While one door closed after the win, another has opened for the Buckeyes. Coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State now will look to a future without Barrett behind center, and they will have to replace the most prolific quarterback in Big Ten history.
Although Dwayne Haskins likely will be the favorite to take the starting job next season — and there is a select group that would like to see redshirt freshman Tate Martell get a shot as the starting quarterback next season — another option for the Buckeyes is Joe Burrow.
However, Burrow said on Friday night that he has a decision to make about his future over the next couple of weeks. Burrow is weighing whether to stay at Ohio State and compete for the starting job next season or to transfer to another program.
“I have to talk to my parents about it, talk to my coaches, and just make a decision here in the near future,” Burrow said.
“I don’t know. I’m leaning toward staying.”
When asked about the process of coming to terms with considering a transfer, Burrow said it was tough on him.
“Yeah, it was pretty devastating to me for a while,” Burrow said. “I came to terms with it the last couple weeks. Either way, no matter what I do, I’m going to have to come out and compete somewhere. I felt like I got a lot better in the last couple weeks of bowl practice, and that was good.”
Burrow, who has been on Ohio State’s depth chart over the last three seasons, would prove to be a strong candidate for the job if he opts to stay. While Haskins got most of the backup reps this season, including when he led the Buckeyes to victory in The Game after Barrett left with a right knee injury, Burrow provides experience and familiarity with Ohio State’s system. He brings a dual-threat playmaking ability and a strong knowledge of Ohio State’s offense.
There is no easy way to replace a quarterback such as Barrett, who has not only been starting behind center for the Buckeyes for the better part of the last four seasons but also has been the only three-time captain in program history.
That being said, Burrow has worked with Barrett over the last three seasons. If he stays, Burrow has a legitimate chance to be the heir apparent to Barrett.