In three short months, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has gone from a question mark to an exclamation point as a Buckeye, from replacing injured Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller as an unproven stopgap to potentially replacing him as a better player.
But former Ohio State star and Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter believes Miller, who was lost for the season to a shoulder injury in August, should be under center once again next season.
"Braxton Miller is a special football player and has been special since he stepped on campus," Carter said on the Mike and Mike radio show, according to transcription at bucknuts.com. "J.T. has come a long way and everything, and the receivers and offensive line have helped out, but Braxton Miller would be up for the Heisman Trophy. (Barrett) is playing fabulous, and he is producing just like Braxton Miller, but (the 2015 quarterback question) is going to be fairly simple. J.T. has a very bright future. He's only a freshman. They don't have any quarterback issues for the next few years at Ohio State. Braxton is a special player, and a special leader, too."
Barrett has posted a very Miller-like season as a freshman. He's thrown for a few hundred more yards than Miller did a year ago, and rushed for a few hundred less. But the bottom line is that he has the Buckeyes in a position -- a potential College Football Playoff berth -- that nobody outside of Columbus, Ohio, thought he could command when he took on the starting role as an unknown in Week 1.
It's a situation that Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has wisely decided to put off until next season, noting recently that competition brings out the best in players and he looks forward to having two very good QBs in 2015. As long as Miller is unavailable, and Barrett is leading OSU to what could be a Big Ten championship season, Meyer gains nothing by picking sides early. The ever-opinionated Carter can call the Buckeyes' 2015 quarterback competition how he sees it now, however. And while a groundswell of support for Barrett to supplant Miller has begun to take hold, Carter hasn't forgotten that Miller is still one of college football's most dynamic playmakers.