Ohio State: Looking into the post-J.T. Barrett future for Buckeyes at QB
All week long, our Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes will address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our new daily feature. To ask Austin Ward a question, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday through Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
Haskins, Burrow, or Martell next year. Emory Jones?
— J Ham (@therealhambizzl) December 6, 2017
J.T. Barrett isn’t done yet, but it’s probably acceptable to start turning a little attention to Ohio State’s future at quarterback before the senior gets his sendoff in the Cotton Bowl. After all, the most important position on the field rarely fails to deliver intrigue with the Buckeyes, and that’s certainly going to be the case again once Barrett’s decorated, four-year tenure comes to an end later this month.
Between what he did this season in the backup role and his impressive cameo in the The Game, Dwayne Haskins is the odds-on favorite to take the torch and lead the offense next season. His rocket-fueled right arm can provide a different dynamic to Urban Meyer’s power-spread system, giving Ohio State the ability to stretch the field the way Cardale Jones did during that memorable run to the national championship in 2014. Even better for the Buckeyes? Haskins has shown an ability to extend plays with his legs and has better mobility than he usually gets credit for, which will continue to allow Ohio State to even up the numbers in the rushing attack in the way Meyer prefers to operate.
But even with Haskins having the edge, that doesn’t end the discussion. Joe Burrow’s unfortunately timed hand injury during training camp in some ways handed Haskins the backup job by ending the head-to-head competition. With Burrow being completely healthy again in the spring, he could push for the top job once again, assuming Ohio State uses those practices for a true open battle to replace Barrett.
Burrow’s situation will bear monitoring because he’s on track to graduate in the spring. That combined with his talent would potentially make him an appealing option as a transfer who would be eligible right away for his final two seasons. Ohio State has done a remarkable job developing and keeping its quarterbacks in the program since Meyer arrived, but Burrow could have a tough decision to make — particularly with pressure coming from behind in the form of the X-factor, Tate Martell.
The Martell hype didn’t slow down at all during his redshirt season. He routinely was singled out for praise for his work with the scout team, and the dual-threat weapon is going to have opportunities to push for playing time moving forward. At this point, it seems more likely that Ohio State would be looking to carve out room for packages to get him on the field than to see him leap over Haskins, but obviously there is nothing guaranteed at this point.
One way or the other, the quarterback position at Ohio State is about to get a whole lot more interesting again.