There’s no doubt about it — J.T. Barrett is ahead of the curve.
Through five starts for Ohio State, the redshirt-freshman quarterback is on pace to have the best statistical season ever for a Buckeye signal caller.
From a numbers standpoint, that’s nearly unbelievable — and theoretically would make him a candidate for the Heisman Trophy — but he’s nowhere near winning that kind of hardware just yet.
Barrett’s numbers are on another level. If OSU makes the Big Ten Championship game — which it could very well do — he would have another eight games under his belt before the Heisman is voted on, barring any sort of injury or other setback.
On his current track, that would give him about 3,520 passing yards, 44 passing touchdowns and a pass efficiency rating of 186.3. He would also have 13 interceptions from his nearly 346 attempts and 229 completions. The yardage and touchdown totals would be school records, made even more impressive by the fact that he isn’t on pace to set OSU records for attempts or completions.
When you factor in rushing numbers with the passing totals, Barrett would have a total of 4,238 yards — easily a school record — and nearly 50 total touchdowns.
Again, the numbers themselves scream Heisman candidate, but there’s more to it than simple box scores.
First of all, the Wichita Falls, Texas, native is a freshman, which up until recent seasons would have essentially eliminated him already. He’s also put up these otherworldly numbers against well-within-this-world competition.
His best statistical game? A six-touchdown passing performance in a 66-0 route of Kent State. In that game and others, his stats are also padded by short push passes that might as well be handoffs.
I want to stress that none of this means Barrett is having a bad season — he’s way ahead of where he “should” be at this point — but there’s just no reason to say he is a Heisman candidate.
Another point holding him back is — in the grand scheme of things — OSU isn’t having that great a season, based off just one loss. In that loss — a 35-21 defeat at the hands of an unranked team — Barrett threw three interceptions and was sacked seven times. One thing Heisman Trophy winners don’t have (usually): a game like that.
Oh, and one more thing holding Barrett back: he’s not even the best statistical quarterback in college football this season.
He’s fourth in the nation in pass efficiency, fifth in touchdowns and all the way down at 37th in passing yards.
All those numbers are still very good, but Heisman-worthy for a quarterback who hasn’t won every game and is averaging an interception per start? No, not a chance.
And finally, the Heisman Trophy is supposedly meant to go to the best player in college football — I know that typically just means the best quarterback — but in what world would Barrett win the trophy when he isn’t even the best player on his own team?
His numbers are strong, but there are other players like sophomore defensive lineman Joey Bosa or sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, who I could argue are much better overall players than Barrett.
He’s good, just not Heisman good — yet.