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Football: Dwayne Haskins picks up where Barrett left off

Dwayne Haskins and J.T. Barrett take a photo with Brutus at the 2018 Spring Game on April 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for Design

For the past four seasons, Ohio State has been J.T. Barrett’s team.

In 50 career games for the Buckeyes, the Wichita Falls, Texas native broke 25 school records at quarterback, including career passing yards (9,434) and touchdowns in a single season (47). He also holds the Big Ten conference record for career offensive yards (12,697), passing touchdowns (104) and career touchdowns (147).

Going into the 2018 football season, Barrett will be donning black and gold for the New Orleans Saints instead of scarlet and gray. With former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow transferring to LSU during the offseason, the Buckeyes will have redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins as the primary signal caller to start the season.

The former four-star recruit out of Potomac, Maryland, has had limited playing time throughout his college career. Last season, Haskins played in eight games for the Buckeyes, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 565 yards, averaging 14.1 yards per completion. He also threw four touchdowns, including two against UNLV on Sept. 24, and one interception.

Haskins will bring something Ohio State has not seen much of during head coach Urban Meyer’s tenure: a pass-heavy offensive approach. Haskins is the first pro-style quarterback to begin the season as the starter outside of the 2015 season in which Barrett and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones shared first-team reps.

Ohio State caught a glimpse of what Haskins could be like as the starter in big-game situations last season against Michigan.

After Barrett left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter, Haskins completed 6-of-7 pass attempts for 94 yards and recorded 24 rushing yards on three carries, helping give the Buckeyes a 31-20 win against the Wolverines despite coming in with a six-point deficit.

However, even with the ability to scramble inside the pocket to evade defenders, Haskins has never been a quarterback to tuck-and-run at the first sign of trouble. This will be different for those used to Barrett, who had 12 rushing touchdowns last season.

When asked about how the offense would change if Haskins were the starting quarterback during spring practice, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day said there would always be an element of the run-pass option in the Ohio State offense. However, he said he would use the plays and playbook that fit him best.

Haskins will not have to do it alone though. All six of the receivers that led Ohio State in yards per game will return for the 2018 season, including redshirt senior H-back Parris Campbell and redshirt senior wide receiver Johnnie Dixon.

In the running game, Ohio State will still have two backs to choose from in sophomore J.K. Dobbins and redshirt junior Mike Weber who, along with Barrett, helped the Buckeyes to the best rush offense in the Big Ten during the 2017 season by averaging 243.2 yards per game.

Even if Meyer wants a dual-threat option at quarterback at points during the season, Ohio State has redshirt freshman quarterback Tate Martell. As the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the 2017 class, the Las Vegas native recorded 35 rushing touchdowns along with 113 passing touchdowns in his high school career at Bishop Gorman.

Going into fall camp with the Sept. 1 game against Oregon State approaching, Haskins will enter the season as the guy for Ohio State. However, with his highly anticipated throwing ability and leadership, even in his first ever stint as the starter, the expectation still remains where Barrett left it: to lead a playoff contender.

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