So, which QB gives Ohio State the best chance to compete for a second straight national title? Our analysts weighed in.
- Daniel Jeremiah NFL.com
Jones rises above rest
Ohio State is loaded at the most important position on the field. All three of their quarterbacks are capable of leading this team to another title. However, Cardale Jones is clearly the most talented signal-caller for Urban Meyer. He has elite size and arm strength as well as the ability to extend plays with his legs. He is the best thrower of the bunch by a wide margin.
- Charles Davis NFL.com
Go with the hot hand
While teams at all levels of football consider themselves fortunate to have one QB that can play at a level that allows them to dream of championships, the Ohio State Buckeyes legitimately have THREE. It's a challenge that most programs would eagerly embrace on the surface, but it's also one that will require finesse, and ultimately decisiveness from head coach Urban Meyer, and the coaching staff, as each player has a resume that makes a case for each to be named the starter.
If you privately polled the OSU receivers, my belief is that they would choose Cardale Jones due to his willingness to put the ball up deep and trust his WRs to go get it. But, it would not surprise me one bit to see J.T. Barrett reclaim the starting job due to his cool, controlled efficiency, and day-to-day high levels of production. As for Braxton Miller, he's still working through his shoulder rehab, so he has some ground to make up. If I have to pick one, and all things are equal, I ride the hot hand of Jones, knowing that I do have the ultimate trump card in my back pocket -- RB Ezekiel Elliott.
- Gil Brandt NFL.com
Barrett best fit for Meyer
Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones each have qualities that lead to success on the field, but none of the three are really the same style player.
Miller, who did not play last year, is the best runner of the group, even though he posted 24 TD passes to just seven interceptions in 2013. Barrett, who replaced Miller during the regular season last year, is probably the best mix of runner and passer. Jones, who went on to start after Barrett was lost for the rest of the 2014 season, started by putting up 59 points in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin and led the Buckeyes to the national title.
All three of those quarterbacks are capable of winning. However, because of the style of offense that the Buckeyes run, I think coach Urban Meyer would like to have Barrett as his starter, because of his combination of running and passing skills. Jones, meanwhile, is the best prospect of the three quarterbacks for the NFL because of his arm strength and size.
- Chad Reuter NFL.com
Barrett No. 1 option
There's a reason J.T. Barrett, and not Cardale Jones, entered the starting lineup when Braxton Miller was unable to play last season. Barrett's ability to effectively move the offense via accurate short and intermediate throws, as well as his feet, was very impressive. Jones is a more impressive physical specimen who's able to stretch the field vertically and eat up chunks of yards on the ground, and Miller was outstanding as a runner and thrower before his shoulder was injured in the 2014 Orange Bowl and re-injured last preseason. I'd put Barrett in the game first, however, as he has the best mix of efficiency and playmaking ability.
- Mike Huguenin College Football 24/7
Barrett gets the nod
I'll go with J.T. Barrett. Urban Meyer's version of the spread works best when the quarterback is a running threat, and while Barrett isn't as physical a runner as Braxton Miller or Cardale Jones, he is faster than both. And while Barrett doesn't have the arm strength of Jones or even Miller, he is the most polished passer of the three. Barrett accounted for 45 TDs last season, a Big Ten record. And lost in all the hoopla surrounding Ezekiel Elliott's breakout performances in the final three games of the season (i.e., the three games started by Jones) is that when Barrett was in the lineup, the Buckeyes had two big-time runners. Without Barrett, the load was all Elliott's. While that worked at the end of the season, the best scenario is Barrett and Elliott sharing carries in the same backfield.
- Bryan Fischer College Football 24/7
Go back to Barrett
I might be in the minority by choosing J.T. Barrett, but he seems to be far and away the best signal-caller on the roster. All he did as a freshman starter was finish in the top 10 -- nationally -- in passing touchdowns, total touchdowns, and yards per play. With the team breaking in a number of new receivers, accuracy is a must-have quality for Ohio State's quarterback, and that's what Barrett brings to the table. Braxton Miller should look to a possible NFL future and change positions while Cardale Jones would be terrific in the role that Tim Tebow once played as a complement to Chris Leak when Urban Meyer won his first title at Florida.