J.T. Barrett’s high school-coach told The Dispatch today that his former player is up to the task of taking over for Braxton Miller as Ohio State’s quarterback.
“If that’s the case,” Jim Garfield said of the possibility of Miller being out for the year, “J.T. Barrett will respond to the challenge, and he will lead the Buckeye Nation.”
Garfield coached Barrett at Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider High School. He called him one of the best leaders he’s ever had in almost 30 years of coaching.
“He’ll do great,” Garfield said. “I have no doubt about it, because of his leadership ability, his athletic ability. He understands what he can and can’t do. He won’t overextend himself in any way, as far as making stupid mistakes. He’ll do what he has to do to make sure the offense operates.”
Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman recruited Barrett, who was the first quarterback signed by Ohio State under Urban Meyer.
“He is a field general,” Garfield said. “He is going to run the offense. He will take exactly what the defense gives him. I’m sure coach Herman will develop a plan that’s suitable for J.T. As a person, this is what he’s made for.”
He said that while Herman liked what Barrett did on the field, he was attracted by his maturity, leadership and poise even more.
“He was like born older, man,” Garfield said. “He was one of those kids that understood what responsibility and leadership was.
“He’s got a mother and father that are just tremendous individuals. They learned him up right as he was young.”
Barrett can empathize with Miller’s plight. His senior season at Rider was cut short when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Garfield said that Barrett handled the injury without any self-pity.
“He was a field general on the sideline,” Garfield said. “He was able to manage the sideline just like a coach would. It was tough losing him. There’s no doubt about it. But he stepped up and was the leader throughout the rest of the year.”
Barrett redshirted last season as he completed his rehab and recently overtook Cardale Jones for the second-string spot behind Miller, who reinjured his shoulder in practice yesterday.