to the National Championship Game.