One of the most intriguing questions during this college football offseason is who will Urban Meyer designate as his starting quarterback in 2015? Because of that and also because a friend and avid reader made the request, this article will predict who will start at quarterback for the Buckeyes.
Before we do that though, let’s take a brief look at the three superstar quarterbacks who are at the center of this quarterback controversy. Readers should be forewarned though, the author of this article does not claim to have any special powers of prophecy. This prediction will be based on a sports science known as pure guesswork.
The first of the three is Braxton Miller. Miller entered the 2014 season as a Heisman hopeful and the two-time Silver Award winner as the Big Ten’s top player. Had everything gone according to Hoyle, Miller would be getting ready for the NFL draft right now having completed his brilliant career at Columbus.
However, a strange thing happened when Miller injured his shoulder before the season started and he couldn’t play during 2014. With blazing speed and a good arm, he is a top NFL caliber quarterback.
Why is he even coming back to college in 2015? He could’ve declared for the draft and started his NFL career this upcoming season. The advantage of that would be more dollars in his wallet than he’s ever seen in his lifetime. He’s already proven himself in the two years he blazed like a comet across the college football realm.
Evidently, he feels he needs one more season of college football to prove to the pro scouts he’s rehabilitated his shoulder. If he stays at Ohio State through 2015 he runs the risk of sitting on the bench another year and getting even rustier while pro scouts doubts only increase.
It would be in Miller’s best interests to transfer to Florida State, LSU, Oregon, Texas or any other college. That way he will be guaranteed a starting position his last year and can prove to the NFL he’s recovered. He can transfer immediately because he’s already graduated from OSU.
The belief here is that Miller will at some point realize where his best interests lie and transfer to the University of Texas where he will be the closest thing to a Vince Young the Longhorns have had in eons. He will lead the Horns into contention for a Big 12 championship before he heads off to a career playing on Sunday afternoons.
His transfer to Texas or some other school, clarifies the picture in Columbus as to the starter. J.T. Barrett, who was voted the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, because he broke many Ohio State and Big Ten records, while leading the Buckeyes to a 10-1 record in 2014, will be available for seven on seven drills in spring practice, according to Meyer.
The fact that Barrett was so brilliant running the Buckeyes’ offense as a redshirt freshman, makes him the favorite to be the starter in 2015. Barrett has the reputation of being a “gym rat” or someone who thrives on studying countless hours of film and preparing for games.
He proved during the 2015 season that he is already one of the top quarterbacks in America with his dazzling passing and running skills. Of the three quarterbacks, he has probably the highest football IQ. He knows how to win games in difficult situations as he proved in the showdown game against favored Michigan State.
His coaches at Wichita Falls Rider High School all have raved at his brilliance during his tenure there. He was rated a four-star recruit coming out of high school and has proven he should’ve been a five-star recruit since he arrived in Columbus.
Although there is always the risk he could end up on the bench in 2015, he has three years of remaining eligibility. It would make sense Meyer would want to continue grooming him to lead the team for the next three years. Imagine how good he will be then, if he did this well as a freshman.
The third character in this drama is Cardale Jones, he of the howitzer for an arm. After Barrett beat him out to start during the 2014 season, he took over the reins when a wall of Wolverines broke J.T.’s ankle in the Michigan game. OSU was doing nothing in that game until Barrett broke loose for a long touchdown run to turn the tide of the game.
Jones played well in the last three games of the season with a blowout win against one-dimensional Wisconsin, overrated Alabama and Oregon in the national championship game. He caught the attention of the college football world when he led the Buckeyes to a national championship.
Jones has two years of college eligibility remaining since he was a redshsirt sophomore in 2014.
It would’ve been in Jones best interest to have declared for the NFL draft, but he didn’t. He could’ve turned into an instant millionaire based on the way he captured the eyes of the world with his sterling three games. With him returning to OSU, he runs the risk of sitting on the bench which will diminish his stock with NFL teams.
He will return and compete with J.T. in an intense duel prior to the 2015 season. The best he can hope for is to share time with Barrett. Meyer did that before at Florida when he rotated Chris Leak and Tim Tebow at quarterback en route to a national championship for the Gators.
Meyer has mentioned recently such an arrangement could work if both quarterbacks could control their egos. So evidently Meyer has been considering that as an option already.
The prediction here if there are no more injuries, is Barrett will start at OSU in 2015. Jones has a shot at seeing playing time alternating with Barrett. And Miller will transfer to Texas or LSU.
The longterm prediction is that if Barrett doesn’t at least see significant playing time in 2015, he may follow his Offensive Co-Ordinator to Houston in 2016 because he already knows the offense. Or if Texas hasn’t sorted out its questions by 2016, JT could land there for that year.
I hope my friend who requested I go out on a limb and make these bold predictions appreciates the fact I was willing to risk the storm of ciriticism should they not be accurate. However, if Meyer and his assistant coaches can’t see the wisdom of starting J.T. Barrett, I do refuse to accept responsiblity for their mistakes.
In the immortal words of Joe Namath who said he guaranteed the New York Jets would win Super Bowl 3, in absence of injuries, I guarantee Barrett will be the No. l quarterback at OSU next year unless the world ends before then. And I refuse to predict the date of the end of the world.